(un)professional e-mail skills -- was Re: JOB: Linux System Administrator

Levi Pearson levipearson at gmail.com
Fri Sep 17 02:48:55 MDT 2010


On Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 10:58 PM, Michael Torrie <torriem at gmail.com> wrote:
> Almost without
> exception when someone in the management hierarchy replies to my email
> with top-posting it signifies that he or she did not read anything I
> wrote and is just replying to what he or she thought I said.  It's very
> frustrating because it represents simple laziness on the other person's
> part.  If he's too lazy to read what I actually wrote, what else is he
> lazy in?  Are my ideas even mattering to him and my company?  I bet that
> many of you can say similar things about so-called professional e-mails
> at your companies too.

I would venture a guess that these people are more busy with other
things than lazy, and are probably as annoyed with you for sending
long, wordy emails with multiple topics to reply to as you are with
them for not taking the time to properly contemplate your missives.
Whether they post to the top or the bottom has nothing to do with it.

This reminds me of how computer-techie types tend to look down on
people who aren't terribly interested in acquiring the same skill set.
 Look at the derision poured upon the CS professor's head behind his
back when they learn he doesn't even know how to install Linux on his
PC and can't get his laptop to talk to the projector!  Never even
heard of the GPL, and made his webpage with Microsoft Word.  Must be a
total dumbass.  Nevermind that he published a ground-breaking paper in
the field of complexity theory.  He's just an egghead with no
tech-cred and probably top-posts as well because that's what everyone
else does, and he couldn't care less about what a bunch of old-school
unix weenies think about how email should be used.

Grow up, guys.  There's a world outside of unixoid operating systems,
system administration, and internet tradition.  Not everyone cares
about what you care about.  Nobody has to conform to how you think
they should communicate with you.  Whining about it just makes you
look petty and ridiculously anal.  Sure, you've got good reasons for
why you do things the way you do, but they're *your* reasons, not
universal ones, or they would actually *be* universal rather than
adopted by only a tiny minority.

        --Levi


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