Because my post, “How to Write E-mail that Sucks,” garnered several comments, I thought we could discuss another e-mail issue. Over on the Business Writing blog, Lynn Gaertner-Johnston raises the question of whether subject-only e-mails are good or bad. She had someone write to her complaining about this practice, but she doesn’t think they’re necessarily a bad thing.
I’ve gotten them before, and they don’t usually bother me. For example, I had one co-worker who would send out messages withe subjects like “I’ll be out of the office this afternoon” and nothing in the body. After all, there wasn’t much more to say; the subject let me know all I needed. (She did usually append “[EOM]” to the subject to indicate that that was the end of the message.)
Of course, like all other things, they could be abused. For example, some messages can’t be condensed into a single line, but you can bet someone will try in a vain attempt to gain some sort of false economy.
What do you think? Good, bad, or indifferent?