Author Topic: Blank Emails  (Read 3190 times)

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Free Range Hippy Chick

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Blank Emails
« on: June 16, 2013, 02:03:21 PM »
DH commented to me today that he had received a blank email from the woman from whom we are renting a house for a week this summer, presumably because the final payment was due this weekend (he's made the payment). I was bewildered, but he tells me that he has been informed by someone else that this is now a standard means of sending a reminder, on any subject. Payment is due now? I send you a blank email. I'm expecting you to send me details of our next contract, and you haven't done it? I send you a blank email. You have an appointment with me tomorrow? I send you a blank email.

Now presumably it's not totally blank: presumably the header says 'Payment Due' or 'Terms and Conditions' or 'Your Appointment' but even so, it strikes me as odd. I can't decide whether or not I think it's rude, although I'm tending that way: it feels to me like an electronic version of the way a small child comes and hovers beside you when the ice cream van comes, without ever saying 'Auntie Chick, may I have an ice cream?'

On the other hand, it does seem to be that it would be a grossly inefficient way of reminding anybody of anything. If I haven't remembered that I promised to send you details of how to find that odd little antique shop, I'm probably still not going to remember if you send me a blank email. I'm just going to think that your email has been hacked and is sending out random spam, and I'm going to send you a message to that effect.

Has anybody else come across this? Am I (as usual) years behind the times and grumbling about something that's standard practice?

CaffeineKatie

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 02:11:26 PM »
Sounds pretty silly to me--why wouldn't you write a short note?  Unless all of your friends are psychic, it just doesn't make sense.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 02:12:28 PM »
No you're not behind.  This is definitely not standard as far as I know
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NyaChan

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 02:18:04 PM »
I haven't heard of this at all.  Taking quite a chance here aren't they?  I mean if my options are to remind a person in words to pay me or just send them a blank email in the hopes that they'll remember that they should pay me, I'd be going with the first option

Lynnv

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2013, 02:27:24 PM »
It is not something I have seen.  And it feels very abrupt.

If there is a subject line that covers everything that needs to be said (something like "Last Payment Due Now, Please Remit," I suppose I can see it.  Sort of.  I think it would seem more natural to say something, even something short like "Please contact Jenny at 867-5309 with any questions" in the body.

Even when all I am doing is letting a client know that their large attachment arrived in my inbox (sometimes our system chokes on the big ones), I always send an email.  And a blank reply would seem very strange.  At a minimum, it will have my contact information and say "Attachment received.  I will contact you with any questions after review."  Otherwise, the email just feels abrupt and annoying to me.
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cicero

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 02:34:00 PM »
We do this at work, especially if person A needs to get a message to person B while one or the other ( or both) are in as meeting. I never thought of it as rude, rather as ''efficient''

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NyaChan

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2013, 03:13:44 PM »
We do this at work, especially if person A needs to get a message to person B while one or the other ( or both) are in as meeting. I never thought of it as rude, rather as ''efficient''

But how are they sending a message if the email is blank, no subject, no content?

Tea Drinker

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 03:21:13 PM »
I've gotten occasional blank emails, mostly from people who didn't seem entirely familiar with how email worked: they seem to be entering mental "To: Tea Drinker", then typing a short message in the next line, hitting "send," then OK when the software asks whether they want to send a blank message.

I sometimes do a variant on that, with "Subject: Here's the proofread version of $document" and then no message content except the attachment. It seems reasonable as part of an ongoing discussion: if I send that, there will have been a previous email about "Dear Tea Drinker, Can you get this back to me by Wednesday" or an IM "I found those photos, do you want a scanned copy?"

If I got an entirely blank message, with neither subject nor message body, I would assume either a glitch or (if there was an attachment) spam or phishing, and delete it. It wouldn't serve as a reminder, where "Hi, Tea Drinker, see you for lunch tomorrow at 12:30" works as a reminder if we've already made plans. I'd rather have it in email than as a text message.
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MariaE

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2013, 03:21:44 PM »
We do this at work, especially if person A needs to get a message to person B while one or the other ( or both) are in as meeting. I never thought of it as rude, rather as ''efficient''

But how are they sending a message if the email is blank, no subject, no content?

I think the OP said that the email had a subject - it was just the body that was empty.

I think this is a "know your audience" kind of thing. We do it at work all the time.
"I'll be a bit late. EOM"
"The deploy has completed successfully. EOM"
"I've rebooted the server. EOM"
...etc.
And nobody thinks that's rude. It's just efficient.

However, I would never do it to a client or as such an abrupt reminder as in the OP. That does strike me as rude.
 
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NyaChan

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2013, 03:23:47 PM »
Ohhh that makes so much more sense! LOL

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2013, 03:32:57 PM »
It's done in the business world for short messages that fit in the subject line so the recipient, who is likely trying to read it on a smart phone or Blackberry, doesn't have to open the email.

It is encouraged where I work.  I never do it but it is encouraged.
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kherbert05

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2013, 03:51:19 PM »
We do this at work, especially if person A needs to get a message to person B while one or the other ( or both) are in as meeting. I never thought of it as rude, rather as ''efficient''

But how are they sending a message if the email is blank, no subject, no content?

I think the OP said that the email had a subject - it was just the body that was empty.

I think this is a "know your audience" kind of thing. We do it at work all the time.
"I'll be a bit late. EOM"
"The deploy has completed successfully. EOM"
"I've rebooted the server. EOM"
...etc.
And nobody thinks that's rude. It's just efficient.

However, I would never do it to a client or as such an abrupt reminder as in the OP. That does strike me as rude.
We do this at work also - but to people that get it. Also to people that tend to use their smart phones for e-mail.
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Surianne

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2013, 04:12:20 PM »
If there's a message in the subject header I don't see a problem with it.  I'm pretty used to receiving these, both at work and for quick messages from friends. 

I don't understand why you would see it as spam, OP?  Particularly because it sounds like you know full well it's a reminder that your rent is due, why would you think your landlord was spamming you about rent?

Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2013, 04:46:36 PM »
If there's a message in the subject header I don't see a problem with it.  I'm pretty used to receiving these, both at work and for quick messages from friends. 

I don't understand why you would see it as spam, OP?  Particularly because it sounds like you know full well it's a reminder that your rent is due, why would you think your landlord was spamming you about rent?

I can see it at work - I do something similar, I suppose, with attachments. I'll put 'May Management Accounts' in the header, attach the file and my email has a signature. I'll do it for an internal email because I send the management accounts every month and everybody's expecting them.

I wouldn't do it externally - I wouldn't send the files to the auditors with nothing more than a header saying 'Name of Company' although I imagine they would work it out. It seems abrupt. And anyway, it's not quite what I understood was being done - these blank messages are apparently reminders, not genuine transfer-of-information messages.

The one about the rent, it isn't regular rent from a landlord we're in regular communication with. This is a one off holiday week, and as it happens, the header doesn't actually ask for the rent, it just has the name of the property. The rent isn't overdue; it's due some time within the next five days, and actually, because this is a one off transaction, I would have expected to get a statement of account (by email possibly) quoting the booking reference, the date we're taking the house, the total balance and the deposit we've already paid, and a note of 'final payment by whatever date, please'. In fact, we're guessing that this is what the email is about. It could perfectly well be that the landlady's account has been hacked and is sending out spam. So in point of fact, we don't know that it's a request for the rent. I suppose what I'm objecting to is that this isn't work, and the landlady isn't a friend; this is a pure business transaction and I don't think this is an appropriate business communication.

The other example my DH had heard was, in my opinion, even odder. The teacher of his evening class does occasional demonstrations at public events. He is booked to do one, say, on the August Bank Holiday at Thingummy Hall. Because Thingummy Hall wishes to print a programme, they want a small bio of him, and two lines about what he's going to demonstrate. He has had a blank email from Jane Smith, which says only 'Thingummy Hall'. He does not know who Jane Smith is or what her connection with Thingummy Hall is; her email is jane.smith@email.co.uk, not jane.smith@thingummy.hall.org. So he doesn't know her (he was booked by David Jones), he doesn't recognise her address, and he's supposed to work out that she's chasing him for his programme notes?

And yet, when he emailed her back, saying that he'd had a blank email, and asking if she had a query, she said 'everybody does this, it's a standard reminder'. Well, standard it might be, but reminder it plainly was not, because it didn't succeed in reminding him of anything. It may be an extreme example, with a complete dearth of information, but is it standard? 


Roe

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Re: Blank Emails
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2013, 05:25:02 PM »
Between co-workers, not an issue.  Between clients, not professional.