Wednesday, August 30, 2006

If you're thinking about writing...

This is the most dangerous post I've ever written. Why? Because I'm about to tell you things that absolutely drive me insane. Mostly, it involves email etiquette and writing style.
First off, I am not your manager. Do not write to me in business slang. Example: My schedule won't support that activity.
Replace with: I'm busy.
Example: In addition to providing visibility and access to our organization and key business areas, the site includes several new communication tools designed to inform, enable, and engage employees.
Replace with: We made a new site. Its pretty cool... check it out.

Second, make sure you don't overdo your punctuation. A single exclamation point can usually convey how excited you are. I don't need a string of 10 exclamation points to know it.
Example: We're going to lunch at Cucina Cucina!! You're totally invited!!!!! It's going to be super yummy!!!!!!!!
Replace with: You want to go to lunch at Cucina Cucina?

Third, people who reply-to-all... watch yourself. I don't mind getting 3 or 4 emails sent to me unnecessarily... but sometimes it can get crazy. I'm just asking you to be a little more mindful when using <ctrl>-<shift>-r (yes, that's the hotkey combination for reply-to-all).

The fourth way to drive me insane: be the second or third person who replies-to-all to say: "quit replying-to-all."

Those are the big ones. I know I'm going to get about 1000 emails tomorrow with all 4 of these annoyances in them... but whatever. I feel better after getting that off my chest.

Side note:
Seattle Mind Camp 3.0 is on! I already bought my ticket. You in?

9 comments:

Ray said...

omfg, i totally agree!!!!!! i am such an email nazi!

i hope your schedule allows us to go to bumbershoot this weekend, because i think it'd be quite entertaining to say the least!!!!

Anonymous said...

Tip: Never forward an email unless you are absolutely confident the original author is ok with it. It is frequently better to re-author an email and remove the original author's identity than to forward an email.

waqas said...

You are probably making the assumption that people would not want to drive you insane. I think most would find driving you insane to be quite amusing. :)

Rick said...

In Outlook, the reply-to-all shortcut is actually ctrl+SHIFT+R. Sorry to nitpick, but I don't know if you obsess over details like that or not.

jack said...

Your comment on Reply All contains one of my pet peeves: assuming that your readers are using the same software that you are. Last time I checked there wasn't a mandatory keystroke sequence for Reply All, or even a requirement that all e-mail clients have a Reply All function.

Justin Morgan said...

Tip: When asking a question, don't forget to actually ask the question.
Example: X isn't working correctly.
Replace with: Can you help me get X working? or
What is required to get X to work correctly?

Joe said...

another annoyance: read receipt requests. I never ever let my mail reader answer to that. I think it's a privacy violation to ask for a read receipt. Pulling out the bad analogy gun: the postman doesn't force you to read the letter on your doorstep.

And I hate emails with high priority. I always ignore these and most of the time the sender doesn't get back to me at all. People tend to overrate their importance.

I hate emails with large attachments too. Those 10MB PDF's that are full of graphics just to convey a 2 sentence content that could have been written in a text format email. Or those idiots that attach 1280x1024 screenshots in bitmap format to demeonstrate that a button text has a typo.

Last but not least I hate emails that have somany typpoes tht it is allmosed imbossiple to getthe messag.

And the very last thing: stop adding signatures with more than 10 lines. NOBODY READS THAT CRAP! BTW, I also hate it when people write all capital letters.

Anonymous said...

Another big one: don't leave the subject empty or fill it with crap that looks like spam.

JohnFx said...

Okay, just one more e-mail peeve. I know your mama raised you right, but everyone officially has the right to avoid politeness and henceforth never answer another e-mail with a single line response: "Thanks."