AOL Non-Lameness

Thomas Leavitt thomas at
Wed Oct 4 20:02:41 UTC 2006

Email, as it now exists, has been reduced to an unreliable medium...
"joe job" operators, etc., mean that people don't read bounced /
returned email notifications any more (not that most of them are written
in such a way as to be comprehensible to the average user circa 2006),
spam filters often exist on accounts without people even being aware of
it... servers filter mail before it even gets to anyone's inbox... or
just block it at the SMTP server or network (such as via iptables), etc.
etc., and filters can have unintended side effects that aren't noticed
for an extended period (one of my compatriots realized that certain
emails were being dumped into his junk email folder, which he didn't
check, several months after the fact).

I think many people don't even use email as their primary means of
asynchronous internet communication - my kids certainly don't... the
rise of social networking sites might very well be driven by the fact
that they implicitly provide a functional system of authenticated
communications and provide mechanisms for handling unsolicited

You could draw a parallel between email and social networking sites and
other proprietary systems of communication, and the USPS and
FedEx/UPS... email is the postal service of the web... mostly, but not
wholly reliable, unauthenticated, and full of low priority or junk
communications. ... and likely to be supplanted by future developments.


Randy Bush wrote:
>>    In the near future half the net will spend half their time
>>    wondering what happened to half their mail.
> they won't have that much time to do the wondering as they will spend
> 90% of their time talking about it.
> qed
> randy

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