UPDATE: 7 years after I wrote this post,  this article from the New York Times has finally vindicated me in popular main stream media.  Took you guys long enough!  You didn’t have to go and review text messages from teenagers in London either, I could have told you as much.  And it’s not millennials who dropped it first –  It was Generation X’ers thank you very much.

There’s been a rather fun inside joke between me and Keith and Andy and John.   I don’t know if I’ve told many other people about it, maybe a handful more at some point because Keith thinks I’m off my rocker for it.


So let’s have a little test and you guys vote, shall we?

Here’s the scenario:  Some guy emails you and says “Man, I’m under a massive deadline, I’ve been searching for an answer on how to do ‘X’, if you have ANY time at all, could you just point me in the right direction?

You, being me, decide to help a fellow flasher in need (someone you don’t know btw), and not only do you give him the answer, but you throw him an EXTRA saucy bone and include a code snippet of what he’s trying to accomplish, since you can certainly relate to what a deadline feels like.

The person who’d asked for help, simply writes back and says:

”  Thanks. ”

“thanks” or “thanks man, LOVE YOU” would have been perfectly acceptable.  But in this case, it was just “thanks.”   See, the period is what gets me.  It’s like he’s saying “thanks for nothing jerk-weed.”  Without the period, it’s more like he’s in a hurry or at least semi appreciative … ” thanks ” – I could accept that.  It’s still a little crappy considering I probably saved him hours of work.  I would at least expect an exclamation point… ” thanks! ”

See?  how hard would that have been?  and THAT’S exactly my point.  I didn’t get a exclamation point (!), but I DID get punctuation.  Which means forethought.  He CHOSE the period.  Which means “Bite me.”

AM I WRONG?!?!  Does anyone else agree with me?!

  1. I voted No, but with reservation. I have had the same experience with help emails and i try to gauge by the original request ‘voice’ if the response was negative or positive.

    Definitely if the original email uses american slang – like starting or ending sentences with ‘Man’ – and all i get back is Thanks. with a period, i take it as a silent ‘for nothing’. But otherwise i assume it is a language/expression barrier.

  2. Ok granted, you’re right. If I know the person is american ( as I am american, so he/she should know better with the slang) , it’s doubly bad. But still, if someone gets THAT level of help instantly for FREE, it doesn’t matter what language you speak – “thanks.” is just … ugh.

      • leandroferreira
      • August 13th, 2009

      That’s bad in any language…

  3. PS> this was years ago now, so I think we’re outside the acceptable range of being able to talk about it openly 😉

  4. ha, this post cracked me up 😀 nice one, what a jerk =P

  5. i have been in this position before, but i think that if he was trying to say bite me, he wouldn’t respond. The other thing you might consider is that he may have been in a rush and just saw that you sent something and said thanks right away before he even tried to implement it.

    that being said, reading tone in an email is pretty much impossible.

    • Steve
    • August 11th, 2009

    It is pretty common to ask help from someone and while in a rush probably take it for granted. While they more then likely don’t even know you just saved them hours – maybe days of work.

    A cliche, but too true – “Help those who help themselves”.

    In other words – Although you are just being a nice guy and actually really helping by giving them a snippet.

    It’s usually probably going to get them further along if you: A) answer their question, or
    B) point them in the direction so that they can learn it themselves.

    Otherwise, more than likely they will be coming back for those handy little code snippets.

    • Yeah yeah, I get all that, but he said he was on deadline (desparate) and I can empathize with that. Normally, I would just have given direction as you suggested.

      But still, the period is the clincher. You have to admit. In any other situation, his response would have been fine, but that period and it was so short… that was a statement 😉

  6. Don’t think he’s being rude; just thoughtless. Not saying it wouldn’t (and hasn’t) drive me bonkers. I just think it was just thoughtless typing and not open rudeness.

  7. you sound like Larry David … is this ‘Curb your enthusiasm’?

  8. You are right. I accept all as you speak.

  9. yeah see, I’m not mad right now about it, this happened a while back like I said. It was more of a fun poll with something we joke around with – I’ve been threatening to blog about it forever 😉

  10. thanks is better then a no reply. Ive helped some peps only to get more questions but never a thanks. when they sucked all the info from me they could. . . NO REPLY.

    When I ask for help I always at least say “Thanks!” but tend to write more expressing my gratitude because I am super appreciative of the free help I’ve gotten that probably saved me hours so I put in the effort to say Thank you!

    On another note, what is the worst, is when someone treats you as their own personal Flash support representative. I’m all for supporting each other and helping each other grow but some people don’t even take the effort to research what they are asking you.


    • John
    • August 11th, 2009

    John says he’s not mad about this now.. but get him a drink or two, and its easy to get him all worked up again. I’ve been guilty of pushing his “Thank PERIOD” buttons more than once (probably more than 5 or 6 times) 🙂 LOL

  11. Jerk.

    • archont
    • August 12th, 2009

    Let’s be honest about this – there are people who are to the point and there are people who will spew bullshit and go through miles of sob stories, indroduction and go far out to express their emotions and distress or their appreciation. Stuff that is irrelevant to the situation.

    The guy you mentioned seems to be a to-the-point guy. Sure, he could write a valenda-scented letter with crayon drawings expressing his gratitude, but instead he chose a simple and universal thank you. In the end, it’s just a gesture.

    I personally can’t stand people who lose focus. Precise and to the point when at work, damn it!

    • yeah I have to say, I like direct BAM to the point people too. Get to the point, here’s your answer, execute.

      But that ” thanks. ” is a nice compact direct way of making a negative “thank you” 😉

  12. You are friggin right!

    Time saved = x hours
    Time to write a polite and awesome-tanstic thanky you note = x seconds.

    No excuse!

    • LOVE YOU. (see the period on love you is absolute and means I said it with big eyes and likely a pounding of my desk to emphasize how linked I feel to you)


    • Adam Searle
    • August 12th, 2009

    Without a doubt mate, the period seals it as a negative remark.

    “thanks” is nice and open ended. When I say “thanks.” out loud, there is an inflection on the end. thanksPFFT. So inconsiderate

    Given the time saving (or, even if he changed directions and didn’t need it at all – YOU spent time answering it) he should be thankful to you. More than “thanks.”

    that “ass.”

  13. Thanks for this thread.

  14. I’ve also had these experiences as well as similar ones in everyday life. For awhile I would spend time wondering about motivation and reasons etc, but now I just reflect on this.

    “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity”


    • Thanks!
    • August 13th, 2009

    You’re not wrong… A similar reason to explain why I don’t help guys at forums anymore, but you were lucky, most of the time there is not even the PERIOD as an appreciative response, and most of the time the answers you give are one googleing away but the the guy in need is too lazy even for that so…

    I figured out, If a guy is too stupid to appreciate any given help, he/she deserves to keep being stupid.

  15. lol.

    • OJ
    • August 14th, 2009

    I think it’s poor form. If you go through that much effort to help them and they can’t even throw a couple of sentences together to express a little more gratitude it’s a show of bad manners. The dude took the piss.

    I feel for you. This happens to me quite often too, and it gets to me. It hasn’t yet got to a point where I’ve stopped helping people, but I have started thinking “am I going to get a show of gratitude” before I reply.

    It’s a shame that there are so many asshats in this world 🙂

  16. although I would have said “thanks!”, I could imagine that not everybody thinks that thorougly about choosing a point or an exclamation mark.

    That said, I use exclamations mark all the time so they’ve lost a bit their special, hidden message of saying “your’re super awesome!’ in my comments!

    • pault107
    • September 7th, 2009

    I very rarely use exclamations marks unless they’re really needed to emphasise an emotion. When I’m extremely grateful for something, it’s one of those moments.

  17. To somebody it’s just a period. To me it is screaming insult.

  18. interesting, just a minute ago i was trying to say thanx for you pointing me to google code (on Xray3 post)… and i included not one but two exclamation marks…
    (but for some reason, some javascript somewhere just returns “discarded” into browser window)

    “Thanks.” does sound too cold, but it might be guys trying to be “cool”, and trying to play a “we-the-devopers-the-buddies-the-real-men-the-guys-with-silent-understanding-and-not-needing-much-words” role-playing game. Which is especially indicated by the “Man” syntagm mentioned…

    • Ramiro Espada
    • October 24th, 2009

    You are not alone, I agree! is not over-thinking people leave those smalls communication details to so we can pick it up he’s a jerk or a good guy acting like a jerk, your reply definitely deserves a better reply than just a lame “Thanks.”. Is not trivial is important to people, and specially the new generations, to be graceful and polite when is relevant… lets not be afraid to be warm and social open (dam I feel like I’m getting old and I’m just 29) 🙂

    • John Grden
    • June 10th, 2016

    7yrs later, the main stream media is FINALLY catching on to what I’ve ALREADY REPORTED: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/10/world/europe/period-full-stop-point-whatever-its-called-millennials-arent-using-it.html?_r=2

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