How to respond to too long internet communications when you don't have time?

In summary, the conversation discusses strategies for responding to lengthy internet communications when pressed for time. Suggestions include politely asking for more concise responses, deleting overly long posts, and being aware of tactics such as proof by intimidation. The importance of setting boundaries and not feeling obligated to respond to every message is also emphasized.
  • #1
Spirit
71
0
How to respond to "too long" internet communications when you don't have time?

Hey everyone,

To make a long story short; what do you do when you feel really lacking the energy or time to respond to long e-mails or Facebook wall posts/comments on statuses..etc? A few days ago I posted a two-line status on Facebook about my opinion on a political thing. Some people did respond briefly so I was able to get back to them within few hours. But someone did respond with +500 words. I responded back the next day with a decently long, but shorter posts, to respectfully getting back and addressing his points, but then he responded with much longer posts within an hour! It's an important topic on my wall but really don't have the time to respond in detail. What do you guys do in such cases of written internet communication?

Sorry to sound naive or something, but if I didn't need help I would not be posting here in the first place :smile:
 
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  • #2


I tell them them their post is too long for me to bother with and they should break it down into smaller, more to the point posts.

Of course if it is a lot of blather and word salad extending something that could have been said in a few sentences, I tell them their post is incomprehensible as written and that they need to get to the point clearly and concisely if they expect a response.

It's a common troll tactic to make overly long, tedius, and often incorrect posts just to cause trouble. Or they could just be clueless. Let them know that you don't have the time or desire to wade through lengthy posts.
 
  • #3


I don't read any message that doesn't come in one scroll bar (over 200 words). I wouldn't even read all of those 200 words, maybe 20 words to get the idea and then 150 if it is interesting.

That also goes to news articles, I wouldn't read anything that's over two scroll bars.

I don't think it is worth spending your time and thinking over messages that are too long.
 
  • #4


There is no way out of a back and forth with people that like to respond with a short essay. I would just get my point across and then stop following the conversation. I mean, is there some sort of etiquette that dictates you always reply? That would be pretty circular.
 
  • #5


Spirit said:
Hey everyone,

To make a long story short; what do you do when you feel really lacking the energy or time to respond to long e-mails or Facebook wall posts/comments on statuses..etc? A few days ago I posted a two-line status on Facebook about my opinion on a political thing. Some people did respond briefly so I was able to get back to them within few hours. But someone did respond with +500 words. I responded back the next day with a decently long, but shorter posts, to respectfully getting back and addressing his points, but then he responded with much longer posts within an hour! It's an important topic on my wall but really don't have the time to respond in detail. What do you guys do in such cases of written internet communication?

Sorry to sound naive or something, but if I didn't need help I would not be posting here in the first place :smile:

I have a very clever way of handling posts that are too long.
 
  • #6


I usually use the same approach Evo suggested; ask them to be more concise.

It could be a case of argumentum verbosium (Proof by intimidation):

Wiki said:
Proof by intimidation is a jocular term used mainly in mathematics to refer to a style of presenting a purported mathematical proof by giving an argument loaded with jargon and appeal to obscure results, so that the audience is simply obliged to accept it, lest they have to admit their ignorance and lack of understanding.[1] The term is also used when the author is an authority in his field presenting his proof to people who respect a priori his insistence that the proof is valid or when the author claims that his statement is true because it is trivial or because he simply says so. Usage of this term is for the most part in good humour, though it also appears in serious criticism.[2][3] More generally, "proof by intimidation" has also been used by critics of junk science to describe cases in which scientific evidence is thrown aside in favour of a litany of tragic individual cases presented to the public by articulate advocates who pose as experts in their field.[4]

emphasis mine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_by_intimidation
 
  • #7


I just delete their post. End of story.
 
  • #8


Evo said:
It's a common troll tactic to make overly long, tedius, and often incorrect posts just to cause trouble. Or they could just be clueless. Let them know that you don't have the time or desire to wade through lengthy posts.

Yep Evo's advice is the wise thing to do. And I would be glad if someone tells me that I cause some 'discomfort' to them and how it can be sorted out. But in reality, some people are ultra-sensitive to feedback and may be really offended when asking them to be more precise.

Dembadon said:
I usually use the same approach Evo suggested; ask them to be more concise.

It could be a case of argumentum verbosium (Proof by intimidation):



emphasis mine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_by_intimidation

This is a reason why I did feel that I have to reply, as I feel my page was abused to promote such kinds of proofs (Thanks for the link!). Or as what it's called in some bad debate tactics: "if someone speaks much, they can make the opponent to appear more or less 'speechless' and let people think they got no good response).

hypatia said:
I just delete their post. End of story.

But this may be misunderstood as chickening out, or 'silencing' the person?
 
  • #9


QuarkCharmer said:
There is no way out of a back and forth with people that like to respond with a short essay. I would just get my point across and then stop following the conversation. I mean, is there some sort of etiquette that dictates you always reply? That would be pretty circular.

Yeah it can be a bit tiring especially when the long posts are provocative. Usually when exchanging news with friends back and forth, it kinda cool down to "glad to know your news, keep it touch" or some hint of ending the exchange. And friends can cooperate haha. But in long written discussions which were kinda forced, it's kinda stressful.

BobG said:
I have a very clever way of handling posts that are too long.

:smile: What do you mean? :wink:
 
  • #10


Spirit said:
How to respond to "too long" internet communications when you don't have time?

Brevity.
 
  • #11


The "delete" key is never too far away. For loved ones, I reply "I'll try to get back to you later" and leave it at that. If I get back to them, OK. If I don't, they can try to re-phrase.
 
  • #13


Just ignore the post. This is the Internet, after all, and one rule of the Internet is that you can't always expect a reply, let alone a long reply in a timely fashion.
 
  • #14


This thread is too long. Thus I went out to get food.
 
  • #15


Spirit, when a post is just way to long, I really don't care how they understand the deletion.
 
  • #16


You could respond with something like "Thank you for your comments. You can't possibly appreciate how much they contribute to our understanding of the topic."
 
  • #17


Solve the problem before it happens. If you think you won't like the answers, don't ask the question.
 
  • #19


AlephZero said:
Solve the problem before it happens. If you think you won't like the answers, don't ask the question.

I believe Spirit is taking issue with the unnecessary length of the answers, not the answers themselves. Unless you're suggesting that Spirit be cognizant of the person's tendency towards verbosity and to refrain from even entering a conversation with them.
 
  • #20


@ Ms. Music and JetBell: Yep I think a short answer can it itself convey a quick and brief response, and also hint that long posts are difficult to be responded to in detail.

@ Hypatia, turbo-1 and ideasrule: Yep I think it can be used sometimes when too long posts continue to come for a too long of a time. An update of the situation in my first post is that I made a closing statement, then a friend made an angry comment about some long responses that had were made with some bizarre statements. I had to delete his post, and will explain to him in person why :smile:

@Dembadon: Yep exactly. It's like I was just making a small casual opinion, and may expected brief comments, if any. But with too long and provocative ones I was confused about what do to while remaining polite yet also not going into a time-sinking machine.
 
  • #22


Depends how much I care about what they have to say. If I am pressed for time and it is a true friend, I usually say "I read what you wrote, I'll respond in a day or two."
 
  • #23


Spirit said:
To make a long story short; what do you do when you feel really lacking the energy or time to respond to long e-mails or Facebook wall posts/comments on statuses..etc?
These people are being rude, plain and simple. They don't mean to be rude, and are probably unaware they are being rude, but trying to monopolize your time is a form of being rude.

So whatever you do -- ignore, delete, walk away, get argumentative, whatever -- don't feel bad about yourself. They initiated the rudeness.
 

Related to How to respond to too long internet communications when you don't have time?

1. How do I know if an internet communication is too long?

An internet communication is considered too long if it exceeds the average attention span of the intended audience or if it contains unnecessary or repetitive information.

2. What are some strategies for responding to a lengthy internet communication?

One strategy is to skim the communication and identify the main points, then respond to those points directly. Another strategy is to politely request a summary or a shortened version of the communication.

3. Is it acceptable to not respond to a lengthy internet communication?

It is generally considered polite to respond to all communication, but if you are truly unable to find the time to respond, it is acceptable to briefly acknowledge the message and explain that you are unable to respond in detail at the moment.

4. How can I save time when responding to lengthy internet communications?

One way to save time is to use templates or pre-written responses for common situations. Another way is to prioritize the most important points to respond to and avoid getting bogged down in unnecessary details.

5. Is there a polite way to tell someone their communication is too long?

Yes, you can politely and respectfully let the sender know that their communication is lengthy and that you may not have time to read or respond to it in its entirety. You can also offer suggestions for condensing or summarizing their message in the future.

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