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Right time to reply - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
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j4
Right time to reply
A poll, to get some information for a future post (hopefully). Feel free to point other people here (though obviously they'll have to have an LJ account); this isn't Serious Research, but it would be nice to get a decent number of replies.

Poll #1489527 Right time to reply

If I sent a letter (assuming no Royal Mail strikes at the time!), I would expect a reply to come within...

a day
0(0.0%)
a week
5(9.4%)
a fortnight
10(18.9%)
a month
12(22.6%)
no time-limit
9(17.0%)
I don't know
7(13.2%)
I don't care
1(1.9%)
I don't send letters
9(17.0%)

If the reply didn't arrive within the expected time slot, I would...

assume it was never going to arrive
2(4.1%)
be disappointed
4(8.2%)
be angry with the person
0(0.0%)
be worried about the person
0(0.0%)
try to contact them again by the same method
2(4.1%)
try to contact them again by a different method
15(30.6%)
have forgotten about it by then anyway
7(14.3%)

If the reply arrived sooner than expected, I would...

be pleased
26(55.3%)
be surprised
1(2.1%)
be annoyed
0(0.0%)
be confused
0(0.0%)
be worried
0(0.0%)
process it (reply, act on the reply, etc) immediately
4(8.5%)

If I sent an email, I would expect a reply to come within...

< 5 minutes
0(0.0%)
< 30 minutes
0(0.0%)
30 minutes - 1 hour
0(0.0%)
a few hours
4(7.8%)
a day
11(21.6%)
a week
24(47.1%)
a fortnight
1(2.0%)
a month
2(3.9%)
no time-limit
5(9.8%)
I don't know
2(3.9%)
I don't care
1(2.0%)
I don't use email
1(2.0%)

If the reply didn't arrive within the expected time slot, I would...

assume it was never going to arrive
3(6.0%)
be disappointed
2(4.0%)
be angry with the person
0(0.0%)
be worried about the person
1(2.0%)
try to contact them again by the same method
7(14.0%)
try to contact them again by a different method
7(14.0%)
have forgotten about it by then anyway
4(8.0%)

If the reply arrived sooner than expected, I would...

be pleased
17(39.5%)
be surprised
0(0.0%)
be annoyed
0(0.0%)
be confused
0(0.0%)
be worried
0(0.0%)
process it (reply, act on the reply, etc) immediately
8(18.6%)

If I sent an SMS, I would expect a reply to come within...

< 5 minutes
1(1.9%)
< 30 minutes
11(20.8%)
30 minutes - 1 hour
7(13.2%)
a few hours
13(24.5%)
a day
10(18.9%)
a week
3(5.7%)
a fortnight
0(0.0%)
a month
0(0.0%)
no time-limit
2(3.8%)
I don't know/care
0(0.0%)
I don't use SMS
6(11.3%)

If the reply didn't arrive within the expected time slot, I would...

assume it was never going to arrive
3(6.7%)
be disappointed
2(4.4%)
be angry with the person
0(0.0%)
be worried about the person
0(0.0%)
try to contact them again by the same method
2(4.4%)
try to contact them again by a different method
10(22.2%)
have forgotten about it by then anyway
5(11.1%)

If the reply arrived sooner than expected, I would...

be pleased
17(44.7%)
be surprised
0(0.0%)
be annoyed
0(0.0%)
be confused
0(0.0%)
be worried
0(0.0%)
process it (reply, act on the reply, etc) immediately
13(34.2%)

If I sent someone a message on Facebook, I would expect a reply to come within...

< 5 minutes
0(0.0%)
< 30 minutes
0(0.0%)
30 minutes - 1 hour
0(0.0%)
a few hours
2(3.8%)
a day
5(9.6%)
a week
18(34.6%)
a fortnight
2(3.8%)
a month
0(0.0%)
no time-limit
4(7.7%)
I don't know
5(9.6%)
I don't care
5(9.6%)
I don't use Facebook
11(21.2%)

If the reply didn't arrive within the expected time slot, I would...

assume it was never going to arrive
4(10.8%)
be disappointed
1(2.7%)
be angry with the person
0(0.0%)
be worried about the person
0(0.0%)
try to contact them again by the same method
2(5.4%)
try to contact them again by a different method
7(18.9%)
have forgotten about it by then anyway
10(27.0%)

If the reply arrived sooner than expected, I would...

be pleased
19(61.3%)
be surprised
2(6.5%)
be annoyed
0(0.0%)
be confused
1(3.2%)
be worried
0(0.0%)
process it (reply, act on the reply, etc) immediately
2(6.5%)

If I sent someone a direct message on Twitter, I would expect a reply to come within...

< 5 minutes
1(1.9%)
< 30 minutes
1(1.9%)
30 minutes - 1 hour
3(5.7%)
a few hours
2(3.8%)
a day
6(11.3%)
a week
4(7.5%)
a fortnight
0(0.0%)
a month
0(0.0%)
no time-limit
5(9.4%)
I don't know
6(11.3%)
I don't care
1(1.9%)
I don't use Twitter
24(45.3%)

If the reply didn't arrive within the expected time slot, I would...

assume it was never going to arrive
3(11.5%)
be disappointed
0(0.0%)
be angry with the person
0(0.0%)
be worried about the person
0(0.0%)
try to contact them again by the same method
1(3.8%)
try to contact them again by a different method
7(26.9%)
have forgotten about it by then anyway
4(15.4%)

If the reply arrived sooner than expected, I would...

be pleased
13(65.0%)
be surprised
1(5.0%)
be annoyed
0(0.0%)
be confused
0(0.0%)
be worried
0(0.0%)
process it (reply, act on the reply, etc) immediately
3(15.0%)

I would like to tell you some other stuff related to this poll here:

I wish to complain about your poll design in the following ways:


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Comments
From: bibliogirl Date: November 24th, 2009 12:12 am (UTC) (Link)
My answers depend hugely on (a) work or non-work; (b) who I'm trying to contact; (c) what I'm trying to contact them about. Some people I might contact by email and expect to get an answer within a couple of hours; some people I might send an email to and not expect an answer for several days, simply because I know they don't check email that often. In the latter case, if it was urgent, or didn't involve me sending a link and saying "hey, look at this" then I'd probably phone them instead. Likewise, SMS: some people have their phone on and with them all the time, some don't.
barrysarll From: barrysarll Date: November 24th, 2009 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)
This. I've generally answered with the upper limit, but even people where I expect that sometimes get in touch sooner without my being surprised/disappointed/whatever. Conversely, there are some people who are normally more prompt where an unexpected silence would concern me.
redbird From: redbird Date: November 24th, 2009 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)
The expected response time on email varies with who/what I'm writing to. I was pleased but unsurprised to get a friendly, helpful reply to a tech support question from my ISP within three hours. I have an email correspondence with a turnaround time of about a day: I tend to email in the afternoon, he replies the next morning, repeat ad infinitum. I have another which goes days to weeks between message and reply. A lot of stuff with my boss gets an answer in a few minutes. Etc.
emperor From: emperor Date: November 24th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Kind of depends on the content, too, I think.
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: November 24th, 2009 01:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I answered on the assumption of non-urgent but relatively important missives, such as professional communication between two parties with an existing relationship, or to a friend which obviously needs a specific reply, and hope that's useful, though for most of the forms of communication it can vary massively depending on the missive.

For post I generally expect it to take "a day or so" to process it if a reply will come promptly, and know it to take a bit longer sometimes. But I know many people have reasonably good systems for post.

For email, I think lots and lots of people end up with "either reply now, or never get round to it", so I often get surprisingly fast responses from people at a computer, and week-or-more-or-never delayed responses otherwise.

(I've tried to follow Dave Allen's advice of triaging when it comes in: _will_ I answer it or not, and a lot of the time sending a 30-second response then saying "thank you, that sounds sensible but I don't have time to read it in detail, I'll email you next week" or "thank you, I'm never going to have time to read that ever, good luck" (not in those words) or, if no reply is needed, just archiving it rather than pretending I'll do something about it later.)

Text messaging I _usually_ use as synchronous communication: "I'm at X, are you here yet?" and expect a reply instantly or never. But for some people who often have phones off, or I'm using SMS in place of email as a primary asynchronous communication medium, I'd expect email semantics...
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: November 24th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I really can't generalise with email, it has such different rhythms with different people; there are people I worry about not hearing from for a couple of days, and others I expect there to be months between contact from.

I very much default to pleased to hear from just about anyone, personally rather than professionally, with isolated exceptions of the "my father being irritating about reminding me to do something I have already done that has not reached him yet" variety.
1ngi From: 1ngi Date: November 24th, 2009 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I use the phone a lot.
lnr From: lnr Date: November 24th, 2009 07:50 am (UTC) (Link)
With letters I was thinking mostly of non-personal ones, since I rarely write personal letters any more, and if I do I don't really expect a reply in any sort of time-frame anyway, they'd most likely be a thankyou on my part anyway and possibly the conclusion of a set of communication.

The rest were answered as a sort of average of personal/non-personal - in some contexts I'd expect a reply by email much more quickly (mostly work contexts, where there are time constraints). If I send one to a company I might expect them to be slower, but I will get annoyed if they claim a particular level of service and don't meet it.

SMSes I'd actually give somewhere between a day and a week before switching to another contact method: not everyone I know has their phone on or reachable all day. And I know I'm hopeless with mine because of the poor reception at home.

I look forward to seeing what you write :)
From: rmc28 Date: November 24th, 2009 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I've given up halfway down your poll. For me, it is not the medium but the content of the message that determines a) whether I expect a reply at all, b) the timescale, c) the reaction if I don't get one.

Most letters I send are not ones that expect any reply at all, but sometimes I send a formal letter of complaint that does, usually, include some kind of deadline, so they do.

With email, I personally don't feel I "should" check my work email more than 3 times a day (on arrival, at lunchtime, when winding down to go) though in practice I usually check it after every RSI break and when changing work contexts. I therefore don't expect replies from others any faster, and if I need an instant response, I telephone or walk to their desks. If I have a deadline for responses, I put it in the email so people know what to expect.

With personal email I'm much slacker in my expectations - again if I want a reply by a specific time then I'll put that in; otherwise I don't really have expectations (because I am so poor at responding to things myself I don't expect more from other people).

Text messages again: if it's "what train are you on" then I will have a different expectation of response from "just seen this great offer at X" or "Charles did the most hilarious thing just now".
julietk From: julietk Date: November 24th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mm, I think roughly this: chatty personal stuff I don't have a timescale expectation for, more organise-y or work/business related stuff I am more likely to.

(I get grumpy that it takes train companies upwards of a month to process one's refund request, which must be sent by post, for example; & if I emailed someone about an order with them or similar, I'd expect a reply within about 1-2 working days.)

I do fairly deliberately attempt to separate "practical urgent-ish stuff" from "chatty stuff", so that "are we still meeting up at 7pm?" doesn't get tangled up with a whole bunch of other things & thereby become harder to reply to.
livredor From: livredor Date: November 24th, 2009 08:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Answers assuming I expect / need a reply at all. There's a whole category of correspondence, usually letters and long emails, that is just a way of reaching out to distant friends, perhaps a few times a year or even more rarely than that. I tell them how my life is going and what I'm thinking about currently, and hope they will do the same in return when they next happen to feel like it, but that can happen on a scale of months and often isn't a reply as such. I do have friends who always get back to me within the week, even with rambly personal things, but I don't expect it, especially as I can't manage it myself!
(Deleted comment)
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 24th, 2009 10:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm always pleased if I get a reply to an email eventually, except possibly when, like someone else commenting above, it's my dad driving me crazy.

Basically, I assume people are busy and forgetful, and I forgeivethem what I forgive in myself, almost always. I also assume that if it's a work issue and they want me to deal with something they have an investment in replying to me promptly and clearly. If they aren't timely then it isn't that important; if they aren't clear I ask them to clarify, and if they don't do that in a timely amnner it's their lookout.

Anger is something I always try to avoid; it is the opium of the mind and I have enough chattering malicious monkeys lurking in the background as it is.

htfb From: htfb Date: November 24th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mr Bennet: "About a month ago I received this letter; and about a fortnight ago I answered it, for I thought it a case of some delicacy, and requiring early attention."

Oh dear.
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