With the Internet businesses I run, I receive a lot of feedback emails. The majority are really pleasant and useful, and I reply in-kind. But, just occasionally, I receive one that gets my goat. I mean, it’s not difficult to be pleasant, is it? So, today, because I was in a funny mood, I decided to reply with one of my pointless letters. His email was about the search engine on one of my websites.
Here is the email I received…
I entered the sought after abbreviation with a few leading and trailing spaces. Your search engine failed to find any expansion.
This is a very poor show on your part. It’s the programmers’ duty to remove leading and trailing spaces, Not the users’. Please let me know when this has been fixed.
Thank you for your email. Your suggestion to remove spaces is one of the best we have received this week, second only to the idea of strapping flapjacks to pigs, which we are currently looking into (you should see the prototype, it really is something to behold).
Far from being a company who simply jump in and adopt every suggestion that comes our way, we like to take time to assess the positives and negatives of every suggestion. Yours is no exception. I’m excited to be able to tell you that we only found one negative, and it is this. As I’m sure you’re aware, several spaces in a row can make an abbreviation in itself. It is commonly used for giving a person time to think and breathe. Without these spaces, people may be forced to not take pauses between words or sentences, whichwouldbeterribleandmakeitverydifficulttounderstandwhattheyaresaying.
Despite coming up with that particular negative, we can see no others. So, I’m delighted to be able to tell you that we have taken your feedback onboard and have updated our search system to include this fantastic new feature. Now, although I’d like to take the development of our search engine a step further in assisting you and make it prepare you a mug of Bovril, massage your feet at the end of a long day and wipe your bottom for you, i regret that I won’t be able to do that. Still, don’t let that stop you from doing those things yourself, eh?
Please don’t let what I’ve said detract from the fact that your suggestion was a very good one. I have no doubt that it will improve the lives of tens of people throughout the world, all of whom might have been unable to fathom the idea of removing a space from before or after their search term before carrying out their search. May they be eternally grateful and send you Christmas cards year after year… assuming they can lick their own stamp for the envelope…