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    I message my friends with Signal or Keybase

    I mean, sure IM has its place but you can’t equate it with email. They exist mutually exclusive of each other. You recommend it as an “alternative”, however—what guarantee do you have that these services will exist in the future—say the next 10 years, or 5 even? I know that email will. It’s not centralized, and most definitely not run by a VC funded org.

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      You could use standardized IM, but even so I agree that at least the apps that exist today cannot replace the email use case.

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        what is standardized IM that you speak of ? sorry, but i haven’t come across any such beast.

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          There are a few. My favourite is https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6121 but another obvious one would be https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3428

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      Spam is a pain, but the filters my provider runs for me are pretty good - almost all of the stuff that gets through is stuff I’ve signed up for at one point or another, which still leaves me with a massive amount of mail to ignore. It is almost entirely stuff from genuine companies who would respect an ‘unsubscribe’.

      I love email. There are precious few distributed services that let you communicate with people no matter which provider or device they use. Signal and Keybase are not viable whole-internet solutions, good as they are.

      Security is not as bad as it used to be - there are typically few hops before a mail message gets to its intended destination, and those hops are usually encrypted. It’s still not what it should be, but we should fix it, not give up on it.

      The main problems around email are about how hard it is for someone to run their own mail server and get their mail delivered. In some ways, the deployed solutions to spam have ended up threatening one of the best things about email. I would have preferred to see something like a proof of work solution, where sending an email had a cost like the cost of a cheap stamp in processor time, and how much you paid could be a factor in the spam filter’s rules.

      There are a million ideas to make email better - yes, add workflows, archiving, use a decentralised name service, make it more secure, accessible, reduce spam, but we care about this because email is successful.

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        Hi Mike, I do not know how you work.

        But at my office, I use it a lot. I get documents, messages and attachments

        I have filters and rules to sort it. There is garbage too

        When people use WhatsApp or any other way to send me files. I can not easily find it.

        On email.

        I can do a

        From:my-boss annual goals

        And voila, I have the message.

        I find it useful

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          Disclaimer: I run my own mailserver (opensmtpd + spamd + spamassassin)

          Spam has never been an issue for me. spamd does a wonderful job at blocking emails before they even reach the SMTP daemon. Greylisting is a really good counter-spam measure, though the cost might be that some emails get delivered late (frustrating sometimes when you need to reset an account for example). The remaining spams that used to reach my inbox where low, but still present (even more so because the previous owner of my domain apparently used it to subscribe to A LOT of services…), and I trained spamassassin to recognize them (by moving them to the “Junk” folder). I never got false positives yet.

          The first few month are a bit more complex, as both spamd and spamassassin are learning, but after 18 monthes of running this setup, I’m very happy with the job they do !

          As for the complexity of getting your mails delivered, well, I’ve found (the hard way!) that some TLDs just don’t get delivered, period. I was advised to use a more “expensive” domain, which I did, and now I don’t have any issue to relay emails properly. Note that I had SPF/DKIM/DMARC setup correctly the whole time.

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            I get very little spam.

            • I live in the EU so most of the mails from legitimate companies have a working unsubscribe link because if they don’t I can report them and they pay massive fines.
            • My email provider has a half decent spam system (too many false positives rather than too much let through)
            • I use spamgourmet when I sign up for online accounts anywhere that I don’t 100% trust.

            In addition to this I don’t use webmail, and although thunderbird’s filters could be a lot more ergonomic, they work. This means I not only don’t get much unwanted mail, the mail I do get is automatically categorised so if I check my mail and there are two items in the main inbox that day, they are both important mails that I should get onto straight away. Then if I have time I check the folders for service updates, game updates and maybe even tracker mails from github if I really have time on my hands.

            Email is broken for the average user because it is abused by corporations and because people can’t be bothered to put in the effort to set things up properly. A competent computer professional should be able to set things up that work for them.

            The fact that you need to be competent computer professional to use email correctly is a major issue, but it is actually only one example of a wider phenomenon: Software is broken.

            If you feel like writing a blog post about how software is broken, specifically with regard to how you have to have specialist knowledge not to be boned by big corporations and how most people aren’t getting what they want/need and have no idea how to change that - well it would save me having to write it.

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              I use Gmail and I rarely see spam reach my inbox. Once per week, at the most. Spam hasn’t been a problem for me in almost a decade.

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                I have a Gmail account, which I don’t use. All I get there is spam. Granted, most of it ends up in the spam folder, but there’s plenty that gets by that has me question the value add of Google.

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                  You can train Gmail to recognize spam. It works.

                  You can even create custom filters which also works in some cases. For example, there is a group making marketing tech events in my area which are super spammy. I was part in one of their events like 10 years ago which is why they have my email address. Spam filter didn’t work because every year or two they switch to a different domain for sending emails. I ended up creating a filter with some keywords that are always in their emails which sends their emails to the trash.

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              I can’t say I get much spam at all, looking at my inbox now I’ve not had any in two weeks. Perhaps I am tempting fate.

              I use migadu, their spam filter was too harsh so I had to turn it down.

              I know they do greylisting, perhaps that helps with spam.

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                Greylisting stops about 50% of spam for me. Of the spam that gets through, about 75% is directed towards my registrar-specific email address [1].

                [1] I used to not bother with the “privacy” tax of my registrar. Now that privacy for registrants email addresses is mandatory, I should change the address I use.

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                Paul Graham sold me years ago on all this: saying that email broke because it morphed from `do you want to grab lunch?’ to a pattern whereby others give you TODOs, without your prior consent. The tool was meant for the former, not the later, and inbox zero is impossible for a good deal of us. When I look at my wife’s Gmail and the inbox says 1200 new unread mails, it makes me sad, because her main mode of communicating with her work is via email, as it is for a good deal of us. IM arrived and started to address the original use for email – the need for quick, informal quasi synchronous queries from others. On the other hand, I love email, and try my darnedest to make it work for me. It’s probably my favorite software technology.