Emails I hate receiving

I often wonder if I am the only one who hates receiving emails like this… Names have been omitted.

Subject: Problem with [product brand name].

Hi asshole

I trust this email finds you well.

Please assist with the below. OR…
Kindly find the attached.

Kind regards

[Nested thread of somewhere around seventy emails with correspondence between sender and various others. Somewhere down there is the context they’re thinking of (or maybe not), and somewhere else there may be clarification on what the brand name, that refers to multiple software projects in our system, might refer to. Or maybe not at all.]

Let’s analyse their email, shall we?

  1. Subject does not contain relevant context. The brand name could refer to any one of several products within the software that we have developed. The client’s client might thus be one of several different kinds of users, since site users and integrating users are different, even within the same product. The subject literally tells me nothing. They could just as well have left it blank.
  2. “I trust this email finds you well.” What does that even mean? It’s not just verbose, since at least verbosity still tries to convey something pertinent, albeit in too many words. This literally adds nothing but annoying false civility.
  3. “Please assist with the below.” Really? So not only does the subject tell me nothing, but the message content doesn’t convey anything either, other than telling me I need to scroll down and try to make sense of their previous correspondence backwards. Even if I skip to the bottom, all I find is something where the context is assumed because it’s from a client they have a relationship with who uses one product (and they know what it is but neglect to mention it in the email), who wrote some generic message about the system not working, or referred to an error that they have had before.
  4. “Kindly find the attached.” Ooh, it’s a spread sheet. Gee, thanks. It’s very nice!
  5. “Kind regards”. What’s the difference between “kind regards” and “regards”? Again, “kind” is redundant. “Regards” would suffice perfectly.

Thank goodness I am normally a CC recipient rather than the primary one. But still, it wasn’t always that way. It’s difficult to figure out how to reply to those kinds of emails… When I used to receive them directly, I’d always reply with a generic response asking for context, but they didn’t learn anything, and later I’d get another useless email from the same person.

Of course, you know that in half an hour or so, you’ll get another email with…

Subject: RE: Problem with [product brand name].

Hi asshole,

Any feedback on the below?

Kind regards


About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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