28 votes

Please don't say just hello in chat

52 comments

  1. [17]
    Micycle_the_Bichael
    Link
    I am shocked that people actually send this to their coworkers. I asked some friends inside and out of tech and my partner and pretty much everyone who doesn't work in tech agreed that they found...

    I am shocked that people actually send this to their coworkers. I asked some friends inside and out of tech and my partner and pretty much everyone who doesn't work in tech agreed that they found the concept of sending this to someone incredibly rude and would avoid them. To quote a friend in HR in tech: "This is the exact shit tech guys think is OK that ruins company cultures. If I found out someone sent this to a coworker I would immediately schedule a meeting with them to take them back to 2nd grade and teach them how to fucking act." Its amazing to me that basic politeness is such a burden. People do this to me all the time and like.... nothing bad happens? I'm still productive, we're all still able to do our jobs just fine, we're just also polite to each other.

    33 votes
    1. [5]
      acdw
      Link Parent
      It makes me think of that "Let me Google that for you...." link that was the rage in, I think, the early 2000s? Where someone would ask a question someone else thought was dumb, and they'd send...

      It makes me think of that "Let me Google that for you...." link that was the rage in, I think, the early 2000s? Where someone would ask a question someone else thought was dumb, and they'd send you a link that would type the question and hit "Search." Just like, maybe trust that the person has done the bare minimum ??

      Though this has been a problem since before then too -- I'm thinking of the RTFM replies on, what, Usenet? Fora, still?

      It's just like, the Internet is such a big place. There's room for people to ask dumb (actually naive) questions. I don't get it.


      I got a little off-topic there, but yeah. The same applies to this "Hi" in the chat thing. Is what you're doing so important that you can't be distracted for two seconds?

      13 votes
      1. [2]
        ali
        Link Parent
        It’s also infuriating that the first google result to a lot of questions is forum posts by smug assholes telling you to search for something

        It’s also infuriating that the first google result to a lot of questions is forum posts by smug assholes telling you to search for something

        9 votes
        1. acdw
          Link Parent
          LOL, yes! It's like, I did Google that, for myself, thanks for asking!

          LOL, yes! It's like, I did Google that, for myself, thanks for asking!

          2 votes
      2. [2]
        Emerald_Knight
        Link Parent
        I have a great hatred for this canned response. I remember trying to dual boot Windows and Linux once. I don't recall which distro, but I went through their official instructions, following them...

        RTFM

        I have a great hatred for this canned response. I remember trying to dual boot Windows and Linux once. I don't recall which distro, but I went through their official instructions, following them down to the letter, including changing BIOS settings as needed. I followed each point in order, never diverging from what was instructed. My entire Windows install ended up breaking somehow despite my painstaking efforts (luckily I could still gain command line access and run a quick sfc /scannow to fix the damn thing). I really wanted to dual boot, though, so I went to some forum somewhere and asked that particular distro's community for help. I even explicitly stated that I'd followed their directions down to the letter.

        The response I got? "RTFM".

        It took a few years after the complete and utter frustration of dealing with the Linux community before I ever put in the effort to try working with Linux again. Great OS, but terrible community at times.

        Moral of the story: being polite costs nothing but a negligible amount of extra time and pays dividends by not having people completely hate your guts :)

        6 votes
        1. acdw
          Link Parent
          OOoof, that really sucks. dual-booting can be so tricky, esp. with Windows!

          OOoof, that really sucks. dual-booting can be so tricky, esp. with Windows!

          2 votes
    2. TheRtRevKaiser
      Link Parent
      Yeah, it's a minor irritation when people ping you and wait for a response before asking their question, but I can't imagine actually sending somebody this link in response. That's WAY ruder than...

      Yeah, it's a minor irritation when people ping you and wait for a response before asking their question, but I can't imagine actually sending somebody this link in response. That's WAY ruder than the "offense" in question. I can think of a couple of people in my office that might do something like responding with this link or being passive aggressive about little annoyances like this and they are absolutely the most unpleasant people to work with.

      11 votes
    3. [2]
      wundumguy
      Link Parent
      I 100% agree with you even though the behavior described in this link is definitely a pet peeve of mine. I've taken to letting the serial offenders know that it's okay for them to just directly...

      I 100% agree with you even though the behavior described in this link is definitely a pet peeve of mine. I've taken to letting the serial offenders know that it's okay for them to just directly ask me a question (and not feel this stupid link), but for everyone else it's not worth the attitude or the effort. It's not hard to coexist peacefully still

      6 votes
      1. Micycle_the_Bichael
        Link Parent
        This is a great point and something I meant to expand upon earlier! I'm also totally fine with people having different preferences and workflows than me! It doesn't take much to peacefully coexist...

        This is a great point and something I meant to expand upon earlier! I'm also totally fine with people having different preferences and workflows than me! It doesn't take much to peacefully coexist with others! If I send someone a message and they politely respond telling me a different way they prefer communications to happen, I'll make note of it and try my hardest to remember and do that. I have significantly less problem with someone politely telling me their preferred way of talking than responding to a message with a link to a blog that tells me I communicate incorrectly. I'd still feel a bit off about it but I'd deal with it because I would want the same courtesy extended to me if someone communicated to me in a way that I didn't like.

        2 votes
    4. [4]
      Eabryt
      Link Parent
      I actually agree with what you're saying about company culture and such, but I also think there can still be a place/reason for making people aware that a dangling hello is not needed. Our company...

      I am shocked that people actually send this to their coworkers.

      I actually agree with what you're saying about company culture and such, but I also think there can still be a place/reason for making people aware that a dangling hello is not needed.

      Our company moved to Slack within the last year, and then with COVID and everyone being remote they rushed through some Slack education for everyone to do and one of the things they did stress was the basic concept behind nohello.com. Although I suppose when you consider we still have people in this 10k+ person company that feel the need to @channel or not use Threads constantly means there are bigger fish to fry.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        TheRtRevKaiser
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I think teaching the concept in an IM/Chat etiquette presentation and putting this in your status or sending the link as a response to a message are wildly different realms of rudeness, lol. I do...

        I think teaching the concept in an IM/Chat etiquette presentation and putting this in your status or sending the link as a response to a message are wildly different realms of rudeness, lol.

        I do wish my company would do some sort of telework etiquette course or something. We have had remote workers for ages, and almost all of our meetings have been done via Skype conference calls for as long as I've been here, yet we still have people that constantly forget to mute, breathe directly into their mics, or eat food loudly while unmuted. That and things like IM etiquette are becoming pretty crucial now that everybody is WFH. The difference, I think, would be that one is targeted at a general audience and one is directed at an individual. Saying to everyone, "here's how to be polite to your coworkers when WFH" and saying to one person, "Hey, you're annoying me" are pretty different.

        7 votes
        1. tomf
          Link Parent
          I have a friend in a group chat who will come on, say hello, comment on the total number of old messages (e.g. 'whoa! 98 messages!), then go back and read those messages, then say, 'I have to go....

          I have a friend in a group chat who will come on, say hello, comment on the total number of old messages (e.g. 'whoa! 98 messages!), then go back and read those messages, then say, 'I have to go. I miss you guys!' and leave.

          ... all while others have been chatting.

          2 votes
      2. Micycle_the_Bichael
        Link Parent
        Yeah, and to clarify: I read both your comments after I wrote mine and am in no way trying to call you out. Sending this to someone you consider a friend who you work with is vastly different than...

        Yeah, and to clarify: I read both your comments after I wrote mine and am in no way trying to call you out. Sending this to someone you consider a friend who you work with is vastly different than it being your default to anyone who sends you a message that says "hello".

        I'm also definitely heavily biased. Culture in Tech (waves hands around at this enormous ambiguous topic of "tech" that has no clear lines and means different things to everyone) is one of the things drains me the most in this field. Due to my role and the division of labor across teams, I spend a lot of time talking to compliance, finance, legal, and HR for my job and I've been told more than once that they prefer working with me because I treat them like a person whereas they usually feel like an AI chat bot when talking to other engineers. So when I see articles that resonate with the reasons people outside of tech tell me they dread talking to tech people, I get heated and write too strong of responses. Will almost certainly go back and edit my original post.

        5 votes
    5. [4]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      That seems like a big overreaction to something that’s mildly rude? I wonder what it says about a culture that people get that pissed off over something like this?

      That seems like a big overreaction to something that’s mildly rude? I wonder what it says about a culture that people get that pissed off over something like this?

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        TheJorro
        Link Parent
        That the stereotypical IT tech bro subculture has gotten out of control within the company and that people are tired of it and the damage they cause with their rude behaviour. Things like this...

        That the stereotypical IT tech bro subculture has gotten out of control within the company and that people are tired of it and the damage they cause with their rude behaviour.

        Things like this don't cause this level of upset in a vacuum.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          I can’t speak for what other people’s company cultures are like, but it sounds to me like maybe anti-nerd stereotypes have gotten out of hand.

          I can’t speak for what other people’s company cultures are like, but it sounds to me like maybe anti-nerd stereotypes have gotten out of hand.

          3 votes
          1. TheJorro
            Link Parent
            It's not an anti-nerd thing in my experience, as I still am very much the nerd to everyone I deal with, but more of an anti-asshole thing. There are ways to present yourself where you can get your...

            It's not an anti-nerd thing in my experience, as I still am very much the nerd to everyone I deal with, but more of an anti-asshole thing. There are ways to present yourself where you can get your point and preferences across nicely or rudely, and a lot of people who feed the "egotistical jerk in IT" stereotype seem to believe that the message itself is the tone when that isn't true.

            6 votes
  2. [22]
    viridian
    Link
    I don't really like this advice, it feels pretty impolite to me. My go to is to write my actual message, ctrl-A, ctrl-X, then send a quick greeting. Once they respond, I just hit ctrl-V to respond...

    I don't really like this advice, it feels pretty impolite to me. My go to is to write my actual message, ctrl-A, ctrl-X, then send a quick greeting. Once they respond, I just hit ctrl-V to respond back with my inquiry.

    14 votes
    1. [15]
      aphoenix
      Link Parent
      I think that this just shows that there is no "one right answer". To me, it feels impolite and inconvenient to say "Hi" and wait for a response in electronic communication. It is analogous to...

      I think that this just shows that there is no "one right answer".

      To me, it feels impolite and inconvenient to say "Hi" and wait for a response in electronic communication. It is analogous to writing an email explaining that the next email you write is going to be important; it's a waste of time, and notably is a waste of my time, which is precious to me. It skips over the utility of most chat programs, which is that they can be synchronous or asynchronous.

      I've had this interaction many times:

      Someone: Hi, do you have a sec?
      Me (10 hours later): I've just seen this. I do now. What's up?
      Someone (14 hours later): Oh I missed this, how do I do [this thing]?
      Me (10 hours later): Here is the answer.

      That interaction spanned 34 hours instead of 10 hours, and I've had interactions where that differential was much bigger (ie. lasted a week instead of 3 hours). It could have been "Hey there! How do I do [thing]?" which in my opinion is just as polite, and way more utilitarian.

      I guess my question is this: why do you see it is "not as polite" to include the greeting and the question on the same line?

      18 votes
      1. [12]
        TheJorro
        Link Parent
        I hear this time argument a lot but I don't really see how it adds up. I get a lot of cold call messages like this in my role and it takes me all of half a second at most to say "Hey" back before...

        it's a waste of time, and notably is a waste of my time, which is precious to me.

        I hear this time argument a lot but I don't really see how it adds up. I get a lot of cold call messages like this in my role and it takes me all of half a second at most to say "Hey" back before I alt+tab or move to other work and then go back later when they've typed up their query. It's a signal of availability, not a matter of rapid-fire, military-precise timing (which, having worked under, is a very different situation with very different expectations and requires comm training for everyone involved).

        Even if it takes them hours to get back to me after, that's not my time being wasted. I wouldn't count those 10 or 14 hours as my time unless, for some reason, I was sitting there glued to that chat window waiting for a response. I have plenty else to spend my time on so no time is really lost, and if I'm at the point where I'm counting half-seconds as too much of my time, then there are much bigger problems.

        I guess my question is this: why do you see it is "not as polite" to include the greeting and the question on the same line?

        I don't think anyone suggested it wasn't as polite. Some people just aren't as comfortable sending out questions to people they don't know because they feel it's imposing or rude. I'd rather get them used to sending me questions immediately by being genial and friendly to their hesitation, not draconian about time.

        7 votes
        1. [11]
          aphoenix
          Link Parent
          Here's a typical scenario: a project manager sends me a message and says, "Hi, do you have a minute?" and I say, "Sure". Then there proceeds 2 minutes of "project manager is typing..." in slack. I...

          I get a lot of cold call messages like this in my role and it takes me all of half a second at most to say "Hey" back before I alt+tab or move to other work and then go back later when they've typed up their query.

          Here's a typical scenario: a project manager sends me a message and says, "Hi, do you have a minute?" and I say, "Sure". Then there proceeds 2 minutes of "project manager is typing..." in slack. I could either switch back to what I was doing with the knowledge that very soon I will just have to switch back, which means that time is wasted, or I can sit there and wait, which means that time is wasted. Either way, minutes of waste. Those minutes add up over time, and if your billable hourly is high, it can add up fast.

          I'm not claiming that every time this happens, I spent 10 hours of wasted time, but even 2 or 3 minutes of wasted time isn't worth it especially if it's trivial to just not waste that time. If I wasted 5 minutes a day on this, then my napkin math makes that about 20 hours per year. 20hrs * $150/hr = $3000 wasted in a year just because someone hits enter and draws me away from my job instead of just not hitting enter and typing the whole problem at once.

          I'd rather get them used to sending me questions immediately by being genial and friendly

          Is there something in what I wrote that said you should be unfriendly about things? I think being friendly is very important on a team. This is also really easy to address in a friendly way, and that's certainly what I would recommend doing. I definitely didn't recommend sending them to this site, which many people feel is rude, but a simple, "Hey, please go ahead and just ask questions - there's no need to ask permission for questions!" as a company policy is pretty easy to implement and saves a ton of time.

          I understand that a lot of people like to have these conversations wrapped in niceties, but they don't add anything to this mode of communication. They're anachronistic holdovers from in person conversations, and they don't take advantage of the strengths of other forms of communication.

          3 votes
          1. TheJorro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Oh no, sorry, I was just saying how I approach people who do this since I assume they're just uncomfortable with connecting with someone. I find that them testing the waters with "hello" is...

            Is there something in what I wrote that said you should be unfriendly about things?

            Oh no, sorry, I was just saying how I approach people who do this since I assume they're just uncomfortable with connecting with someone. I find that them testing the waters with "hello" is something that dissipates as relationships get built. It's extremely rare to get someone who still does it on the fifth or tenth interaction as things get more casual and we both realize the best ways to communicate with each other.

            Even today, since I made that comment, I've had to handle cold approaching people in IT and people in other groups, and there's such a night and day difference with responses. The non-IT person starts with casual conversation, the IT person is straight to business. Everyone responds differently but I find it's all about adapting to the other person. It's not so much about niceties and formats of communication so much as it is getting along with the other person on a personal level. Sometimes I get an IT person who wants to chat casually after the work is done because they like how I handled the actual work with them.


            I suppose it all depends on what the work is. I understand there's something called the "coding flow" that can take minutes to get into, and I've known people who lock themselves away from all communication to get certain stages of work done. For me, I treat their initial reach-out as figuring out the scope and urgency of the work, at which point we agree on a timeline, and then I can resume whatever planned work I have ahead of me.

            4 votes
          2. [9]
            Qis
            Link Parent
            I think I follow your logic, but counting your minutes in that way sounds very inappropriate to me, even in professional situations where your billing hours matter. I know it can feel expeditious...

            I think I follow your logic, but counting your minutes in that way sounds very inappropriate to me, even in professional situations where your billing hours matter. I know it can feel expeditious to dispense with formalities, but I think there's something blatant and dangerous about the impulse to default against salutations or other trappings of human verbal habit as somehow anachronistic to your I-guess-modern line of work. If I were you I would dispose of that napkin...

            2 votes
            1. [8]
              aphoenix
              Link Parent
              Why is it inappropriate? In my business, we charge billable hours to clients. If there are 10 employees then in a year, this could be $20,000. That is not an insignificant amount of money. It's...

              counting your minutes in that way sounds very inappropriate to me, even in professional situations where your billing hours matter

              Why is it inappropriate? In my business, we charge billable hours to clients. If there are 10 employees then in a year, this could be $20,000. That is not an insignificant amount of money. It's all well and good to say I should throw away this napkin but who pays for that time? Do I have to pay it? Do I pass that charge on to my clients? Is it not irresponsible to try to reign in any waste of time if you own a business?

              I know it can feel expeditious to dispense with formalities but I think there's something blatant and dangerous about the impulse to default against salutations or other trappings of human verbal habit

              When did I say that there shouldn't be greetings or salutations? What is dangerous about asking people to not ask to ask questions? We foster a company policy of "questions are encouraged, and you don't have to ask to ask a question". This policy is friendly. We don't feel the need to constantly ensure that we're synchronous - if we happen to be synchronous, that's great, and if we're not, that's fine too.

              Nobody in the company feels like this is oppressive or unfriendly. We have all been trained to just concatenate requests with greetings.

              My proposal, and indeed the proposal that most people who have this point of view, is that instead of saying "hello" and then waiting, you can write it all at once and save time, and that's the most polite way to do things. We're not saying "do not use a greeting". We're not saying "omit all niceties". We are saying that you don't have to ask for permission to ask, which is effectively what saying "Hello" and

              "Hey aphoenix! Could you please have a look at this pull request? It's in [this repository] and it's release/1.1.4/feature-bonanza. I'd like it to get deployed today if possible."

              "Hey aphoenix, could you let me know how I do [some technical thing] on that project? I'm not familiar with this particular thing in angular, specifically in [some file at some line]."

              These are big time savers. It's not onerous to ask people to be organized in their requests; it's just responsible. Wasting time by having disorganized requests isn't something that we can encourage; it's wasteful. And I'd rather that people spend that extra time on having a group game, or an actual conversation that's not a work request, or something else that's enjoyable.

              To put it another way, there are lots of things that people just accept about going to work - wearing pants, acting professionally, being able to do the job - but asking to keep communications professional and organized is problematic? Why?

              5 votes
              1. [7]
                Qis
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I urge you to avoid estimating the values of such interstitial moments. Five minutes a day is an objectively small amount of time, even across large teams. I can appreciate a professional...

                I urge you to avoid estimating the values of such interstitial moments. Five minutes a day is an objectively small amount of time, even across large teams. I can appreciate a professional standard, but if I discovered that someone had done any accounting for the time it took me to type messages I think that would be embarrassing and alienating. Consider the task of actually tabulating this degree of disorganization in your own life -- when in your semi-distraction do you think you should click your stopwatch? This is a necessarily hypothetical value, and arguments which rely on such fuzziness seem intensely socially corrosive to me. I'm telling you, that napkin is a liability.

                I would compare it to cases of frustration over incorrect zipper merging onto highways, fears of having been cut in standing queues, and the stultifying impulse to shush fellow patrons in libraries. These are fundamentally individual inconveniences, and a fact of life.

                1 vote
                1. [6]
                  aphoenix
                  Link Parent
                  I urge you to argue the points that I'm making. I haven't spent a huge amount of time on doing these calculations, but I understand that aggregate moments add up to large monetary values over...

                  I urge you to argue the points that I'm making.

                  Consider the task of actually tabulating this degree of disorganization in your own life

                  I haven't spent a huge amount of time on doing these calculations, but I understand that aggregate moments add up to large monetary values over time. I've also recognized that I have a responsibility when providing a service to provide accurate times to the clients who are purchasing my time, especially since my time, and the time of my employees, is expensive. As such, cutting down on things that eat up billable time, which is at the cost of the client, is a responsible thing to do. I am not sitting here constantly making those calculations - that in itself would not be a good use of time. However, whenever we (as a team) mindfully observe things that eat up time, we note them and try to address them.

                  when in your semi-distraction do you think you should click your stopwatch?

                  There is an insinuation here that having a stopwatch is bad, but to be clear I do use a stopwatch which is a part of the overall issue. When I switch from "Task A" to "Chatting" I stop the stopwatch, and switch modes. I do this because I don't believe in charging a client for time I spend chatting about other projects. I'm not saying that people who do so are immoral, but that's certainly against my own moral code for charging my time to other people.

                  seem intensely socially corrosive to me

                  Please answer this specific situation. I've presented two "hypotheticals" in my previous comment, and I'm choosing one of them here. Why is it socially corrosive to encourage team members to do this:

                  "Hey aphoenix, could you let me know how I do [some technical thing] on that project for [Client A]? I'm not familiar with this particular thing in angular, specifically in [some file at some line]."

                  Instead of doing this:

                  Dev: Hey
                  Me (a few minutes later): Hello.
                  a minute of "Dev is typing..."
                  Dev: Could you let me know how I do [some technical thing] on that project for [Client A]?
                  Me: Sure, what problem are you having with it?
                  a minute of "Dev is typing..."
                  Dev: I'm having a problem with this angular thing.
                  Me: What about it? Can you give me the specifics?
                  a minute of "Dev is typing..."
                  Dev: It's on line 67 of the login.component.ts file in [some folder]
                  Me: sure, let me bring that up and have a look.

                  There's almost no difference in these in terms of social niceties. They both include a greeting, they both , except one takes several minutes to get to the point, and the other takes no time to get to the point.

                  Why is it more socially corrosive to try to constrain digital communication to be more like verbal communication?

                  What is it specifically about the first interaction that is socially corrosive?

                  Why is it acceptable to charge clients more time to fix their problems than it is necessary to take? As a consumer, don't you want to spend the smallest amount of money? If I can do a project in 2 hours, shouldn't I charge 2 hours and not 3?

                  Why is it awkward to have an open policy in a company that you don't have to ask to ask questions? It's explicitly something that we put in our developer handbook - it is always okay to ask questions when you don't have an answer. I think it's actually really terrible to have to ask someone else on a team if they're willing to help you; it should always be an option to get support from the team that you're on. Building those lines of trust isn't "socially corrosive" and maintaining any environment where you have to ask permission to get help is definitely more of a problem.

                  These are fundamentally individual inconveniences, and a fact of life.

                  I refuse to accept that there are inconveniences that we should not attempt to overcome, so we're at odds there. I do think, however, that the things you've brought up don't necessarily support your point. You're bringing up feelings about these things This is something that you do have control over, and giving up frustration and trying to drive for the maximum safety of all involved even people who don't know how to merge is the way past it. By the way, we combat this as a society by trying to teach people how to zipper merge and putting up signs about how to queue. Similarly, our team combats the inefficiencies intrinsic to digital communication by encouraging people to communicate effectively. Since our team is smaller than the entirety of society, we have effectively "fixed" this issue, and not just accepted the drawbacks.

                  1 vote
                  1. [5]
                    Qis
                    Link Parent
                    Either of those scenarios seems pretty workable to me. Obviously one is faster than the other, but I would regard this as a matter of personal taste rather than as an auditable, abstractable...

                    Either of those scenarios seems pretty workable to me. Obviously one is faster than the other, but I would regard this as a matter of personal taste rather than as an auditable, abstractable problem in the cadence of your colleagues' communications. Perhaps you could have set up an auto-response to one word intros reminding people how you would prefer to be asked for help? The element of social corrosion isn't in the chats -- it's in the casual figuring of how much money might be lost as people coordinate with each other, and in the increasingly granular application of the logic of efficiency.

                    1. [4]
                      aphoenix
                      Link Parent
                      Okay, at least we mostly agree on that. I'm a proponent of the former, and not the latter. As you said: And we both agree on that. Do we agree that if I'm charging someone $150 / hr then I have...

                      Either of those scenarios seems pretty workable to me.

                      Okay, at least we mostly agree on that. I'm a proponent of the former, and not the latter. As you said:

                      Obviously one is faster than the other

                      And we both agree on that. Do we agree that if I'm charging someone $150 / hr then I have some kind of obligation to use whichever method is fastest for communication?

                      rather than as an auditable, abstractable problem in the cadence of your colleagues' communications

                      Even in this very conversation, you allowed that one is obviously faster than the other. This is not something that requires much thought or auditing. Do you think that I'm sitting here making this calculation on a daily basis? I am not, nor is anyone else. We've merely understood that "obviously one is faster than the other" and also that both of them are "pretty workable". If that's the case, then do the one that is faster.

                      Perhaps you could have set up an auto-response to one word intros reminding people how you would prefer to be asked for help?

                      It is honestly amazing to me that you would suggest this when it's one of the most socially toxic things in this thread. People should definitely not set up automatic responses; any kind of reminder about how to communicate should be done within the context it is received and in a friendly matter, especially on a team.

                      he element of social corrosion isn't in the chats -- it's in the casual figuring of how much money might be lost as people coordinate with each other, and in the increasingly granular application of the logic of efficiency.

                      Have you ever done any billing on a large scale? When I send out an invoice, I need to be able to tell the person that I'm giving a bill to why they should be giving me the amount of money on the bill. Some of our clients will nickle and dime us for this very issue. In response, I ask the people that do work to do the following:

                      • be open to answering questions
                      • be clear and concise in communication that is billable
                      • ensure that timesheets are accurate

                      It's not socially toxic to have observed that it's trivial to save time.

                      1. [3]
                        Qis
                        Link Parent
                        I don't understand. It sounds like you're saying that a few minutes' distracted attention risks a degree of inefficiency capable of subverting the integrity of your billing process? The...

                        I don't understand. It sounds like you're saying that a few minutes' distracted attention risks a degree of inefficiency capable of subverting the integrity of your billing process? The auto-response idea was a suggestion toward thinking about personal methods for compensating for your sense of loss besides rendering it unto clients as a financial cost or your workmates as an organization-wide policy. You have described it as both mere suggestion but also as an employer's ask? It is an "open policy" but one which has been ratified into an official handbook? I was advising you to destroy the evidence of this range of thinking, but it sounds like you're past that point.

                        1. [2]
                          aphoenix
                          Link Parent
                          I'm certainly not saying that, but you win, I tap out.

                          It sounds like you're saying that a few minutes' distracted attention risks a degree of inefficiency capable of subverting the integrity of your billing process?

                          I'm certainly not saying that, but you win, I tap out.

                          1. Qis
                            (edited )
                            Link Parent
                            I am reminded of one person I worked with who would go very cross if ever someone knocked on a door before entering; they argued it was more efficient just to enter unannounced and then if the...

                            I am reminded of one person I worked with who would go very cross if ever someone knocked on a door before entering; they argued it was more efficient just to enter unannounced and then if the occupants say they are busy then you could leave. The premise of individual privacy or the meaning of the closed door seemed relentlessly negotiable in their case, and very few boundaries could be sustained against their self-justification. Do not be this person.

      2. [2]
        viridian
        Link Parent
        I think the way we use the tools is fundamentally at odds is all. If I'm using slack, and not messaging a group chat, that communication is intended to be synchronous. If I need to ask a question...

        I think the way we use the tools is fundamentally at odds is all. If I'm using slack, and not messaging a group chat, that communication is intended to be synchronous. If I need to ask a question and I'm not sure if the person is available, or if it's after hours, or if it's something that I know won't require a lot of back and forth, I just email them. I'm typically not asking simple questions via slack, I'm trying to hash out implementation details with other senior developers, the pros and cons of multiple valid choices, and what decision we are ultimately comfortable living with.

        4 votes
        1. aphoenix
          Link Parent
          If using slack only synchronously works for you and your organization, then that's great - as I said, I don't think there is "one right answer" here. Personally, I think that one of the big...

          If using slack only synchronously works for you and your organization, then that's great - as I said, I don't think there is "one right answer" here.

          Personally, I think that one of the big strengths of slack is that it can move between being synchronous and asynchronous based on need. If I'm available, then that's great, and if I'm not, then I'll get to it when I get to it, and we don't have to figure out our schedules to coincide exactly. That's a convenience for me and for my team, but it's not necessary for all teams.

          3 votes
    2. [5]
      joplin
      Link Parent
      Agreed. It turns what would be a conversation in real life into a transaction and removes any humanity from interacting with coworkers. I don't want a life story when I ping someone, but removing...

      Agreed. It turns what would be a conversation in real life into a transaction and removes any humanity from interacting with coworkers. I don't want a life story when I ping someone, but removing every last bit of politeness from conversations makes for a really depressing interaction.

      9 votes
      1. [3]
        TheRtRevKaiser
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I get what you're saying, but there are some coworkers that I know are just messaging me because they have a question that they need answered. If I'm trying to do something and I have to respond...

        I get what you're saying, but there are some coworkers that I know are just messaging me because they have a question that they need answered. If I'm trying to do something and I have to respond to somebody's "Hello" with "Hi" or "Good Morning" or whatever but then the entire rest of the conversation is just me waiting a few minutes for them to formulate their question, it breaks my attention for much longer and it's more frustrating than just seeing the question and answering it.

        Edit: I can't imagine being passive aggressive enough to send somebody this link or anything like that, though. It's a very minor annoyance and it's not that big of a deal. I think I like the authors suggestion of putting the pleasantries and the question/problem in the same message. That's what I normally do and I much prefer it.

        11 votes
        1. [2]
          Eabryt
          Link Parent
          I feel called out. In my defense, it was only to close coworkers on my team who I would consider "friends", not just everyone in my department.

          I can't imagine being passive aggressive enough to send somebody this link or anything like that

          I feel called out. In my defense, it was only to close coworkers on my team who I would consider "friends", not just everyone in my department.

          4 votes
          1. TheRtRevKaiser
            Link Parent
            Sorry! Wasn't trying to step on any toes here, lol. If it helps, there are a few people at my office that I could imagine saying something like, "Dude, you can just ask the question, no need to...

            Sorry! Wasn't trying to step on any toes here, lol.

            If it helps, there are a few people at my office that I could imagine saying something like, "Dude, you can just ask the question, no need to prime the pump first." But I already chat with those folks casually outside of work related Q's and A's, so I think the general familiarity would make it seem less rude and passive aggressive.

            4 votes
      2. viridian
        Link Parent
        This isn't my main reason, but it's certainly a factor. I don't view my teammates as Q&A bots, and I do make more of an effort to be social these days since we haven't seen each other in 6 months....

        This isn't my main reason, but it's certainly a factor. I don't view my teammates as Q&A bots, and I do make more of an effort to be social these days since we haven't seen each other in 6 months. My team used to go on a (voluntary) mile walk every day together, and just chat about life plus what we were working on, so it's been a huge culture shift.

        3 votes
    3. FunnyFatGuy
      Link Parent
      Dang, that's going above and beyond! And also, yes, acceptable.

      Dang, that's going above and beyond! And also, yes, acceptable.

      1 vote
  3. [2]
    vord
    Link
    This article is spot on. In a chat program, there's no need to greet and wait. Fine if you want to say hello, but then include with the reason you are reaching out. Not doing so is basically just...

    This article is spot on. In a chat program, there's no need to greet and wait. Fine if you want to say hello, but then include with the reason you are reaching out. Not doing so is basically just turning chat into text-based phone tag or email. Those options still exist. The whole point of chat is that it's asynchronous like email, but faster. Slowing that down defeats the purpose.

    11 votes
    1. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      This is the crux of it. It's a collision of an existing social ritual and the nature of different communication mediums. In a face-to-face conversation (or phone call), you say hello, wait for...

      This is the crux of it. It's a collision of an existing social ritual and the nature of different communication mediums.

      In a face-to-face conversation (or phone call), you say hello, wait for response, then begin the actual conversation.

      In email, the expectation is that the other person will probably not read it immediately, like a physical letter. So the composition of the email/letter includes one entire side of a conversation including greeting, actual content, and salutation.

      Chat is actually a hybrid of the two, which leads to the mixing of expectations we see in this thread. Chat can be both synchronous and asynchronous, depending on what each party is doing. This is why it's so useful. Moving from an async conversation to real-time is seamless and requires no additional action or effort from either side other than to keep responding.

      As a result, the social norms for both live conversation and letter/email writing can be applicable. The trouble is it's difficult to tell what mode you're going to be in when you start the interaction in a chat application.

      4 votes
  4. vegai
    (edited )
    Link
    Seems like there's a disconnect here on Tildes between people who think that chat is a synchronous tool and people who think it's asynchronous. IT people tend to think like the latter because we...

    Seems like there's a disconnect here on Tildes between people who think that chat is a synchronous tool and people who think it's asynchronous. IT people tend to think like the latter because we sometimes have way more experience with it (via IRC and generally from socializing via computers more than in real life), and because our day-to-day job just works so much better when we're allowed to keep it async.

    One of the problems is this. Say we get these messages from two different people we don't know personally:

    • hi, how are you?
    • hi, how are you? I have a problem with Z, I need it to do X instead of Y. Can you help?

    We are immediately able to triage the second message into a proper place -- we can have a rough estimate in our heads about how much work this will take and how much benefit it will generate overall, and how critical or urgent this is. For the first message, none of that fast analysis can happen.

    Which is why if we're stressed, low on energy and other resources, it will just be massively better for us (and ultimately everyone else except the person behind the first message) to completely ignore the first message. And possibly spend some time writing an internal document on how to behave in chat so that people will get better service from us in the future.

    4 votes
  5. FunnyFatGuy
    Link
    I have a project manager that will send me, almost daily, "Hello FunnyFatGuy". And then there's silence for between 1 minute and 3 hours. No telling if/when he'll continue. I've started to...

    I have a project manager that will send me, almost daily, "Hello FunnyFatGuy".

    And then there's silence for between 1 minute and 3 hours. No telling if/when he'll continue. I've started to completely ignore his "Hello" or similar greeting until he includes information. And if he wants to just chat, he can come at with me something more than just "Hello"!!!

    3 votes
  6. [7]
    Eabryt
    Link
    Is there a reason you posted the outline instead of just linking directly to https://www.nohello.com/ ? Genuine question. When we transitioned to WFH back in March any time a coworker just sent a...

    Is there a reason you posted the outline instead of just linking directly to https://www.nohello.com/ ? Genuine question.

    When we transitioned to WFH back in March any time a coworker just sent a hi to me, I would respond with that URL. It seems like they've all got the message by now.

    2 votes
    1. [4]
      Keegan
      Link Parent
      I changed the link to the direct site. I really appreciate the concept of NoHello. It's annoying to wait for people to ask their questions.

      I changed the link to the direct site. I really appreciate the concept of NoHello. It's annoying to wait for people to ask their questions.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        It's strange because I kinda feel the opposite, since when someone says "hi, do you have a minute?" it only takes me 2s to respond "yes/no" back and it's no skin off my arse if it takes them 10...

        It's annoying to wait for people to ask their questions.

        It's strange because I kinda feel the opposite, since when someone says "hi, do you have a minute?" it only takes me 2s to respond "yes/no" back and it's no skin off my arse if it takes them 10 hours after that to finally respond back again with their question. If by that time I am gone or busy, that's not my fault, and they will just have to make due with waiting in turn. They are the one asking something of me, after all... so IMO they will have to be satisfied with the pace I set.

        11 votes
        1. [2]
          Keegan
          Link Parent
          That's fair. I don't send this link to anyone when they say "hi", I will be polite. It just saves both people some time when the question is asked either right away. Even if I reply "I am unsure,...

          That's fair. I don't send this link to anyone when they say "hi", I will be polite. It just saves both people some time when the question is asked either right away. Even if I reply "I am unsure, sorry. maybe ask ____" or something similar, then they can just copy their question from what they asked me to send to that other person.

          2 votes
          1. cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Yeah, I mean, don't get me wrong, I would generally prefer they just get to the point too (which is still possible to do while also being polite)... but I don't see it as particularly annoying...

            Yeah, I mean, don't get me wrong, I would generally prefer they just get to the point too (which is still possible to do while also being polite)... but I don't see it as particularly annoying when they decide to take the circuitous route by being overly polite either. :P

            3 votes
    2. [2]
      freddy
      Link Parent
      I thought the site looked cleaner with Outline, thats all. Also not too big a fan of posting blogspot links but hey ho.

      I thought the site looked cleaner with Outline, thats all. Also not too big a fan of posting blogspot links but hey ho.

      3 votes
      1. Keegan
        Link Parent
        Fair enough. I just believe it is proper to use exact links except when the site needs a special link to bypass a paywall, or use Outline when the site is littered with popups and clutter.

        Fair enough. I just believe it is proper to use exact links except when the site needs a special link to bypass a paywall, or use Outline when the site is littered with popups and clutter.

        5 votes
  7. raze2012
    Link
    Honestly very confused at how polarizing this concept is. At work, my coworkers understand that anything asked for is probably work related. If it's short enough to fit in a quick chat I'll just...

    Honestly very confused at how polarizing this concept is. At work, my coworkers understand that anything asked for is probably work related. If it's short enough to fit in a quick chat I'll just ask the question. if it needs more details, I'll phrase it something like

    hey, would you have any time today/this week to talk about X

    and then schedule when/if they are free for X.

    I've never had an issue of someone just saying "hi" in a formal context. But I wouldn't be passive agressive if that was a pattern. A simple "[answers question]. And btw, feel free to leave the question up next time. I'll see it and get more time to think about it" or something. Similar to how I'd link to documentation for something if a person asked me about a high level question.

    I'd only link to this is they followed up and asked why afterwards.

    1 vote
  8. lionirdeadman
    Link
    I always do this although it's worth noting that I usually don't ask for help when doing this. Why do I do this? I rarely have a response in a reasonable amount of time so I'm not sure of how I'll...

    I always do this although it's worth noting that I usually don't ask for help when doing this.

    Why do I do this? I rarely have a response in a reasonable amount of time so I'm not sure of how I'll steer the conversation. I try to always adapt to the person on the other side depending on how they're feeling.

    Is that the best way? I don't know, probably not.

    Now, I do ask questions like this in DMs sometimes with friends and maybe that's the wrong approach. I've never considered this time wasting with friends in DMs since my expectations is they'll interact with me if they feel like it.