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Comprehension Receipt

Prove the email recipient read and understood your message
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As a member of the information technology industry, I often get frustrated by those who read my emails and fail to comprehend them. As a result, I have come up with Comprehension Receipt for email.

When selected, this handy-dandy email add-on would scan your message and automatically create a ten question multiple choice exam similar to the SATs attached to the end. Readers would not be able to close the email message until they have answered all ten questions, and the result would be sent to the originator.

jaxmeier, Dec 31 2004


       I know.. I hate how some people think if it's email instead of on paper, they are exempted from reading the thing. (See my annotation below)
phundug, Dec 31 2004

       How would the questions be generated? One problem i've had, particularly with IT stuff, is that people think they understand when they don't, and the questions would have to avoid this problem.
nineteenthly, Dec 31 2004

       Fill-in-the-blank would be easiest to generate. E.g. after the reader reads the email and clicks "quiz me", the computer finds the "rarest" words in the email and blanks them out. The reader's goal will be to reconstruct the original email verbatim with the key words blanked out. He does this by tabbing from one blank field to the next.   

       To "add your own questions", simply include sentences in your original email that are in White, or Hidden font. During the quiz, these fonts will become visible and it will appear that you wrote these questions yourself.   

       You will also have to be able to select which parts of the email are to be tested. Like if there's a list of 25 program names, you wouldn't expect your reader to remember them without consulting the chart.
phundug, Dec 31 2004

       i thought this idea in the opening paragraph was very interesting, but alas the multiple choice only succeeds in annoyance to all those involved.
benfrost, Dec 31 2004

       What about a dialog box on closing the message?   

       Did You Understand This Message?
and if the reader hits yes and then later screws up you can freely yell at him cause it's his fault.
phundug, Dec 31 2004

       Being also involved in IT, I think your mistake is relying on emails. If comprehension is important, you cannot beat a face-to-face meeting.
DrCurry, Dec 31 2004


       face-to-face beating.
photojunkie, Dec 31 2004

       You can not meat a face to face beeting.   

       I hate the idea ... implement it and I'll hate it worse.
reensure, Dec 31 2004

       This was originally thought of as a joke, but we thought about it some more and figured why not? I know it would never be implemented as it would be about as welcome as spam.   

       Fill-in-the-blank is a far better idea, thank you phundug, and the idea of YES,NO,CANCEL is even better. As for implementation, there is no reason why the recipient can't refer to the message. It is an open book test. No need to make it like a real SAT.   

       As for the reason to use this, agreed, person-to-person is better, but unfortunately that is just not a reality in many cases. Where we get frustrated is when we send out service pack notices and instructions. They go to seventy different clients across the state along with precises step-by-step instructions. Despite this, we always wind up running the service pack for a few customers.
jaxmeier, Dec 31 2004

       Did you understand this message?
[Yes, as I too work in IT and am therefore able to deciper the obfuscatory jargon and poor quality prose contained therein]
[No, as this message was written in an insufficiently clear and simple manner].
calum, Jan 01 2005

       I don't get it...
RayfordSteele, Jan 01 2005

       After the first such message, I'd create a rule to delete any mail from you.
waugsqueke, Jan 01 2005

po, Jan 01 2005

       [Callum]: Obfuscatory jargon?
A real example: Someone says there is "something wrong" with their computer because "the basic program that makes it run has something wrong with it". Meaning what? The BIOS? The operating system? The kernel? The shell?
nineteenthly, Jan 02 2005

       So, what's the recourse if they click "[NO]"?
nick_n_uit, Jan 02 2005

       Provide a cash award via PayPal to those who answer your pop-quiz correctly. Let the free market determine the amount of cash awarded. Maybe it'll take ten monetary units, maybe 100. You'll become popular and have many new, avid readers of your email, and you might get help for your writing skills.
entremanure, Jan 02 2005

       Blaming the reader for not understanding what you have written seems a misplacement of blame to me.
bristolz, Jan 02 2005

       Only connect.
mensmaximus, Jan 02 2005

       [bris] - true as that may be, surely you acknowledge that:   

       1. Some people are bad at following even the most trivial of instructions; and,
2. Catering to such people in writing instructions often offends more able people, or at least slows them down and frustrates them.

       Still, if it's your job, you have to take responsibility for even the most inept of idiots and malicious of mind. Perhaps an adaptation of this idea, then. One set of normal instructions, eg,   

       "Download installation program from vendor site, and run it under your normal work account. Ensure the 'Spongle' option is activated, and note the location of the Widgets after installation."   

       A dialog can then ask if the user understood. If they did, fine, nothing more is needed. If not, the next set of instructions:   

       "Open [name of ubiquitous web browser] by clicking on the [description of easily recognisable icon] icon. In the location bar, enter..."   

       And so on.
Detly, Jan 02 2005

       //Readers would not be able to close the email message until they have answered all ten questions, and the result would be sent to the originator.//   

       I would just answer every question wrong. I don't have time for that crap. It's punishing the majority for the infirmities of a minority.
contracts, Jan 02 2005

       A piece of advice I 1nce aquired saved me many times: Instead of saying "You didnt understand me", better say "It seems I said that in an unclear way. Please let me rephrase".   

       So the question should be "I would like to check how clear my explanations are. Is this email simple or hard to understand? Thank you.
pashute, Feb 08 2006


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