I’m on the digest mode of a couple of mailing lists and the way people respond to emails, with the entire email or in some cases the entire thread, it makes me want to tear their hair out. (Fat lot of good tearing my hair out is going to do.) Has anyone invented a Web 2.0 application for electronic hair tearing yet?
I was thinking up a metaphor for this in the “real world” and I thought about a conversation between two people.
Scien Tom: Depression is caused by psychologists. What you do think?
Kay Tea: You’re saying that depression is caused by psychologists. And, you’re asking me what I think? Well, I think that you’re hot and I want to have your baby, out of wedlock if possible.
Scien Tom: You’re saying that you think that I’m saying that depression is caused by psychologists…
You get the picture. (I know that some therapists rephrase what you say but we’ll leave that out of this discussion for now. And how does that make you feel?)
There are occasions when you do need to quote parts of emails or full emails but I think it’s way over-used. Unless they have memory issues, people do remember what they emailed you about. So, snip those emails and as Messers. Strunk and White put it: Omit needless words.