That episode struck a chord with me. Some of these are hypothetical; others, not so much.
- If you send me an email that says nothing more than "See attached," here's a news flash: I have an equally terse two-word reply in mind that I am too polite to send. Best case scenario: I open the attachment and don't respond. Usual case scenario: it goes into the junk mail file immediately.
- If I've asked you to respond to a poll so I can schedule a meeting, and you reply with a message listing all the various times you are not available but never answering the poll, here's a pro tip for you: I'm not going to enter them into the poll for you, or indeed take any notice of your special unavailability at all. If you think I care more about having you at the meeting than you care about being there, let's just call it a grievous error of judgment on your part. Just click on the link and fill in the poll like the rest of us.
- If I ask you to fill out a form and you write back with an email saying "you know I always do X and Y," do you think I will fill out the form because your time is so much more important than mine? Seriously? If the most eminent people at the university are courteous enough to take the time to fill it out (and they do; maybe that's how they got to be eminent), you can do it, too. Get over yourself.
- If I write to ask you a question after a lengthy email exchange during which you changed your mind 5 times, would it kill you to answer the question instead of saying"I thought we cleared that up"? If we "cleared it up," I wouldn't be writing to ask you the question, now, would I?
- If after failing to respond, you send me an aggrieved email that you or your wishes were not considered, that sound you hear is me playing the world's tiniest violin for your distress. Oh, and also shuffling your complaint to the bottom of my considerable email pile.
- I am also not interested in a lot of attitude if you outrank me in the academic worldsphere. Unless your 10-line self-promotional sig file includes the name "God, Ph.D." I am unimpressed with your attitude and will take special pains to indicate that.
- Edited to add: Northern Clime University, I love you, but at this point in the semester when we're already drowning in email, could you please refrain from sending those all-employee messages every day about "Next Tuesday is take your kitten to work day!" and such?