What is it with people and their inability to read emails longer than 1 sentence. And I am not talking about spam or unwanted mail. I am talking about emails in projects which have been going for 6 months and now the deadline looms.
Do these people really think that they have a gift of foresight? "Never mind the rest of the mail, from this one sentence I am sure I can blag my way through any conversation which relates to it."
Still, I guess its better than those people who dont read _any_ mail and are blissfully unaware of the team around them growing in contempt.

bob says:

Dude, it's not e-mail. People just don't read anymore.

DataBind() says:

Me fail english? That's unpossible!

bob says:

I can't remember the last time I sent a memo longer than 1 paragraph where the reply back made me think the person read more than every other word.

I think someone needs to write a wavelet (or other lossy) compression algorithm for text. Make long writings a bit easier to look at, perhaps they'll get read more.

lyrical warfare says:

I'm similarly unable to read Wirehead's posts. His posts could definitely use some lossy encoding.

rnewhouse says:

I think the general rule is that you have about a three-second cycle to recapture a reader's interest on a web page, and that most people will only scroll down a maximum of one-half a screen.

Someone did some research on this and I forget the exact numbers, but the point is that people reading computer screens have the attention span of a flea on speed.

Short paragraphs help. Short sentences help.

Highlighting key phrases helps.

DataBind() says:

Also, Highlighting key phrases helps.

vampirical says:

Helps with what?

rnewhouse says:

Helps get people to read all the way through an email.

Headlines. Bullet points.

Elevator messages.

vampirical says:

Oh right, bullet elevators, gotcha.

OneNight says:

Yeah, good tips on highlighting. And lol @ DataBind()'s last post.
I think headlines and bullet points also make the digestion of email by people with flea's brains easier as rnwhouse mentions.

Perhaps if you know the person a little make the email theme oriented. For example, to a programmer its better to write sentences with a syntaxical layout; if its a woman, insert 'subliminal' compliments - as in: "Hi, I am writing -you look nice today.- to you about this and that."

This could get some results also and keep the reader reading.

rnewhouse says:

One more tip for readable email:

Lose all the clever signature crap. After the first time, nobody reads it, and it clutters up the landscape, sometimes to the point where nobody will even read the first line of the email.

It annoys me greatly to read some kind of discussion group and find that one or two frequent posters have signature lines that quote most of Tolstoy or something, along with a complex animated graphic that you can't read without copying it into a graphics program and enlarging it.

Needless to say, it is equally annoying to get emails from people who do this in their email.

DataBind() says:

You know what I hate?
I hate it when people send mail with extreme grammatical errors, so that you can't even understand it. I mean, some typos and spelling errors are allright, but at least make sure it's legible.

Or when they send a short email with a question that doesn't make any sense, like:
"Hey, did you with that help?"

Robert McDaniel
"There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence. - Jeremy S. Anderson"
A. Top posting
Q. What's the most annoying thing about usenet?
Macs are to computing what television is to journalism.
There is no truth to the rumor that Lotus is suing Apple for copying the look and feel of their lawsuits.

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