Regardless of whether it's rude, it is very common. Messaging someone online isn't the same as asking someone out in person, most obviously because rejecting someone in person by staring at them blankly would probably convey "mildly autistic" or "audio visual artist," rather than "not interested." On the innertubes, it's perfectly acceptable to not reply at all, ever, to people you aren't interested in communicating with. Evading creepy or unwanted suitors is easier than ever in the digital realm. Go team!
While we're on the subject, dating isn't about politeness. Straight women take note. You don't owe an explanation to every Tom's Harry Dick who expresses an iota of interest in you online. This is especially true if the message is a f*ck me form letter or anything blatantly sexual. Think of it this way: When a guy yells at you from a moving vehicle, would you shout back, "Thank you, but I have other plans tonight"? No you would not. This isn't to say you should be an asshole, or respond to inquiries with, "In your dreams, quack paddle!" It is to say, stop worrying about being nice and start worrying about your own interests. Online dating is a woman's turf. If you don't want to reply, then don't. If you feel like the guy in question deserves a line or two of explanation, then send that. But you should never feel guilty or inconsiderate for not being interested.Some people respond to most/all messages because they want to keep their little profile dot green, which means "replies frequently," which can influence your odds of receiving new messages. To me, it seems kind of condescending to get someone's hopes up, (Ooh, a new message from that person who also loves string cheese and Battlestar Galactica!) only to find out he or she has written the equivalent of a pity clap. "You seem terrific. I would love it if you never messaged me again."
Online dating is labor-intensive enough without adding any more unnecessary pretenses. Consider the occasional nonreply as your reward for having to deflect every waxed-chest guy at the bar who asks if you have your "one-eyed snake permit."
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