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When Can I Expect an Email Response? 232

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the turnabout-is-fair-play dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ever sit there waiting for an email response and wonder what's going on? Did they get it? Did it get filtered? A study looks at the responding habits of a large group of corporate users. They find, among other things, that users would try to 'project a responsiveness image. For example, sending a short reply if a complete reply might take longer than usual, intentionally delaying a reply to make themselves seem busy, or planning out timing strategies for email with read receipts.' Tit-for-tat, 'Users would try to reciprocate email behaviors -- responding quickly to people who responded quickly to them, and lowering their responsiveness to people who responded slowly to them in the past.'"
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When Can I Expect an Email Response?

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  • by HotBlackDessiato (842220) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @05:55PM (#16011160)
    ...anymore. you never respond to my comments.
  • by doxology (636469) <cozzyd.mit@edu> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @05:56PM (#16011172) Homepage
    I just the other day got...an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday.-Ted Stevens, honorable US Senator from Alasak

    See, it's not that people time e-mails to make themselves look busy, it's that the tubes get full!
  • by eln (21727) * on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @05:57PM (#16011176) Homepage
    Hey, I just wanted to get a quick reply out to you to let you know that I read your comment. I'll post more in detail later, I have a meeting I need to get to.
  • by kensai (139597) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @05:57PM (#16011180) Homepage
    because the email is down due to clogged vacuum tubes.
  • by hawkeye_82 (845771) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:04PM (#16011241) Journal
    "Ever sit there waiting for Slashdot post and wonder what's going on? Did they post it? Did it get ad-blocked? A study looks at the posting habits of a small group of Slashdot editors. They find, among other things, that editors would try to 'project a responsiveness image. For example, posting a short summary if a complete summary might take longer than usual, intentionally duping a story to make themselves seem busy, or planning out timing strategies for posts.' Tit-for-tat, 'Users would try to reciprocate posting behaviors -- responding quickly to people who responded quickly to them, and lowering their responsiveness to people who responded slowly to them in the past.'"

    Somewhere along that post, I got bored and just did a copy-paste. Feel free to correct it later.
  • by furchin (240685) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:08PM (#16011269)
    Thanks for sending me an email. I'm taking a short break today, Wednesday 8/30. In my absence, please talk to KaraM about the MxTK project, JuhnA for workflow issues, or HiuS for general questions.
  • by Reziac (43301) * on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:17PM (#16011342) Homepage Journal
    Not only all the behaviours from TFA, but also those noted in your post, are exactly as they were back in the snailmail era. Only the medium has changed.

    Back when I was a lad, we had actually write with pen on paper, address envelopes, lick our own stamps, and trudge to the post office uphill both ways in a snowstorm! you kids have it easy, what with email to do all the dirty work. Think of the galoshes makers!!

  • by icepick72 (834363) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:19PM (#16011358)
    Or we might leave that to medical professionals and keep doing tech stuff.
  • Ob. Beatles (Score:5, Funny)

    by jb.hl.com (782137) <joe@NOspAm.joe-baldwin.net> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:20PM (#16011373) Homepage Journal
    you never respond to my comments.

    You only give me your funny mod points...
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:27PM (#16011426)
    Re:Re:furchin is Out of the Office Today
    Re:Re:Re:furchin is Out of the Office Today
    Re:Re:Re:Re:furchin is Out of the Office Today
    Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:furchin is Out of the Office Today
    Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:furchin is Out of the Office Today
    Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:furchin is Out of the Office Today
    Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:furchin is Out of the Office Today
    ***error*** User has exceeded disk quota
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:27PM (#16011427)
    I like to copy the text from a read receipt and then send a dozen or so messages containing that text to the sender over the next 30 minutes. : p
  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:37PM (#16011496)
    FROM: Potamus, Peter
    TO: Falcone, Blue
    SUBJECT: That thing I sent you!

    Did you get that thing I sent you?
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:40PM (#16011516) Homepage
    Ted Stevens, honorable US Senator from Alasak

    You mean Alaska has an honorable Senator with the same name as the bridge guy? What are the odds?
  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:41PM (#16011521) Homepage

    The same applies to improtance. ohh yea, the importance flag in outlook is of no use whatsoever because an emergency on your part, doesnt' mean an emergency on mine, unless your a client in which case see above.

    Agh! E-mail "priorities". In my experience, anything marked "!" important was absolutely not important at all. I used to work for a company where some people would set that on every single e-mail they sent, no matter the content. I ignored it for a while, and then I set a casual rule for myself that anything with a little red exclamation mark next to it got ignored for 10 minutes minimum. Still, it annoyed me, so I made inbox rules to reverse any priorities (setting e-mails marked "low" to "high" and vice versa).

    That was all well and good until my boss walked by and noticed all his e-mails were marked low priority. "Oh... huh, you didn't set them low priority? I just thought you were being considerate to my schedule. Must be some kinda bug!"

  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:48PM (#16011568) Homepage Journal
    Back when I was a lad, we had actually write with pen on paper, address envelopes, lick our own stamps, and trudge to the post office

    You had a Post Office??? You had it easy! We only had pony express, and we had to run to catch him because he never stopped here. But the behavior was exactly the same then too...some people would take a week to chisel a response.
  • by Reziac (43301) * on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:53PM (#16011598) Homepage Journal
    Damn, that's rough... did you have a problem with the dinosaurs chewing up your stone tablets? I've heard they're subject to breakage.

  • by iamlucky13 (795185) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @06:58PM (#16011624)

    So what is the "responsiveness image" presented by this article, considering it's an anonymous submission linking to a Wordpress blog that appears to have been created soley for the purpose of presenting a 2nd-hand discussion of a paper published 3 years ago? The part that really confuses me is the lack of ads.

    Tyler, J. R. & Tang, J. C. (2003). When Can I Expect an Email Response? A Study of Rhythms in Email Usage. Proceedings from ECSCW '03: European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, 239- 258.
  • by poopie (35416) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:03PM (#16011666) Journal
    Hey, I just wanted to get a quick reply out to you to let you know that I read your comment. I'll post more in detail later, I have a meeting I need to get to.


    Hi Eln,

    Thanks so much for your prompt response. This is now urgent! I'm cc'ing all of the dev managers and the VPs of developments so that we can all track your responses to this issue. Please respond to all ASAP!!!

    Oh, can we set up a meeting tonight at 8pm to discuss your findings? I've added this to everyone's calendar - I realize that this is short notice, but attendance is mandatory.

    If anyone has any thoughts, ideas, random musings, opinions, or collateral information please respond.

    Thanks everyone!

    Bob
    Senior SCSSACP
    TPS report generation, QLDT division
    AGAAP
    email: bob@corp.com
    fax: 1-212-212-1212
    Mobile: 1-212-212-1223
    Telex: TP-10925645
    Pager: bob7979797@pagingservice.com
    GPS coordinates: N36 06.285', W114 46.655'
    IM: hotlovr69@msn.com
    What I'm currently listening to: Mr. T - Respect yo Mama

    The opinions epressed in the above email represent my opinion and do not represent the opinion of my company or management. This communication from corp.com may contain forward looking statements or confidential information and must not be forwarded or archived.

    --

    THIS MESSAGE WAS SENT FROM MY BLACKBERRY

    --
    THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN SCANNED BY AVG-PRO AND FOUND TO BE VIRUS FREE
  • by EnsilZah (575600) <EnsilZah.Gmail@com> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:11PM (#16011715)
    I just sent a mail professing my love to a girl i know and the suspense is fucking killin me.
  • by shigelojoe (590080) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:18PM (#16011761)
    Ted Stevens, honorable US Senator from Alasak

    You mean Alaska has an honorable Senator with the same name as the bridge guy? What are the odds?

    No, it's from Alasak, which is like Bizarro-Alaska. Here, the senators are honorable, the winters are quite pleasant, and they really *are* in a box off the coast of Mexico.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @07:57PM (#16011974)
    Hey, I just wanted to let you know you forgot to attach the TPS cover sheet.
  • by The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:17PM (#16012094) Homepage Journal
    An AC makes some insightful side points, which I'll quote for the +2 masses:

    And I'll quote this bad boy for those of you that have "Insightful" posts modded down, and anyone that has added me as a "Friend"

    We're the Cut'n'paste generation. We don't really think about what we write before putting 'pen to paper' anymore for the following reasons:

    1. You can cut'n'paste you sentances to make some resemblance of ordered thought.
    2. You can get a quick response, so if you're imprecise, you'll know about it quicker.


    So basically latency has plummeted, but we're probably less efficient at doing things than we used to be before all this 'new fangled technology'.

    Am I going to read this comment through? Do a spellcheck? nope, I'm going to spin in out, with it's imprecision, flaws and ambiguity, for I know that someone else will pick up on those point very rapidly and therefore I do not need to bother...
    ======

    Unfortunately, this is very accurate. The digital age has made the hurried, poorly-thought-out, flung-to-the-winds reply that much easier to commit, as any flamewar veteran can attest.

    The nearest pen-and-paper equivalent would be to read only the first line of each snailmail letter received, then reply by scribbling on postcards, right three at the post office, and immediately throwing them into the Outgoing Mail slot.
  • by Reziac (43301) * on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:43PM (#16012220) Homepage Journal
    This has the makings of a chain letter :)

  • by Solder Fumes (797270) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:05PM (#16012333)
    You are SO channeling seven or eight of my bosses right now.
  • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:23PM (#16012414) Homepage Journal
    There's a rumor that Lotus Freaking Notes was actually developed by the Soviet Government in the chaotic, budget-starved 1980's using East German war-surplus vacuum-tube computers and unemployed Czech and Romanian construction workers. Sources suspect the real reason Reagan walked away from Reykjavik was that CIA intelligence obtained beta copies of the software, and he realized that a government using this system would surely collapse within a decade and ultimately posed no security threat to the United States.

    In 1991, desperate for additional steel footlockers to store all the leftover materials from the dismantled government's nuclear stockpiles, ex-foreign minister Shevardnadze approached Lotus corporation through secret U.S. diplomatic channels and arranged to sell the software suite for 10 billion rubles (approximately US$270). Lotus engineers meanwhile spent all the development money throwing clothing-optional champagne parties with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and conducting thorough scientific investigations on the effectiveness of canola oil vs. baby oil on the Slip 'n' Slide.

    Two years later, they delivered Notes on time, and amazingly, under budget. Lotus accountants were later unable to determine the mistake leading to the pre-paid delivery of 30 pallets of Marshmallow Peeps, 40 cases of Strawberry Yoo-hoo and several hundred Super Nintendo consoles to their software engineering offices.

  • by Killshot (724273) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @06:31AM (#16014359) Homepage
    You had sand and poo!?
    We just had primordial soup, have you ever tried to write a message in soup? Keep in mind this was before alphabet soup.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

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