About E-mail


Dave Naylor

| 3 minutes

Categories: Nerd

About E-mail

E-mail should be easy but, in my opinion, 99% of people get it wrong


I’m going to write few posts about e-mail. This is the first one by way of introduction.

It’s highly likely that I don’t do e-mail like you. It might be more appropriate to say that most people don’t do e-mail like me. So what’s all that about then?

We probably have to go back to the early ’90s — a time when I really embraced computers. I bought a Commodore Amiga A500+ for the express purpose of using it to create titles for video productions. Get me!

It didn’t take long for the video production to take a back seat because I was having way more fun with my new computer. We’re talking 2Mb ram and floppy disks here.

Zoom forward a few years and I discovered the wonders of modems and networks. Oooooh lovely.

BBSs and Fidonet

I started using Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) and then Fidonet.

I eventually became the SysOp of a popular BBS and a Fidonet Hub, I was that into it.

Wikipedia describes Fidonet as:

…a store-and-forward system to exchange private (email) and public (forum) messages between the BBSes in the network, as well as other files and protocols in some cases.

Messages on the network were strictly moderated and had to conform to a set of standards in both content and construction. Get it wrong and you endured the wrath of a moderator.

It’s this environment that taught me, ingrained in me, a correct method of written electronic communication. A way that people could exchange messages in an agreed format that cut out the crap and made for ease of reading.

This was at a time when your average person didn’t have a computer and had no idea what was about to explode in years to come.

Public Internet Adoption

Whoosh forward some more years and dial-up internet becomes an affordable commodity. Everyone wants to get on-line — it’s the future and why not.

Nip down to Curry’s, buy a cheap PC running some version of Windows and off you go.

This is where the utter clusterfuck of modern-day e-mail misuse began. The unwashed masses entered the fray and it was a gloves-off free-for-all. It’s like a seventeen-year-old gets the keys to a sports-car on their birthday and they just set off up the M1 at rush hour. Chaos ensues.

To come

I’m going to write some posts about the problems with modern e-mail use. Some e-mail (ab)users may disagree with me, but trust me, they’re wrong.

I’m going to start with quoting. Oh boy, it’s a minefield.

*I predominately use NeoMutt as my e-mail client. Hence the dog in the post header pic. A genuine mutt.
*Photo by Mia Anderson on Unsplash


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