This Space for Rent

Reading about people whining about email

In the list of webzines I read, all of a sudden it's as if everyone has discovered email overload. There's too much mail, we can't keep our mail sorted, we can't reply to all of our real mail, we don't know where our delete function is!

Admittedly, I'm not in the best situation to respond to this, because I'm an antisocial bastard who doesn't tend to keep up mail conversations, but, really, there are solutions that don't involve hurling the baby out the kitchen door.

Just off the top of my head, I can think of just not replying to the email. I've done that; someone sends me a note that doesn't need a response and I just leave it in my mailbox or file it away uncommented. It's been a long time since I planned romantic liaisons via email (I've not needed to since the one night stand that went horribly wrong) , so any important messages can come in by the telephone.

If you're someone who dislikes the telephone more than I do, or feel that your street cred will be horribly compromised by using a technology that's more than 50 years old, you could reduce your email burden in a high-tech way by having

  1. your mail server refuse all unauthenticated connections, pointing the caller to a
  2. web page where you let them pay for a authtoken with a credit card, which they can then use to
  3. connect back to the mailserver and send you mail.

You'd probably need to whitelist mailing lists, friends, and lovers, since they might not see the humor in being asked to put in 25¢ to continue their calls.

Extra points for having the auth tokens expire after a while, so that people have to keep paying you money to send you mail.

The crafty spammers will no doubt start whipping out their stolen credit cards so they can send their rotting packages of viagra and nigerian 419 scams, but that's merely a way for them to get nailed for wire fraud if we ever get the Democratic party back into power in the USA and convert the government back into a government instead of a massive fraud ring.

In case someone hasn't thought of this scheme, I'll claim my little bit of prior art right now.