The Demise of the Considered Response

By | February 15, 2006

It’s my rather pompous term for the way that email, SMS and, in particular, the SlackBerry [sic] reduce the quality of our replies. Nowadays, it seems, a prompt one-line answer to an email is considered somehow more productive, efficient, effective and “smart” than actually contemplating for a moment the subject and the best response. However trite, irrelevant or misinformed the response is, it seems the act of responding is more important than the nature of the reponse itself.

Another solution, of course, is just to forward the message to others with a brief one line at the top suggesting they read it. This is how poor communication breeds.

The reality is that the recipient probably hasn’t read it himself. Or read it properly, top to bottom. Out there are millions of people only half listening — their emails only half read, slackly responded to (hence my term for the BlackBerry): an industry riddled with the incompetence of the superficially efficient.

My most recent experience of this (boring technical aside follows, feel free to stop reading here) was from my hosting company, which only ever half-read my emails to them requesting help. Here’s our most recent exchange (of many):

Thanks for this, and is now working. But continues to FORWARD to the typepad address; this is not domain mapping. Is there no FAQ that hostway has on this much demanded feature? If not, can you give me specific instructions as to how to map the ROOT domain to the typepad address I’m seeking? Best, Jeremy

Their response, more than 12 hours later (from a 24–hour support service:


We have updated your DNS records to the ones that you previously specified. Please test your site in a few hours and contact us if you still have problems.

Thank you.

In the intervening 12 hours I had figured out how to solve the problem I hoped they might be able to solve for me. So of course their fix — which wasn’t a response to my question, even though I had carefully put the key words in CAPS — actually broke the website. This might explain why those of you trying to access the blog via haven’t been fortunate the past few hours. Hopefully it is now fixed.

If only the Demise of the Considered Response was as easily reversible.

One thought on “The Demise of the Considered Response

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    Wonderful article, thanks for putting this together! “This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here. Keep it up!”


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