Opinions on my email reply

I’m in the process of finding homes for some finches that were given to me recently. I posted an ad on craigslist and recieved the following email:

contack me on adalbilty birds.

I figured it was a joke, or at least someone not serious enough to reply like a normal person, so I responded with:
Sorry, I speak English.

Today I got:
if you are talking about the spelling. have epelise have problems with spelling. try and be a little kinder.

My response:
All due respect, if your medical problems make you unable to communicate effectively, perhaps you should have someone else type your responses for you.

I mentioned this to a friend and he says I was being unnecessarily snarky. So, what are your opinions?

If they can manage to spell most of the words correctly (assuming it was they who wrote the second response), they could manage all of them. I don’t know if I would have engaged them in the exchange at all, though.

Yep, snarky. I would have thought it was a typo, since it’s obvious they meant “availability” and even if English weren’t their first language, it’s rude to critique someone trying to communicate with you. Their epilepsy may hinder their grammar, but nothing is hindering you.

The first e-mail deserved to be ignored. I think I would have had myself a little chuckle and then just deleted it; I guess I’m not sure what you were trying to accomplish by replying to the person just to make fun of them.

Snarky, but why couldn’t they take as long as they wanted to correct their spelling? (I have friends with epilepsy but it doesn’t effect their everyday motor skills). I hate spelling mistakes, but I’d be more worried about how they will properly handle small birds.

The first email would have alerted me to the potential that communicating with this person would be a hassle, so I’d probably not respond. If I wasn’t inclined to ignore it completely, however, I’d have probably responded with “I’m sorry, but I didn’t understand your email” and let them give me an explanation. Having said that, my bullshit detector is resonating, as it doesn’t really make sense to me why a person with epilepsy can’t spell words correctly, as they are clearly capable of using a keyboard.

I don’t really care too much about niceness. I am entirely with the OP. I don’t hesitate these days to tell people flat out that I would like them to use their best grammar, please, and try to spell words correctly. I’m too old to mess around with what people call spelling these days - and I’m only 31.

If you want my attention, if there’s something you want from me, then one of the things I do ask for and expect to receive is a minimum of effort to try and phrase yourself coherently. I probably would have also responded to the first e-mail. I might not have said precisely what they said, but here. digs around in LJ

Here is a post I got from someone on Facebook:


Here is my very first response:

God your grammar is bad.

I don’t see why I should have to put up with this kind of crap. And I firmly believe the more we put up with it the more it will happen. I happen to value good grammar and spelling.

Does that mean I never make a mistake? Hell no. But if you look over this post you’ll see no leetspeak, no emoticons, one line of “emoting”, clear posting, decent spelling, and decent grammar. I shamelessly expect the same in return. And I will add that English is my second language.

I often put in freecycle listings something like: “Only inquiries with proper English grammar, spelling, and punctuation will be answered. I don’t understand 1337, txt or Gobbledygook.”

Snarky? Yes. But I feel that by mentioning it, I have at least raised some level of awareness, rather than leaving idiots to assume I’m just ignoring them for no reason. If they want to address me, they can, but we’re going to agree on those terms to have a conversation - since I’m the one with the stuff they want.

And then I just ignore any emails which I can’t decipher.

I think you were pointlessly rude. While illiterate people are indeed annoying, that fact alone doesn’t give one blanket license to abuse them in all situations. In a case where the contact was initiated by you (i.e. posting a craigslist ad), there was no reason to do anything besides delete their first email. Responding with nothing but an insult was kind of rude, then, given the non-snarky tone of their follow-up, responding again with communication tips was obnoxious.

Now, had this been an unsolicited IM or email, I’d have no problem with you abusing them soundly for their illiteracy.

Looks like perfectly spelled Nigerian to me. If you hadn’t been so snarky just now, you’d be collecting a handsome commission for helping move $64 million in ill-gotten oil money offshore.

Learn some manners, eh? :cool:

A logical extension of that approach is that people who need crutches to walk should have an assistant to push them in a wheelchair, people with speech impediments should have interpreters alongside, blind folks should have seeing-eye people with them. The point is, even those who can’t do everything as effectively as “normal” folks want to exercise as much independence as they can manage, even if there are some challenges or extra effort involved. I see the quoted response as belittling.

I have some regrets about sometimes being unnecessarily unkind in my life. I have no regrets about ever being overly kind.

After I finished laughing at One Cent Stamp’s hilarious response, I decided to go with the group that says “I would have ignored the first post.” There is no need to be snarky (which the OP was), but there is also no need to engage with people who evidently know enough English to comprehend your ad but can’t be bothered to write something that even resembles a literate response.

Alternatively, if I was feeling mellow, I might have entertained the possibility that the respondent was a terrific person who would give the finches a lovely home, but spoke English as a second language poorly and answered in a rush. In that mood, I might have given a non-committal response to find out more. If they just seemed like a non-native speaker, no problem. If they seemed totally off-base, I’d wonder about their ability to care for pets, and politely disengage.

Shouldn’t that be enquiries?

No. It can be, if you prefer, but my dictionary says “enquire/enquiry” are simply variants of “inquire/inquiry”.

Personally, I find that the distinction between “enquiry” for a question and “inquiry” for an investigation is useful, but it appears that distinction is not a common one.

Edit: Actually, the people at AskOxford agree with me, sort of, so I wasn’t making that up. But still, either spelling is fine, with in- more common in the USA and en- more common in the UK.

All right, given the consensus, I see I was being overly rude. It was uncalled for, but I get so many poorly worded responses and it annoys me. I know craigslist isn’t a bastion of smarts, but it seems like the people in general there just don’t put in any effort.
I let my childish side get the better of me.

This is one of those cases where usage is different in the UK vs. the US. Technically, both are correct in either country, but on the British side of the pond you see “enquiries” more frequently. In the US “inquiries” is used more often.

I’ve never heard of a side effect of epilepsy being poor spelling, so unless they were having a seizure during both of their e-mails to you, I wouldn’t give it a second thought.

My fist thought on reading that was that the responder had dyslexia not epilepsy. To be fair, do we know that it’s epilepsy we’re dealing with here? I mean, we know it’s ‘epelise’, but are we sure what that means?

Yeah I think your reply was a bit snarky, I’m not a fan of Internet-Age grammar but this looks different.

I’m with Giraffe and CairoCarol. Poor spelling/grammar may be annoying, but there’s no need to be a jerk about it. I definitely would have just ignored the e-mail, and have done so whenever I’ve gotten Craigslist responses that I couldn’t understand or that seemed “iffy” to me.

Another vote for would have just deleted it.

For the record, I have epilepsy. Immediately after a seizure, I can’t even recite the alphabet properly - writing well (or at all) would be totally out of the question. However, once I’ve recovered, my ability to write comes back, too. Regardless, there’s no way in hell I’d be on the Internet immediately after a seizure. I wouldn’t be able to even think enough to read, much less ask about finches.