Saturday, August 3, 2013

What are the chances she'll email me back?

I installed a nifty little gadget on my gmail client the other month, which reports different statistics about my emailing habits. It's pretty easy to install, as long as you don't mind giving this script permission to access your account. Every month, I get an automated email from myself describing the behavior of my sent and received emails.

One graph which surprised me was the distribution of "conversation" lengths in my inbox. A conversation is defined as any new email and subsequent responses. (an email with the subject "Re: Re: Re: photos" is part of the conversation "photos".) So the more responses to an email, the larger the conversation is. Here's the distribution of conversations in my inbox for July.


It's plotted on a log-log graph. and every point falls on a line, much like a power function. This suggests that there is simply a fixed probability with which someone responds to an email. In other words, the probability that I get a response to a message is independent of how long the conversation already is.

Lets do some math... p(n) is the probability of having a conversation of length n. If we humans really reply with a time-independent fixed probability, then we expect the distribution p(n) to be equal to the probability of a single message being sent n times. I call this basal response probability p1. 


Taking the log on both sides, we can bring down the exponent and see how this distribution would be linear on a log-log plot.

So what is the probability that I send/receive a single email? Lets solve for p1! Plugging in some numbers from the graph above, I find that p1 = 4.4%.

Of course, we humans like to think that we make conscious decisions, and that we answer emails based on their relative importance. But the fact that my conversation distribution consistently falls on this line means one thing: either the vast majority of my responses are canned and trivial, or worse, I answer important emails at the expense of answering less important conversations less frequently than I would otherwise. 

I would be interested in seeing how this basal response probability (4.4%) compared to other people. Some other questions to pursue: do I preferentially end conversations, or do my pen pals? Does my p1 change from month to month? Is the variation away from a linear log-log behavior a good indicator for my productivity/procrastination for that month? Is this true for texts?

Maybe the most important takeaway here is that if the person didn't respond to your message, you can expect to send your message about twenty-five more times before they'll reply once. :)

17 comments:

Unknown said...

افضل شركة تنظيف بالرياض-خصم 50%- ركن كلين للخدمات المنزلية
تتشرف شركة تنظيف بالخرج وتتقدم شركتنا بخدماتها مع فريق من المتخصصين والخبراء فى تنظيف وصيانه وكل مايتعلق بها من اعمال التنظيف ومكافحة الحشرات
شركة تنظيف منازل بالخرج
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالخرج
شركة تنظيف مجالس بالخرج
شركة تنظيف مساجد بالخرج
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالخرج
شركة رش مبيدات بالخرج


Unknown said...


شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالظهران
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالقطيف

anosh said...

شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالرس
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرس
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالرس
شركة رش مبيدات حشرية بالرس
شركة تنظيف منازل بالرس
شركة تنظيف مجالس بالرس
شركة تنظيف كنب بالرس
شركة تنظيف فلل بالرس
شركة تنظيف شقق بالرس
شركة تنظيف بالرس

ركن كلين said...

تقدم شركتنا افضل الخدمات المنزلية علي الاطلاق حيث انها تقدم خدمات التنظيف المتكاملة مثل تنظيف المنازل والبيوت والفلل والقصور والمكاتب الحكومية
يمكنك زيارة موقعنا لانها هي الافضل علي الاطلاق حيث انها توفر كل الخدمات
ارخص شركة تنظيف منازل بالرياض
شركة تنظيف سجاد بالرياض
شركة تنظيف ستائربالرياض
شركة غسيل كنب بالرياض
شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض
شركة تنظيف كنب بالرياض
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالرياض

Amany Said said...

هل تبحث عن شركة متخصصة فى خدمات التنظيف بالطائف بافضل المعدات والسوائل وثقة تمة فى العمل ودقة فى النتائج كل هذه المميزت توفرها شركة الخليج الشركة الافضل والامثل فى الخدمات المنزلية بالطائف وبما اننا الشركة الافضل والامثل بدون منافس سوف نسعى لتوفر افضل الخدمات باقل تكلفة وبقدر كبير من الاهتمام والدقة عزيزى اينما كنت فى اى منطقة ا وحى تابع لمدينة الطائف اتصل بنا وسوف نصلك فى الحال شركة الخليج للخدمات المنزلية شركة تنظيف منازل بالطائف
شركة تنظيف فلل بالطائف
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالطائف
شركة تسليك مجارى بالطائف
شركة رش مبيدات بالطائف
شركة مكافحة نمل ابيض بالطائف
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالطائف
شركة عزل اسطح بالطائف
شركة عزل خزانات بالطائف

Amany Said said...

تعمل شركة اللمسه في مكافحة الحشرات مثل النمل والصراصير وجميع انواع الحشرات بأبها الان ، وتعتبر شركة اللمسه من اشهر شركات مكافحة الحشرات في السعودية , لدينا عمالة مدربة ومتخصصة المواد المستخدمة فى مكافحة الحشرات غير ضارة على الانسان وليس لها روائح نعمل بدون مغادرة المنزل نعمل على راحة عملائنا .
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بنجران
شركة رش مبيدات بالخرج
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالخرج
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخرج
شركة رش مبيدات بأبها
شركة مكافحة حشرات بأبها
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بأبها
شركة رش مبيدات بنجران
شركة مكافحة حشرات بنجران
شركة رش مبيدات بالعينه


Local Packers And Movers Bangalore said...


Awesome work you have done here, I am very happy to read this nice post. You are a great writer and give us much information Local Packers And Movers Bangalore

Packers And Movers Mumbai said...

Enjoyed every bit of your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool. @ Packers And Movers Mumbai

Packers And Movers Bandra Mumbai
Packers And Movers Bangur Nagar Mumbai
Packers And Movers Barve Nagar Mumbai
Packers And Movers Bhandup Mumbai
Packers And Movers Bhavani Shankar Road Mumbai

Packers And Movers Delhi said...

Get Shifting/Relocation Quotation from ###Packers and Movers Delhi. Packers and Movers Delhi 100% Affordable and Reliable ***Household Shifting Services. Compare Transportation Charges and Save Time, Verified and Trusted Packers and Movers in Delhi, Cheap and Safe Local, Domestic House Shifting @
Packers And Movers Delhi

Packers And Movers Gurgaon said...

Packers and Movers Gurgaon Provide Reliable, Safe and Certified Service Provider list, Get Free ***Best Price Quotaition and Compare Charges. ???Hassle free Household Shifting Services, High Quality packing Material, Office Relocation, Car Transportaion, ###Local and Domestic Shifting Service @
Packers And Movers Gurgaon

Packers And Movers Bangalore said...

Packers and Movers Marathahalli Bangalore
Packers and Movers Indiranagar Bangalore
Packers And Movers Bagalkot
Packers And Movers Belgaum
Packers And Movers Hassan

Packers And Movers Gurgaon said...

This is really a pleasant and useful, containing all data furthermore greatly affect the new innovation. Much obliged for sharing it @
Packers And Movers Gurgaon
Packers And Movers Gurgaon to Bangalore
Packers And Movers Gurgaon to Ahmedabad
Packers And Movers Gurgaon to Jaipur

Packers And Movers Bangalore said...

Packers and Movers Bangalore - Reliable and Verified Household Shifting Service Providers Give Reasonable ###Packers and Movers Charges. Cheap and Best Office Relocation Compare Quotation for Assurance for Local and Domestic House Shifting and Get estimates today to save upto 20%, ***Read Customer Reviews - @ Local Packers And Movers Bangalore

Packers And Movers Pune said...

We Provide Local Packers And Movers Pune List for Get Best Price Quotes, Compare Charges, Save Money And Time, Top Household Shifting Services @ Packers And Movers Pune

Packers and movers Ahmedabad said...

Packers and Movers Ahmedabad list, Cheap Packers Movers Ahmedabad Charges, Local, Affordable Household Shifting Ahmedabad @ Packers and Movers Ahmedabad

Packers and movers Ahmedabad said...

Packers and Movers Ahmedabad - We Provide ***Best Service Providers, Safe, Reliable, Affordable, Trusted ###Movers and Packers in Ahmedabad List, Household Shifting, Office Relocation: Choose Top Verified Packers and Movers Ahmedabad Compare ???Shifting Service Chrages, Price Quotation, Rate List Charts and Save Money and Time @ Packers and Movers Ahmedabad

Packers And Movers Bangalore said...

Packers and Movers Bangalore as a Services providing company can make all the difference to your ###Home Relocation experience. Bangalore based Company which offers versatile solutions, Right team that easily reduce the stress associated with a ???Household Shifting, ***Vehicle Transportation. we help things run smoothly and reduce breakages and offer you seamless, Affordable, Reliable Shifting Services, Compare Shifting Charges. @ Packers And Movers Bangalore