I like e-mail, in general. It’s a convenient, asynchronous, mostly-reliable method of communication. I can receive a message, mull over it for a while, formulate a semi-intelligent response, and it hasn’t really pulled me away from what I was doing like a phone call would.
Many would consider me a Luddite, preferring Mutt as my MUA. of choice. I can imagine the cries of people who use so-called modern mail readers: fancy text formatting! embedded images! annoying layouts! hidden viruses! phishing scams!
What happened to the power and effectiveness of the written word? I suppose many aren’t capable of scribing a well-formed sentence, so they compensate with fonts, colors, and cryptic abbreviations. Still others are attracted to the shininess of the formatting. They can send mail that looks like a web page! Even when all they wanted to do was ask a short question!
This is progress?
Normally, I’m content with killfiling any mail that arrives with a content type of text/html. Unfortunately, there are some people I simply must communicate with for whatever reason (usually it involves money in one way or another). One of the fastest ways to get on my bad side is to send me mail that requires extra effort for me to read. This rant is a result of one of these messages.
I drafted a message of moderate length to discuss some points I thought important. Normally, I would expect any responses inline or, at worst, top posted. No, the response I received was even worse than what I see from users of Eudora’s unintelligible reply style. The responses were added directly to the paragraphs I had written, but styled bold and red for “readability.”
Hello, this is my opinion on the matter. I see, but have you considered this other thing?
As can be expected, this style doesn’t lend itself well to reading in plain text. Of course, I don’t think this style lends itself to any kind of comprehension.
I responded to this message, demonstrating how difficult it was for me to read without jumping through hoops, and expressing my annoyance at being forced to jump through said hoops. I tried to be kind, blaming the bad-habit-inducing tools (Outlook) rather than the writer. So this fellow tries again.
With an attached PDF file.
Seriously? Was he so enthralled by the font styling that he felt compelled to force upon me an attached document in order to render correctly? Maybe e-mail really is dead. Apparently a well-written, plain text message is too much to ask for.
[tags]annoyances, e-mail, people[/tags]