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New Tool Shows Would-Be Emailers If You're Swamped

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the my-dad-has-400k-messages-in-his-inbox dept.

Google 82

alphadogg writes "A Georgia Tech researcher is taking aim at email overload with a new tool that shows people thinking about messaging you just how swamped your Gmail account is, in real time. Assistant Professor of Computing Eric Gilbert's research project, taking the form of the freely available '' service, which does require you to allow access to your email account (initially the service only works with Gmail). ' helps manage expectations and lets people choose to send mail when it's best for you,' he says." This sounds like an ugly thing to game, though -- it seems like a good way to keep score in a mailbombing.

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AC is a cunt. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36359562)

AC is a cunt.

Re:AC is a cunt. (-1, Troll)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359582)

Then, fuck 'er.

How Many Ways Can This Be Used (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359568)

In way that were unintended?

I think not...

Re:How Many Ways Can This Be Used (1)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359598)

I though spamers would like this, but they have to either hack their way into the database or recieve a mail from you with your link.

Re:How Many Ways Can This Be Used (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359658)

Oh. Look who isn't home.

Re:How Many Ways Can This Be Used (1)

JMJimmy (2036122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359638)

Seriously, I'd rather have a comprehensive email stats system that could help me isolate exactly who's wasting my time with pointless emails.

Re:How Many Ways Can This Be Used (4, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360444)

Hey, you're only being asked to open your email account to a domain registered in Libya, it's not like anything bad could happen...
crap, I think I broke my own sarcasm meter.

Re:How Many Ways Can This Be Used (1)

felipekk (1007591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36366010)

I'd propose v2 for this system:

Instead of telling people how busy my inbox is, why not give them full access? This way maybe they will see how busy I am and may even help me by responding some of those annoying emails from David Thorne...

Re:How Many Ways Can This Be Used (1)

xystren (522982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36361628)

Have we come this far where we need a services to tell people that email us that we are being swamped with email? Have we becomes such an instant now society we just can't exercise some patience and god forbid, wait for it?

Come on people, is this really necessary? Anyone considered the concerns with supplying a 3rd party with access to your email? I bet you spammer would love to get hold of that information.

Not an option I would even considered, let alone supply a password for.

No, please. No. (5, Insightful)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359578)

The beauty of email is you can determine when to reply to a message or send correspondence. Compared to talking on the phone, email is less stressful, especially if you are doing support.

This tool would make it where people could say, "Why haven't you responded to me? You don't look like you have a lot of other emails coming in so I am sure you read my message".

I do not know if I am alone, but I refuse to ever let my email client send those email-has-been-read notifiers to let the sender know I got the email. People do not know if you got their letter/bill/request/mailer in your postal mail box, and people do not know if you have listened to your voicemail or how full your voicemail box. Why the heck should I give them insight into my email inbox?!

Re:No, please. No. (5, Insightful)

tgl (462237) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359654)

Yup, my reaction exactly. Whoever wrote this tool completely failed to get email. It's not IM, and that is not a bug.

Re:No, please. No. (4, Interesting)

ccabanne (1063778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360068)

Exactly, it is a feature of email. I've suggest adopting slow email; eventually people will expect to get a well thought out reply from you within 24 or 48 hours --- []

Re:No, please. No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363332)

I've suggest adopting slow email

I started doing this at work.

I check my e-mail three times a day: after lunch; before I go home, so that I may plan for tomorrow; and, since I frequently work staggered hours, when I come in to work, in case something new came in while I was off. I answer my e-mail only twice a day: at the beginning of work, and after lunch. Short questions get answered immediately, answers that will take longer (either because the answer is more involved, or because my queue is overflowing) get an estimate of when I will answer (even if it is just “I can’t even begin to look at this until Thursday”). Everyone gets a maximum 4 (working) hour turn-around.

I realize that not everyone is in a position to implement such a scheme, but for me it has resulted in a huge productivity improvement. As an added bonus, client satisfaction has also increased noticeably.

Re:No, please. No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36366096)

I guess everyone's perception of slow is relative. I check email about twice a week, but I tell people in my signature that I only check once a week and to expect replies to take up to 14 days. I do this to set their expectations. Responding within 24-48 hours seems lightning fast to me.

Re:No, please. No. (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359754)

I'm inclined to agree. The key reason I want people to email me is it gives me a chance to craft a response. That's actually in their own best interests, too.

Re:No, please. No. (0)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359844)

Sidenote: Voicemail can somewhat tell people how full your voicemail is, by whether it's ABSOLUTELY full or not (which is my preferred voicemail status, if I'm not able to set up call forwarding to my own LRN).

But yes, Read-receipts are a pain, and I never let my mail client send them. Usually the people who want to know if I've read their message are the ones (in my experience) who are just wanting to be sure I've read their bullshit excuses for not doing their job, and want to continue not doing their job even though I've spelled out for them what steps they need to take. Such is the life of the customer-facing group versus the non-customer-facing asshats.

Re:No, please. No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36360058)

Sidenote: Voicemail can somewhat tell people how full your voicemail is, by whether it's ABSOLUTELY full or not (which is my preferred voicemail status, if I'm not able to set up call forwarding to my own LRN).

Email does this too - if your mailbox is full your mail server will send an error message back to the sender's server, who can then retry a few times before giving up and passing the error on to you.

Re:No, please. No. (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360198)

Where I work, read receipts are from grad students that think the world hinges on their research and expect immediate service (despite the fact that by policy, research requests are 5th priority). They expect as soon as someone has read their e-mail they should have a reply in minutes, and if they don't they'll come down and whine. As such, no returns ever.

People, grad students in particular, are not very good at understanding the idea that you may have more than one thing to do and can't get to their thing right away.

Re:No, please. No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363032)

well, it is sort of true, depending on how you see a thing..

you are eompolyed, you said so yourself, you have more than one thing to do. yet a good part of your employment has been creating these grads.

naturally their world is hinged on getting their research funded, if anyone else shares this view is academic :)

this may seem a bit too sentimental, but are you surprised that after teaching these people how to research, that you are part of their world, and assume you will help them?

the real world is more like, you paid your tuition, consider yourself lucky you even have a diploma--many don't, now GTFO--there is obviously nothing I can stea--err Hn^hn^hn^ use from your research, so what could you possibly offer me?

getting to close to the mark in your research publish or perish world?

No kidding (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360154)

All this would do is lead to people expecting a response as soon as their e-mail was read and/or when your box showed no e-mails waiting and them getting angry when they don't get it.

People tend to have an attitude of "My problem is the most important in the world," and "If you aren't doing something RIGHT NOW that looks really important you should be working on it." Something like this would only make that tendency worse. I'd have people coming down saying "Why haven't you responded to my e-mail, the thing shows you have no unread messages," as though when I click a message I am able to drop everything and immediately respond.

As you say, the brilliance of e-mail is that it is non-realtime. You send a message, I send back a response when I can. All things like this would do is encourage people to think of e-mail as something that should demand a response at once.

Also all this would really do is encourage me to not open e-mail until I think I am ready to deal with them. It would be in my interests to keep my backlog "full" so that people would leave me alone and allow me to solve problems. Fine, but that means I can't read what it coming in and prioritize. Right now I can see something and say "This is important, and easy to solve, so I should shelve what I'm doing and go take care of it." I wouldn't be able to do that if I had to keep messages unread just so people weren't harassing me to do things since I "wasn't busy."

Personally I try to keep my inbox with no unread messages, because all unread messages means is I don't know about something. However that doesn't relate to my workload at all. Some days, 40 messages could come in all for areas I don't deal with so even if all 40 were unread I could very well be available for immediate action if needed. Others (like today) something critical is down and I'm spending all day working on it so even though I'm reading e-mail, I can't go and help with anything else.

Re:No kidding (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360288)

Also all this would really do is encourage me to not open e-mail until I think I am ready to deal with them.

Or write a tool that would generate a few dozen emails to apparently fill up your mailbox when you wanted to get someone off your back. Or just subscribe to a bunch of mailing lists.

Re:No kidding (2)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360522)

Fine, but that means I can't read what it coming in and prioritize. Right now I can see something and say "This is important, and easy to solve, so I should shelve what I'm doing and go take care of it."

Perhaps you and your clients/customers/peers have e-mail confused with bug tracking or other CRM software. This is an altogether different problem.

I wouldn't be able to do that if I had to keep messages unread just so people weren't harassing me to do things since I "wasn't busy."

This is where you need to put people in their place. However, I can sympathize. More often than not people are starting to use e-mail as if it were tweets/ status posts, which amounts to an overflowing inbox. Every now and then they can use a good scolding for sending too much e-mail. If they are new web socialites using FB and Twitter, perhaps you can suggest to them that you will look at their streams for updates (and never follow up on that suggestion because you know that its a complete waste of time).

Others (like today) something critical is down and I'm spending all day working on it so even though I'm reading e-mail, I can't go and help with anything else.

Especially when they require a detailed response and your response back was tl;dr.

Re:Too much email? (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360750)

Hmm, there isn't exactly too much email, it's about what people expect of different type of email.

Gmail(&others) has "mark as read", so we have escaped read receipts because that isn't even correlated to if the email has even been read. I let people send me whatever they want. Half the time I crusade about not getting enough info since I am on lead for documenting stuff. So send me stuff! It's easy to just park it as "document later."

As for the status, I will encourage people to use the Gmail (or other?) Chat Status as their dynamic status marker. Put anything you want there! Baseball results, coordinate pizza parties, monday blues. That means it doesn't send an email as a "status".

Re:No kidding (2)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#36361240)

If you ever use this service, you may want to consider looking at the email, marking it unread if you don't have time for it, and only allowing the email to be marked "read" while you are working on it.

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363486)

looking at the email, marking it unread if you don't have time for it

Then you have to have some mechanism for differentiating between e-mail you have marked unread because you are not ready to work on it yet, and e-mail that is really unread.

You would be implementing a fix to fix a fix that solved a non-existant problem. Why? Just don’t use such a service in the first place.

Re:No kidding (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363268)

Exactly. But it seems people have got it in their little heads that store-and-forward mechanisms (basically anything non-IM) is immediate. Probably started around the time people got the idea that texting and twitter were another form of IM. Or facebook messaging.

No, they aren't, and I don't respond immediately. Getting angry at me because you emailed/twittered/IM'd/texted me about an emergency isn't likely to make me respond any faster. If you really need me this instant, there's a phone, or walk over to me. Maybe IM, if I'm actively responding to it, if not, I may not see or attend to it.

Chances are, I may see your request and ignore it simply because it's not relevant at this point in time nor does it seem urgent to me (your lack of planning does not consitute an emergency on my part) and I'll get back to it later. Especially since I may be busy with other things - if it's that important there are many other ways to reach me and express its importance. Taking the time to pick up the phone is one, as is trying to actually physically find me.

If I'm stll not reachable, well, I'm probably doing something and enjoying my unreachability. There are very few true emergencies in life where an immediate response is required, and if it's one of those, there are many ways to reach me still. E.g., if I'm driving, call the police who can stop me and inform me of the situation. Even some emergencies that you're helpless to fix (e.g., overseas relative died) can certainly wait until I'm reachable again - there's nothing I can do and getting to the airport a couple of hours earlier isn't going to help.

It's the only way to cope.

Re:No, please. No. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360184)

The beauty of this tool is that I could probably somehow feed it bad data indicating I'm pretty much swamped with e-mails every single second of every single day of my life.

Re:No, please. No. (2)

TWX (665546) | more than 3 years ago | (#36361650)

That's what it would do for me- I do not have good e-mail sorting or reading practices. I have about 1600 unread messages that I'll probably never, ever get to.

Come to think of it, we use gmail at work too. If they ever start handing out work via email, maybe I should use a system like this...

Re:No, please. No. (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360570)

I have felt this way about presence technology in general. There may be some applications for it for some people. Very few of us though are doing day to day stuff that is so urgent we can't be interrupted to take care of an emergency. If there is a problem with a major application, page me and I will come running out of my meeting. You don't need to be reading my calendar to find out exactly where I am.

Want to converse, send an e-mail. I will see it pop up, if I feel I can be interrupted I'll reply if not I'll reply later. It should not matter to you if I am on the phone or just thinking through some program logic and don't want to task switch.

All of this type of stuff really just leads to hurt feels for senders and stress for recipients. Recipients feel pressured to react to everything because their "presence" information implies they can, and makes it more difficult to tell little white lies like "I was totally swamped support calls and that's why I could not get back to you right away about the X project."

Re:No, please. No. (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#36361724)

+1 Insightful. There is just no need for anyone to know what I'm doing every minute of every day. What's important is that I'm available when needed, accountable, and the work gets done as scheduled.

Re:No, please. No. (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362280)

. There is just no need for anyone to know what I'm doing every minute of every day.

There is a clear need for this from the world marketing departments and sadly they are currently ruling the corporate world...

It almost makes sense. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362296)

If I were actually fairly busy, I'd love to have this sort of thing available to the family members who forward me crap. Funny stuff, interesting stuff, but really just pointless, time-wasting stuff. I'm really tempted to make a policy that if you don't have anything useful to add to the forwarded message, it gets flagged as spam -- I care what you have to say, but I don't care about the funny cat video you found.

I have to imagine that people would think twice before sending me People of Wall-Mart (with all the images attached to the email, naturally, rather than just fucking linking to it) if they knew my inbox had a few thousand unread messages.

But even this use would backfire in about the same way -- as soon as I actually get my inbox cleared, I can expect a hundred new useless messages from people who were waiting for the best time to send low-priority crap. And I tend to send email-has-been-read notifiers, but conditionally.

The whole point of email over IM or chat is that it's asynchronous. Not that you couldn't have all of them be asynchronous, which is one reason I was excited about Wave -- you could have the discussion be exactly as synchronous as it needed to be. Still, there's IM, phones, and finding me in person for when you need an answer RIGHT NOW -- but don't abuse it; the phone is on vibrate specifically to allow me to ignore a call if I don't feel like it's urgent. Email gets answered in the same way that tickets get closed -- as a break from other work, or when I run out of things to do, or during some time I've deliberately set aside for that.

Fine print (4, Informative)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359592) []

Investigators: Eric Gilbert, Ph.D.
Protocol and Consent Title: H11133
You are being asked to be a volunteer in a research study.

The purpose of this study is to understand if exposing hidden aspects of social media makes the media better. We also want to investigate whether makes an impact on the overall amount of email participants receive. We will enroll as many people as come to our site in this study. In addition to providing a useful tool, we also may contact participants for future email studies. Whether you choose to participate in a future study is up to you at that time. By default, you will be opted out of future studies. Your future decision will not affect your use of now.

Participants in this study must have a Gmail account and must be 18 years or older to participate.

If you choose to give access to your Gmail account, the application will compute a measure of your email load. It does this by counting the number of messages in your email folders. The values for your email load can only be "light," "normal," or "high." will generate a unique url for you to put in your email signature. The intent of the custom url is for your email contacts to be able to see your real-time email load. The sign-up and configuration process should take you about 10 minutes.

Re:Fine print (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359798)

Yeah, this is not the right concept for email.
It actually takes away from what email was designed for. As someone else pointed out, it is not a phone call, but a faster way to received a message (instead of snail mail) and queued as such.

Now that this is pointed out, it looks more like they are wanting hard facts of how many emails people get on a minute, hour, daily basis for some other reason.

Re:Fine print (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362310)

Sounds like the sort of study I'd love to read about, later, but I'd hate to participate in.

tool for attackers (2)

IZN0GUD (804758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359600)

this tool is enabler - any potential attacker would be easily able to establish patterns of one's behaviour and than use the opportunity when one is not e-present to impose and take time to work through all logins and whatnot one has.

Well, we do need ways to manage email ... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359668)

This isn't the right thing for me, because I don't receive very much email. Yet I am tremendously pleased that they are looking for ways to prioritize email that puts the sender in the loop, because I've run into far too many situations where something gets lost because I'm not prepared to deal with it at the moment. (Example: I don't do personal email while at work and I don't deal with work email at home, so don't send ask for an appointment at 6 pm expecting a reply before you go to bed.)

Yes there are filters and there is communicating expectations to friends/colleagues. But the former doesn't allow for the sender to use their discretion and automated email systems have no way of knowing when is a good time of day to tell me that my library books are overdue or send the receipt for my latest purchase.

Is an immediate reply expected? (2)

slinches (1540051) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359692)

Do people expect immediate replies to emails? I've always understood it to be for time-insensitive matters and any time I need a quick answer I call or IM/text If I can't talk to them in person.

I could see this service being useful in managing expectations of when a response will be sent. Although, I think it would only be good for when you're sending emails that need a timely reply to people you only communicate with through email. That situation doesn't seem to be all that common in my experience.

Re:Is an immediate reply expected? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363876)

Do people expect immediate replies to emails?

Unfortunately, I once had a boss who did. I was expected to answer his e-mails promptly. I was formally reprimanded for not answering his e-mails quickly enough, even though I repeatedly pointed out to him, and to Human Resources that in order to perform my defined duties I was frequently not in my office to receive e-mail. (I was not given a work-supplied pager/e-mail device, and I was damned if I would use my own personal equipment for such idiocy.) I also repeatedly asked both my boss and Human Resources for a definition of “promptly” without ever receiving an answer. (How is it that I was reprimanded for not performing to expectations when no expectations were set?)

That boss was also a flaming hypocrite. To be able to defend myself, I went back over all of our e-mail correspondence. To most of his e-mails I responded within one to two (working) hours. All but one of my responses was within three and a half hours. One was within four hours.

None of his e-mail responses to me was sent in less than four hours. The vast majority of his replies took more than a working day. Some took more than two days. Some of my very specific questions of him were never answered at all. But I was reprimanded.

Thankfully, I don”t work for that boss anymore.

"require you to allow access to your email" (4, Insightful)

farnsworth (558449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359698)

I am kind of astounded at how easily people give away access to their email accounts, no matter how harmless the intent of the email is. I got swamped by invites from facebook when several of my friends gave it access to their address books. Now that's just annoying, but is this guy's security up to the same level as gmail's? I tend to doubt it...

As an aside, what the hell happened to slashdot? A couple days ago it was its usual tolerable self, but now I have the most garish ads for Adobe authoring tools and groupon and nonsensical cloud virtualization things, and it's slow as hell. I am happy to co-exist with ads if they pay the bills, but these ads kind of ruin everything. Is slashdot on its last legs?

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (2)

FunkSoulBrother (140893) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359728)

You're browsing the web without Adblock Plus? I'm nonplussed! You're nonplussed!

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359790)

If you're browsing without adblock, you're encouraging that sort of ad-based-revenue driven escalation of advertising intrusiveness.

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (1)

farnsworth (558449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359834)

If you're browsing without adblock, you're encouraging that sort of ad-based-revenue driven escalation of advertising intrusiveness.

I disagree. I don't mind ads, mostly. But am I ever going to buy Framemaker? Am I ever going to use Groupon? Am I ever going to deploy IBM's application virtualization infrastructure to my cloud? No. The problem is that this ad network sucks, in almost every dimension. I'm pretty sure that this is the worst ad network that I see on regular basis. (OK, maybe Conde Naste's "let's cover the entire page of our own content with an ad" is worse, but not by much. At least it's just one click to get rid of it.) It seems painfully obvious to me, but I'll say it out loud -- If your ads make your content worse, accepting them is a bad move. Find another way.

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36359848)

hmm. your first sentence made me think that this might be a different experiment in disguise.

give people harmless but maybe useful reason to share private email account, see how many fall for it, write report about idiots sharing their private data too easily! :-O

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (2)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359960)

I got swamped by invites from facebook when several of my friends gave it access to their address books.

You think that's bad? I'm a member of a mailing list doing community support for my favorite Linux distro. Within the last month, two different twits signed up for some social networking site I'd never heard of (a different one each time, naturally) and without thinking gave the site complete access to their address book. How do I know? I know because each site sent an invite to the list using said twit's email address. Now, multiply that by the number of mailing lists each twit was on and see how many people that added up to.

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (2)

freedumb2000 (966222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360398)

I noticed something else today. I used to be able to check a checkbox to disable ads for my worthwhile "contributions", that has now disappeared. On another note, I am also noticing that there apparently are a lot less mod points going around lately. A lot of useless comments never get moded down and worthwhile comments linger at 1 forever. I used to get mod points continuously, I haven't gotten any in months now. Not that I need to be a mod, but it seems like the system is not working as well well as it used to.

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (1)

snotclot (836055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360430)

l browse the site every day and read the comments for, on average, 1/10 of articles; l didn't get mod points for like 2 years but last week l suddenly did. weird!

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362406)

You need to post regularly in order to get modpoints. But there are plenty of weird behaviors (I posted for 2 years before I got my first ever modpoints, but that was way back). With one message a day, one reaching +5 every week or so on average, I get modpoints once or twice a month.

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360854)

Yes, I'd noticed the lack of disabled adverts also.

My only gripe about mod points is that the system always seems to give them to me on a FRIDAY! I don't read Slashdot on weekends, dammit! I only read it when I'm at work!

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36361430)

Disabling adverts is (was?) a stupid feature. We can all do it with adblock, and I imagine most of us do. It still doesn't let you get rid of the sidebar, so you still need to use a user script for that, which will also conveniently block any ads there even if you aren't using adblock plus. The only place I am using such a script I am also using adblock plus — it is on a netbook where I simply have no room for it, and Slashdot's crap layout mangles on a narrow display.

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36361894)

I don't run AdBlock. Ads are annoying, but I feel bad if I disable them on an ad-supported site. It feels like a nice way to strangle sites I like if I do.

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362952)

Then sites need to do a better job picking their advertising partners. Tired of the useless, insulting, and downright hostile advertising, though much of that last sentence is redundant... Ads are bad. I wouldn't click or buy through them anyway so it's not like they're missing much.

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36360862)

                                              Version 3, 29 June 2007

  Copyright (C) 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc. <>
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                        How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs

    If you develop a new program, and you want it to be of the greatest
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Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.

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The hypothetical commands `show w' and `show c' should show the appropriate
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For more information on this, and how to apply and follow the GNU GPL, see

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the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Lesser General
Public License instead of this License. But first, please read

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362274)

Your karma has probably dropped. Or you were borderline before and now the parameters have changed slightly (and you are now excluded). Given the rash of sudden comments about it, I suspect that these parameters are set manually instead of being slowly adjusted in some automatic fashion.

I get mod points every few days and still have the disable ads checkbox available.

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (0)

Hermanas (1665329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360814)

To answer your question "Is slashdot on its last legs?":

Yes. Yes, it is.

I checked the other day, and Slashdot seems to be going the way of VB6... Google Correlate [] .

Re:"require you to allow access to your email" (2)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362000)

From the site's FAQ,

We would love to work with every email account in the world. But we don't want to store passwords. That's what it comes down to. Gmail has an infrastructure that allows to work without ever knowing or storing anybody's password.

I dunno how it works, but security may not be that big a deal.

Best not do that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362562)

Especially if you live in Tenn.


Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36359780)

CheckPoint ?? FarPoint ?? WayPoint ??

The old form... (1, Funny)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359792)

Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante (x) social

approach to [controlling your inbox]. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work.

(One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may
have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal
law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
(x) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
(x) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
(x) Microsoft will not put up with it
(x) Google will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
(x) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(x) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(x) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
(x) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of spam
(x) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(x) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
(x) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
(x) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
(x) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
(x) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
(x) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
(x) I don't want the [university] reading my email
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Re:The old form... (0)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359846)



Re:The old form... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359868)

(x) Microsoft will not put up with it
(x) Google will not put up with it

Wanna bet they actually will? Most probable, implementing it on their own?

Motivation: both of them want a chunk of "social media" (to the level of desperation of Google conditioning [] the employee bonuses on social media success) .
After all, a "real friend" needs to now how busy you are to protect your time, Google will provide you with the service and allow you to control the list of real friends. I think they'll even go a step further and tell the "friend" how many of your unread emails are important or just unpaid bills notifications: this is why you have friends, isn't it?

Re:The old form... (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359880)

Thank god I set my beer down before getting this far down in the comment thread, or my monitor would have required the attention of some Lysol wipes.

Deadly Boss Mod? (2)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359856)

So do the busy messages go something like this?
dbIII@email.address is with busy meeting HR 12/20 still employed 12%

Dabangg' achievements (1)

jeff.thomes86 (2213146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359864)

The 'Dabangg' achievements have resulted in supplementary break and get together in her roles. In 'Kick' her subsequently with her mentor Salman, the good-looking lass will be like much more display space. Yeah, there's absolutely much supplementary scope for me in 'Kick' than 'Dabangg'. And I am disappearing to construct the best of it," says the ecstatic Sonakshi.

Privacy (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359876)

The only people with whom I would comfortably share the status of my inbox are people I know and like well enough to prioritize their messages over others, and are too few to swamp my inbox by themselves.

And even then, I like controlling how soon an answer is expected from me. The whole point of email over IM, to me, is to have time to form a response or even get other stuff out of the way before reading it.

Awesome... (2)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359888)

So anyone who is "courteous" will see that I have "high" number of unread emails and make the decision not to email me. People who aren't "courteous" either won't look, or won't care and just go ahead and send me email. Given that it's the "courteous" people with whom I most want to have contact, this is a sure-fire way to make email worse.

The best thing about email is that it's possible to let it sit unread until such a time when you can deal with it. What does this guy think will happen? My parents see I have a lot of unread email and decide not to email me, they then periodically check over the next month, but my unread messages never drop below "high" because they only ever check at a certain time of day and I only ever clear out my unread messages at a certain time of day. He wants to create a bastard chimera that has the worst parts of instant messaging and email.

Even Better (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359946)

Here's my idea -- "A new tool that helps to bypass swamped email accounts, by immediately presenting the message to the recipient in a pop-up box. The service does require you to install a small local client which provides instant access to messages. Helps cut down on clogged email boxes; if you don't have time for the message, close the popup and it goes away forever."

Sounds great!

Improved Invasive infomercials? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36359982)

Was I the only one who read the headline as:
New Tool-Shows Would Be Emailers If You're Swamped
and thought the submission was about Internet connected set-top boxes allowing Power-tool infomercials to detect if you're already buried under a ton of messages and then send you a few more emails hoping that you'll click them accidentally?

(Kind of like how Google ads can be camouflaged to look like part of the site's content to snag a few accidental clicks...)

Nighttime... daytime (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360078)

My inbox has a few peaks in traffic depending on who's awake in what timezone, but the average busy time is roughly 2am-7pm monday-friday in my local timezone. If you find a quiet time to email me the chances are it's when i'm asleep or otherwise not at the computer. When I get back to the computer again i'll have your email + half a day's worth of other email waiting for me.

Just because you emailed me in a quiet time doesn't mean i'm attending to my email during that time (even if it happens to be in the middle of a sunday afternoon), and doesn't mean that when I get back to my email that yours won't be one of a thousand waiting for me.

To successfully negotiate the above would require the service knowing when i'm attending to my emails, not just when i'm receiving them. That's more information than I'd like to be known by some remote entity that has access to my mailbox.

Not really a help (1)

southlander (1130379) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360176)

Most people either keep clean inboxes or messy ones. So if you are one that always has hundreds of emails in your inbox it will perpetually show you are "swamped".

Re:Not really a help (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360210)

It would be a lot cleaner if google supported Hierarchical imap folders in gmail, but they don't. I guess it's the old you get what you pay for.

Besides the obvious malicous ways it can be used.. (1)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360206)

I don't think this algoritm would give a good insight in how I use email myself.
I subscribe to quite a few newsletters, and as such, my email inbox is almost always filled. Most of them I directly archive (they get auto-tagged when appearing in my inbox; so they're easier to file), and some I leave in my inbox for later browsing/reference. Also other important emails I leave in my inbox (yes, I should be filing those too) when I read them, and mark them unread so I know I still have to do something with it.

This behaviour would lead the sender to believe I'm always swamped.

And to be honest: I think this is a solution trying to be found for a problem that doesn't really exist.
If you want someone to read your email, make sure to have a proper subject-title, or use the in-office urgency-tags.

Duh? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360260)

"lets people choose to send mail when it's best for you,' he says."

It's EMAIL, not IM, not a phone call. You send it when you want. The recipient reads it and replies when he gets around to it. How does "when it's best for you" make any sense in this context? The only vaguely sensible use I can think is if you suspect an email box has been bombed; or he just isn't checking his email at all. But if it's time sensitive, use the phone don't screw around with this.

This just makes email *more* difficult (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360584)

If I'm busy, I still have to deal with all the issues.

And people still have things they need me to do. The fact that I'm busy doesn't change that, and if people used this system it would just make it seem like I was less busy than I was, while the fires I needed to put out continued to smolder.

Gmail has a "priority inbox" which seems like the rational answer: handle the important tasks first.

This is only a valid measure of how busy you are.. (2)

croftj (2359) | more than 3 years ago | (#36360646)

If your job is answering emails!!! If you are swamped with work, you might just have 1 unread email in your inbox. Then again, it just might be a spam that slipped past the spam filter (i hear it even happens with google).

Still, I hope to God that my inbox stats are never used as the measure of my work load!

Finger Protocol? What's next, remaking .plan? (2)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36361556)

Anyone remember finger [] ? I never liked it, because I don't want anyone knowing the status of my email, not even way back then. "Georgia Tech researcher" my ass; this is a tech historian/preservationist.

No way ... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36361912)

I'm am not going to sign up to some service which monitors my email load for me ... I don't trust it, and I don't trust that it won't become a security risk.

And, really, I've more or less decided I don't trust any URL ending in .ly -- between not having any idea of what's on the other end of most of those link shorteners (goatse anyone), and not really trusting Lybia in any way, I don't trust that some shenanigans aren't happening or couldn't be made to happen.

I'm sure as hell not trusting some third party with access to my email. Do they really think a whole lot of people are going to do that? Or is everyone ready to do such things and trust this site?

I realize I'm probably on the paranoid end of such things, but I just can't fathom signing up for something like this. You can't have my banking password, either.

Absurd (2)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362444)

Why would I want to use this, on either end of the equation? I send email for things that are not time-critical, or that I would like to have a documented record of. In the event of a somewhat time critical issue I will opt for IM, or if genuinely time critical, a phone call. We have different systems in place to serve different purposes.

flawed system (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36364142)

I have tons of unread email, most people might too, but I'm free.

They don't need to see my inbox... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36365394) display a static HTML page that says I'm swamped.

An email busy signal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36365868)

What an great idea how do we get it into the smtp protocol i dont want access to 3rd parties infecting my inbox thats not going to fly well with me however I would love to have the ability to turn on a busy signal until a later time

Right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36387442)

Because we really want people to know how busy/not busy we are..

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