Sunday, July 15, 2007

"She Cut Off Their Tails...."

For some reason, every time I look at one of the writing "loops" to which I subscribe, I find myself humming "Three Blind Mice." That's because so many of the people who post to it can't seem to remember to--as those who are much more email savvy than I put it--"cut off the tails" of the emails before posting a reply. What happens, time and again, is that someone will reply to a question or make a comment, leaving the settings on their email utility programmed to include the previous email--which, in this case, is often a whole digest of multiple emails.

I remain subscribed to this particular digest of emails because I like to be kept informed of the things going on in the organization. However, it would be so very, very, very much simpler if I could read something like this:
(short heading): I don't understand all the "rules" of writing for particular editors. What do they want? Any idea?
(simple signature)
(short heading): I just found a great writing site: it's
(simple signature)

Unfortunately, what I get instead is a conglomerate of posts, long headers, complex signatures, postings that have nothing to do with the current subject, and sometimes even a rehash of the whole "digest" (up to 24 posts) in which the current material was included.

Why should I care? Two reasons, I guess. I'd like to be able to read the digest of the day's posts (usually there are two or three digests per day) without having to spend ten minutes figuring out what is wheat and what is chaff. And I'd like to think that someone who identifies himself or herself as a writer would be orderly enough and basically computer-literate enough to do a simple cut-and-paste of pertinent material to include in their post--not just throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks.

And now that I've registered my complaint, I'll remind readers of this blog that some time ago I queried a number of successful editors and writers about what blogs and email loops they read. The vast majority spent little or no time with these things. They were busy working. Which is what I'm about to do. See you in a few days.

PS: The day after posting this, I received a loop digest and everyone...I repeat, everyone...had cut off the tails of prior emails, so that I was able to skim through in a hurry. I wish I could take the credit for it, but I can't. I hope it continues.

1 comment:

Rachelle said...

You said a mouthful there, Richard. Just a couple days ago I cancelled all my daily digests. Guess I was tired of searching through all that chaff for precious little wheat. Let me know if anyone ever says anything interesting!