E-mailing Rick Thomas
I receive a lot of e-mails and I do try to reply to all bona-fide ones (though, if I receive a lot of requests simultaneously or if I have been away from my e-mail for some time, there may be some delay).
Communication by e-mail and trying to help each other is one of the important aspects of being part of the academic community. As well as e-mails from my own students and colleagues I enjoy hearing from other people working in similar areas; I am very happy to try and help with genuine research questions for example. Please don't send me your homework exercises however (I'm sure your instructor intended you to do them, not me!) or requests for a summer internship here (I have no such positions available). I'm also not particularly interested in hearing from widows of wealthy Nigerians, purveyors of certain pharmaceutical products, organizers of e-mail lotteries, and so on. (Anyone who has used e-mail for some time will know what I mean!)
Joking apart, there is a real problem with people sending out spam and, like most people, I have spam filters set up (as does my University). Unfortunately there is a possibility that genuine messages get caught up in these and never reach me (I'm afraid this really does happen). Here are some tips as to how to try and avoid this:
1. Use my name in the header, not just the address.
2. Don't send me HTML (set your mailer to send plain text only); apart from anything else, frivolous formatting can give my e-mail reader indigestion.
3. Don't send me Word documents; use pdf instead or simply include the text in your message as plain text (or, better still, give me a link to the relevant document).
4. Don't send *.zip files.
Also please note that my mailer does not show images; I won't open such a file unless it's clear from your message why I should do so.
If you e-mail me and don't get a reply, then do try again but think what you might be doing that could cause your message to get caught in a spam filter. If I don't reply for some time then I'm afraid that it's quite likely your message never reached me. Of course, if you don't appear to be getting through by e-mail, you can always send me a letter!
Rick Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org).