Thursday, April 23, 2015

Reading Older email first

Call me Old School – I don’t care, but I like to read email oldest to newest by date.  This is definitely a personal choice and is all in what you get used to dealing with.  I am not all about the latest and greatest in everything.  There is a time and place for that.  But with email, I like to read the older emails and work my way to the newer ones.
I just find it is frustrating to read a reply without knowing what the comment or question was to start with.  People often don’t include the original content.  Some setups (yahoogroups) don’t want you to use reply and keep the prior message – it can junk up a digest (bundle of emails sent once or twice a day) really quick.  Nor does everyone even know how to add a snippet of the prior conversation even if they wanted to.  So I like to read old to new.
I do this for work and personal email.

My one caveat is to make sure and be aware if there are other replies.  Outlook will tell me if there is another message in the same thread (same subject line) and so I pay attention to that.  But also I scan down to check.  It does depend on the topic.  Some topics have replies about what each individual did, but some – well the questions could be answering and my input isn’t needed. For sure if my reply is going to be more than a week old, I think twice about whether it has already been said and whether I really want to put in my reply. 

If you have ever wondered how people add the snippet to their email so you don’t just see the reply this is how I do it.
  1. Before using the reply button, I highlight the text I want as the snippet.  Then I copy.  (I use Ctrl + C).
  2. Use the reply button (could be reply all depending on how the system is set up). 
  3. Then either I type a bit if I want to preface the snippet.
  4. Then I paste into my reply (Ctrl + V).
  5. Continue adding my reply.
  6. Make sure I am not including the prior message below mine since that is how mine is set up.  But only so I can choose to include it or not. 
  7. Send.

I may or may not choose to use a separator like === or **** between to indicate that I didn’t write the snippet.  Or I could be more formal and use so-so said, and add quotes.

Also regarding whether to set up the email software to include the prior message or not.  For a while I had mine set to not include on reply but include on Fwd.  I found there were times I wanted it more and didn’t like using fwd.  Either way I have to edit something.  But if I was too forgetful it might be better to not include.

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