OT: Email Tips from Raymond Chen

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...Sorry I haven't written much lately, I have plenty on the way.  Counting down 3 months until my wedding and life just keeps getting busier and busier.  Here is a look into the world of a support engineer at Microsoft and some related comments from Raymond Chen that I couldn't help but talk about since they are so on point...enjoy... 

My job as support engineer is as much about communication as it is debugging.  A large amount of that communication is done through email whether it be between me and customers, product team members, account managers, other support engineers, consultants, etc.  A large amount of that traffic happens on internal discussion groups where people from all these different roles can post questions and provide answers to one another.  This interaction is such a vital part of the support and consulting while also providing product teams with real life scenarios, bugs, and questions that they can use to improve their products.  It exemplifies the cliche, "None of us is smarter than all of us."

Turns out there is an etiquette to be observed as well that has evolved over time.  Most of it comes from respecting the time of others, especially the guys on the product team.  This is a community interaction and although we couldn't function without it, providing answers to this groups is considered going "above and beyond".  In the end it all works out, I may be able to answer some quesetions in the VSTO group or Outlook Programming group and in return I'm sure at some point someone will help me out on the Vista or Powershell groups.  The key is to be respectful of the community and not abuse people's time and willingness to help out (especially people like Raymond Chen).

Raymond has a couple posts that talk about to the two most blatant violations of discussion group etiquette that are quite frequently broken at Microsoft, the dreaded "RESENDING:...." email due to "no response" and the ever popular "spam the world" tactic of trying to loop as many people into a problem as possible without letting them know.  These posts hit home so precisely to life in these discussion groups that I couldn't help but link to them...

Email tip: People didn't answer your first email for a reason

Email tip: Don't ask the same question multiple times in different groups

  • Raymond and Matt just posted their own thoughts on e-mail etiquette, especially as it applies here at

  • Exchange 2007 setup logs and how to use them to troubleshoot setup Email Tips from Raymond Chen Restricting

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