About using the word "Urgent" in your question

Tags: supportmailing-list

In previous blogs (Why your mail doesn't show up on the mailing list) and YouTube videos (The internal kitchen at iText: how we fight SPAM), we already explained the mechanics behind systems such as the iText mailing-list. The following screen shot is yet another example of the administrative interface that is used to keep subscribers of the mailing list from receiving SPAM:

As you can see, this "question" had the word "urgent" as its subject line. We get many mails with similar subject lines: "Urgent question", "Need answer ASAP", and so on. In the majority of cases, the content of such a message is SPAM. In the above example, the message was sent through an SMTP server with the word p0rn in its domain name and the content clearly wasn't a question about iText. We've gotten used to mails like this, and as a result we often discard such questions without even reading what they're about.

This is the main reason why you shouldn't use the word urgent in your question. It usually triggers an automated reflex resulting in the deletion of your question, even if your question is genuine and even if, in fact, you need an answer urgently.

There is also another reason: many people agree that using the word "URGENT" (often written in capitals) is rude. If you post a question to the free mailing list, you're using iText for free, otherwise you'd send your question to the premium support address. If you're not paying for iText, you're asking the subscribers of the mailing list to do you a favor on a voluntary basis. Although many developers are willing to grant you that favor, it's rude to SHOUT when asking for a favor. Additionally, using emotional blackmail trying to force people to answer your question has no added value. People usually won't help you faster if you use words such as ASAP. On the contrary: it's considered being counter-productive to the extent that some people consistently skip questions that demand an answer.

In short: please avoid the use of words such as "urgent" or "ASAP" in your questions. You're doing yourself a favor giving your question a better chance at being accepted. At the same time, you don't offend the people who may want to grant you the favor of answering your question.