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

Levi Pearson levipearson at gmail.com
Fri Sep 17 09:56:41 MDT 2010


On Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 7:06 AM, Stuart Jansen <sjansen at buscaluz.org> wrote:
> On Fri, 2010-09-17 at 02:48 -0600, Levi Pearson wrote:
>> Grow up, guys.
>
> You've known Torrie and I for years. Do you really think we're incapable
> of effective communication in the work place? Have you truthfully never
> experienced what we're talking about? Do you really think a culture of
> trimming and context posting doesn't help the writer more carefully
> consider the content of a reply?

Man, did you forget your asbestos underwear?  Way to take a
generalized rant personally.  Of course you and Torrie are capable of
effective communication, and you clearly care about it deeply.  I was
just pointing out (albeit more abrasively than necessary, but you guys
were already implying that top posters were lazy and otherwise
deficient human beings, so I was just responding in kind) that these
people who communicate differently than you and have different
priorities than you aren't *necessarily* lazy worthless sacks of meat.
 Maybe some of them are, of course.  I can't speak to your particular
situations.

Of course I've experienced people not reading my emails very well, and
you'll notice that I trim and post in context here because I think
it's a great way to communicate, especially when those I'm
communicating with do it too.  But at work, I communicate with a bunch
of smart engineers (of the software and electronics kinds) that aren't
familiar with the old unix email culture, and I adopt their
conventions when I communicate with them instead of trying to convert
them to mine.  Most emails are top-posted HTML email created by
Outlook.  Somehow we manage to communicate pretty well.  I don't think
the people who fail to communicate well would be able to do any better
if they formatted their emails differently.  They'd just have a blob
of text at the bottom of the email instead of the top, or they'd snip
away everything they ignored in their reply.

It's like editing source files.  C, for example, has a number of
different formatting conventions.  I have one I like to follow, and I
think it's clearly superior.  But when I work with code other people
started, I conform to the in-place conventions despite the fact that I
don't like them as well as mine.

> Clearly you think you're the one who is superior. Pot meet kettle.

Yeah, I suck too.  Sorry about that.

        --Levi


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