David Pogue's email tips for public figures

The New York Times' David Pogue answers a letter from an anonymous writer who says he or she is "about to enter a somewhat public life." Here's an excerpt:

A) How many wackos do you hear from in a day?
B) How do you handle said wackos?

(A) I don't hear from that many wackos. Maybe about one a month. (That's if you define "wacko" as "someone who rants incoherently." If you mean "someone who disagrees with you," then the answer is, "daily.")

(B) If the person is obviously deranged or pretending to be, I don't reply. Otherwise, I try to send at least a brief response.

Not everyone is happy with that degree of engagement. After reading one reader's six-page account of his customer-service nightmare, I wrote back, "What a horror story. So sorry to hear it!" But the reader, evidently having expected me to take up his cause personally, wrote back simply, "**** you, too." (Swear word omitted.)

E-Mail Etiquette for Public Figures