Here’s something interesting: yet again research seems to support my original conjecture.
I have long held that before sending an email with a joke in it (or a sarcastic comment, or a pun, or similar) you should always read the email to yourself out loud.
Now research seems to be supporting me in this.
According to research by Prof. Justin Kruger at Illinois’s Urbana-Champaign, and shortly to be printed up in the JPSP, we overestimate that our audience will find our witty bon-mot as equally delightful as we do.
Kruger suggests we can counter this “everyday egocentrism” (the natural tendency to see things from our own perspective) by reading aloud, in a dead-pan voice, the email we are about to send, or at least in a tone inconsistent with the intended message.
Kruger found that by forcing participants to read aloud their message first, a lot of overconfidence disappeared.
Source: Kruger, J., Epley, N., Parker, J., & Ng, Z. (in press). Egocentrism over e-mail: Can people communicate as well as they think? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology