Imperfect correspondence


in Internet matters, Oxford, Rants

In my recent experience, people have a really terrible success rate in getting back to me. This is in cases where a specific agreement is made to exchange some kind of information, usually academically related, via email. I would hazard that I actually provide such information more than 99% of the times that I say I will, though perhaps not immediately. Based on two weeks of tracking, the rate for people who have promised me such information – ranging from notes to paper citations to club information – is a dismal figure of about 10%.

Even among people who I send an email asking again for the information they were meant to provide, the success rate has been no better than 50%. I understand that not everybody is as computationally active as I am, but it is extremely frustrating to be working in a place where almost all academic work flows through some sort of electronic channel, but people’s willingness to uphold basic commitments seems so low.

Hopefully, those rates will pick up a bit with regard to the Reading conference. Some of the things people mentioned sounded very useful and interesting indeed.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anonymous October 16, 2006 at 2:50 pm

People have bad memories. The best plan is generally to get their contact information, so that you can follow up. Failing that, write exactly what you want sent along with your email address.

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