[linux-elitists] email elitims

Don Marti dmarti at zgp.org
Fri Sep 18 07:11:33 PDT 2009

begin Eugen Leitl quotation of Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 02:44:48PM +0200:

> I'm sure most of you are dealing with a surge in naive
> or recalcitrant email users, which use top-posting, excessive
> citation, HTML-only posts, or all of the above. 

Most people don't bother to choose, customize, and
learn a good mail client.  Since the average sender
can't expect the average recipient to be able to find
a previous message in a thread, the "Executive" email
style just re-sends the entire thread.  The correct
style (trim quotes, preserve attribution, add new
content after quoted material) _assumes_ that the
recipient can use a mailer and has IMAP set up to
allow local access to mail.  (Going back over the
network to re-read a thread would be no fun.)

There's also IT cultural tension between always-online
IT staff at the office and often-offline executives
and power users.  Executive email style is partly an
end-user response to Bad IT.

The problem is that most people will need to
handle mail in both styles.  Clients, customers,
and employers will end up replying to you in
Executive style, and you have to use correct style
for communicating with others.

We don't have the problem of Executive mail on this
list because of the X-Mailer/User-Agent filters.
Anyone whose mail gets through here has already
made a choice not to use webmail or the Mandatory
Corporate Mail Client, which means that the person
cares about email.

One approach might be to filter out, maybe not all
proprietary mailers, but at least any easy-signup
webmail systems and any mailer that comes preinstalled
on a computer with a proprietary OS or is part of a
site-licensed "groupware" product.  (For a while,
the comp.os.linux.* newsgroups were surprisingly
readable if you just killfiled all newsreaders that
weren't available for Linux.)

Another rule to put in for mailing lists is a tight
limit on total length.  The longest properly formatted
message on l-e is 11k (with GPG signature) but
improperly trimmed mail could blow the limit quickly.

(Much of the stuff that people use email for
inside companies should probably be in some kind
of ticketing system anyway.  Anyone tried SD --
http://syncwith.us/sd/ -- yet? )

Don Marti                                 +1 510-332-1587 mobile
dmarti at zgp.org

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