So the background to this story is that I was going to apply for a position at another institution (and still may at yet another one — not that I'm looking to leave where I am but because there are a couple positions out there that look interesting and so why not just test the waters?). I had begun filling out the HR on-line documents and when I returned to upload my cv, the job had disappeared from the HR site. Confused, but thinking that it had been exactly 2 weeks since the job had been posted, I emailed the Vice Provost in charge of the search. I got a nice little note back saying that they had gotten so many qualified applicants that they decided to stop accepting applications. Now, of course this is odd and I'm guessing they have an inside candidate, but that's neither here nor there.
Here's the relevant part of the story: I emailed back, thanking her for the information and noting that next time I'll have to act more quickly. Not a big deal email, certainly not effusive in any sense, but I, very quickly, got a response from her thanking me for being so kind and understanding and noting that not everyone has responded this way. Okay, seriously? Did other people really respond by ranting and raving? Of course, this is rhetorical because I know that they do. From a purely self-interested perspective how does such a response accomplish anything beyond making the ranter/raver feel good? It's not like the folks in charge of the search are going to say "oh my gosh, you are right, please, please send in your application." And from a pure decency to other human being perspective, why take the time and energy to be unkind to someone else? Really? What does it accomplish? Why not be just minimally decent and say nothing or be ever so slightly decent and thank the person for responding (which they really didn't need to do)?