negative zero

I Hate Email

2021 April 26

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This post is more about me just needing to vent than it is about making any actual solid arguments about things or trying to effect change. If you read it, read with that in mind.

I use email a lot. It's generally the easiest way for people to reach me.

Consequently, sometimes people misrepresent this and say email is my preferred contact method or the best way to talk to me. They even say I like it!

Actually, email is one of the worst ways to talk to me.

Here's the thing about email, though: Everyone uses it. Even I do. It's kind of the least common denominator for talking to people, and it's generally the only thing I use that other people I meet also use. (Yeah, I do have a phone number to list on forms, but I don't give it out or use it to talk to real people.) I begrudgingly put up with email because I can use it with free software, it (theoretically) supports (some) encryption (that in practice a grand total of one of my contacts uses), and it's a (nominally) federated protocol (even though most of my contacts use the huge central Google surveillance node).

But it's kind of better than everything else normal people use - Discord, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and whatever other centralized, proprietary apps most people use to communicate... at least on paper. So yes, I have an email account (a handful, actually), and yes, people sending me unencrypted emails from their Gmail accounts is generally the easiest way for them to contact me... but that doesn't mean it's a good way.

In conclusion, I hate email, but I hate all the other things most people use more, so I end up using email a lot. This doesn't mean that I like email or that it's a good way to talk to me. Please don't tell people it is.