A few days ago I received an e-mail from someone I've never met requesting technical assistance from me. Now, this isn't in and of itself odd as I seem to get similar e-mails hourly, but what was odd, and welcomed, was how this person framed the question/problem:
I'm sure that people bug you about this all the time so I am hoping that you are either a patient man, or that you have a reply to this query prepared that you just paste and send…
I hope that you don't mind this (by now, rather desperate) plea for help.
Because of these simple, appreciative sentences I'm almost compelled to move this person to the front of the reply queue. It's a shame that something like this is cause for such highlighting, but if you saw some of the e-mails I've received I think you'd agree that this sort of acknowledgment and understanding is rare.