On Responding to E-mail
Someone in my e-mail queue has just– I suspect unintentionally — pissed me off, so let me make a general statement here so I can refer people to it later:
I am not your e-mail monkey. I receive dozens and sometimes hundreds of non-spam e-mails each day. I try to get to most of them. However, I don’t generally respond to non-critical e-mail immediately, because:
a) I’m not always on the computer.
b) When I am on the computer I am usually doing something else.
c) When I am on the computer not doing something else, sometimes I don’t want to bother answering e-mail.
I usually try to respond to non-critical e-mail within a couple of days. If I’m really busy (like when I was on tour, for example), it might be longer than that. Additionally, if you send me something for which I do not feel a response is necessary and/or expected, I may not respond at all. Finally, given the volume of e-mail I get, if I do respond I may be brief. Also, of course, I am the one who determines whether an e-mail is critical to respond to immediately, not anyone else.
I expect that most of you, as humans who are also busy with life and work, understand this. For those of you who don’t, I will make this simple:
Pestering me about not immediately answering your e-mail will piss me off. It will make me less likely to respond, and if I do respond, you probably won’t like it.
This is not the same as following up an e-mail after several days time. That’s entirely legitimate and indeed I encourage that, since sometimes mail slips through the cracks. Please feel free to follow up after a few days (briefly if possible); you’ll likely get a response and an apologetic tone.
But, say, sending the same e-mail more than once in a few hours and sending another less than a day later demanding a response is just going to irritate the living crap out of me. Yes, this has happened recently. Indeed, it has happened more than once recently (no, it wasn’t from any of the usual gang who frequents here. Relax). People who don’t get the concept that I am not slavering to pounce on their e-mail the second it arrives in my queue — and perhaps are even offended that I am not — really need to be struck about the head several times with a clue stick.
There, I’m done venting.