Are "Thanks!" E-mails Good Netequitte?

In the last month or so, I’ve written a few short e-mails requesting information. The responses have been concise and complete, so no follow-up is required. My question is whether it’s appropriate to send a very short (i.e., one sentence) response simply saying thanks for the information.

I generally do send a thanks. On the other hand, I rarely get thank you responses from my students when they e-mail me for clarification or information, & the lack of response doesn’t bother me. Although the acknowledgment is nice, I don’t mind having fewer e-mails to read.

If examples help, the last two e-mail information requests were:

  • Clarification that a textbook representative had received my order for some instructor resource supplements. She hadn’t sent her usual confirmation of my order.
  • Suggestions for how long I should wait before sending a reminder e-mail to my department’s administrative assistant about mailing me my teaching contract for the fall. I sent the e-mail to the professor who offered me the adjunct position. I’ve taught at this school most semesters for the last few years, so this isn’t a new position or new contact.

Just wondered what other folks usually did in these situations. Is a short thank you worthwhile, or is it overkill that clutters an already overflowing inbox?

I have yet to reach a point in my life where my inbox is ever cluttered so those types of people are alien to me. That said, I usually keep short replies to a workplace email environment, especially if I know everyone has Outlook configured to pop up the first sentence of an email without having to read it. Makes it a little more conversational.

If I got a thank you in my personal email that I have to go out and check on a website and click on and transfer each message through HTTP, I’d be annoyed.

I think the etiquette is a little different depending on whether you are talking about co-workers or personal friends or total strangers, but in general I’m a big fan of the short thanks email. An email containing just the word “thanks” is a waste, I wouldn’t do something like that. One sentence acknowledging specifically what the other person did that you appreciated is probably a much better idea, and what I typically strive to do.

Purely my opinion, but I taught writing for 12 years, if that means anything. Yes, I would say that, if you are grateful to someone for an action they took (as responding to your email with useful information) then a brief thank-you response is appropriate.

As to your students? My experience was that, as a general rule (with obvious exceptions) most young people don’t really even think of their teachers and other older adults as alive–you are merely a resource for them to tap to gain what they want from you. It never occurs to many of them that they should be grateful, or polite, or even just patient. They want everything NOW, and it is always your fault if they don’t get what they want.

It probably doesn’t matter one way or another. Email is a pretty impersonal form of communication and these people probably respond to many email requests a week. Some people say thanks, some people don’t, and I doubt they think twice about it either way.

If they are particularly friendly, or go out of their way to help you, they’ll probably appreciate a thank-you response a little bit more.

If I have asked a client or co-worker to do something or for some information I always send a thanks email.

I have trouble with discussion email exchanges. I never know the proper place to stop and I always feel the need to continue sending emails. Much like here, I wonder how many people in said discussions wish I would just shut the hell up.

I always send the thank you email. If they have invested any time to get you an answer its worth your time to both show some appreciation and let them know that their effort was useful.

I also always send a short thank you e-mail. Usually just a line or two, I think it is the polite thing to do.

I am at work staring at inbox with 333 unread messages. I don’t really need to get a “Thanks!” email. If it is real appreciation for something out of the ordianry, then sure, but I get lots of those one word thanks replies and they just add (infinitisimally I admit) to the time I take to get through my inbox.

And of course reading QT3 at work adds to that time too.

I was intimidated by my professors (ie, their stature), and sometimes had confusion about the appropriate level of casualness in communications. I would have been worried between a “Thanks!” and a “Thank you sir/ma’am” or “I appreciate the additional information you thoughtfully provided at your own time being unworthy of your attention ect. ect.”. I never did figure out how best to address female profs, if they were young.

I’ve generally ended any emails where I ask for information with a “Thanks, xxxx” and considered that the appreciation for their response, just done in advance.

Thank-yous are SOP. The only time I can think of they can reasonably be done without in a business or other working setting is for a team member who isn’t a subordinate who you work with all the time and who knows you very well – and if the thing you would be sending thanks for is a routine task or response.

Edit: I think preemptive thanks are fine in some circumstances, for example when it’s email to some kind of service address for which you may never get a chance to reply to the person who replied to you – but as a general rule I use a followup thank-you if I’ve requested something of a person whose name I know and the recipient did whatever it is I requested.

I generally opt in favor of sending thank-you emails.

Ironically, I don’t think I’ve ever mailed a thank-you card in my entire life, so maybe I’m a hypocrite. More likely, I’m just lazy.

Shut up!

Nah, I always try to be polite and start and end all mails properly, use punctuation, spell words correct etc. - and if people do me some service, I will thank them.

If people are to busy to appreciate a thank you (and quickly move on without it coming in the way of work), there’s something wrong with them or their job.

The one word “Thanks” email is often my way of communicating “Message Received. You no longer need to expend effort to ensure that me or my team received the required information”.

Just as an acknowledgment that thier piece of the issue is complete and follow ups are not required.

I always write a thank you email. If even just for the simple notification that I read the email, and they know that I acknowledged the contents.

I just got a resume rejection email. It was a quick response, and actually a response, which has been rare. Sent a quick thanks for prompt reply email, but wondered about it. I’m that guy who writes emails with a salutation.

I nearly always add a “Thanks in advance,” line at the end of e-mails asking for something that would warrant a thanks. Sending an e-mail just to say “thank you” seems a little pointless, unless it’s justified by the answer being overwhelmingly great.

Yeah, this is pretty much why I always send a thank you email.

I, too, like to receive one-word “thanks” e-mails as a way of saying “I read what you wrote.”

I rarely send them, though. I just start my next e-mail with “Thanks for the xxx you sent. Now, my next question…”

Usually I end with “Thanks” or “Thanks in advance.”