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Wednesday, June 21st, 2006, 10:17 am

The Initiative for Better E-mail

Junk mail

LAST year I got a bit frustrated with the nature of most E-mails that had been reaching my box. I then decided to write a short FAQ (while I was lying by a swimming pool, if I recall correctly). Over time, I found a way of reducing and managing the volume, which often led to unnecessary distractions. I even separated my E-mail into several ‘tiers’, which unlike filters, I find very handy. Some other communication was routed to Wikis.

Over two years ago I came to discover that Knuth had given up on E-mail altogether. I have just come across another nice homepage which expresses the frustration when it comes to badly-formatted E-mails, so I thought I’d share it by quoting:

E-mail is my main form of communication and the best way to reach me is to email howcome@@@opera.@com. I have used email since 1985 and, unlike Donald Knuth, I plan to continue using it in the future. I recommend these rules for writing electronic mail:

  1. Write e-mail messages in plain text (not HTML) with around 70 characters per line.
  2. When quoting other messages, insert your own text underneath the quoted text so that the logical order of the text is preserved
  3. Avoid e-mail attachments: send URLs pointing to your attachments instead.
  4. In particular, never send documents in proprietary formats as e-mail attachments. PDF is acceptable if the formatting of the documentis essential to understanding the document.

If you look at the source of the page (either the original or even this short post), you’ll find a nice trick of obfuscating E-mail addresses, which can prevent mass-harvesting by ratbot, for subsequent spamming.

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