Sunday, August 5, 2007

Follow the Bouncing E-mail

This is one of the things that really drives me crazy: bounced e-mail because of bad addresses, filters, or blocking services.

On average I receive about 200 e-mails a day. My ISP filters spam and viruses. My e-mail software (Eudora) then filters spam and junk one more time. Each day I go through both my ISP and my local junk boxes just to be sure that they didn't mistakenly identify something as spam. Periodically I find one that shouldn't be there. Following the junk filters my e-mail software then filters and sorts specific types of messages such as new link requests, broken link reports, blog posts, etc. Once all that is done my daily e-mail is whittled down to the daily odds and ends.

On my web site I clearly state that because of the huge load of e-mail and work on the site each day I don't have time to answer personal research questions. But that doesn't stop people. I get e-mail from them asking for help, advice, etc. Now, that makes me a bit irritable, but what is worse is when I actually reply to those types of people/messages only to have my e-mail bounced back at me with "no such address" "doesn't like recipient" or "not accepting e-mail from this sender" messages. Aaargh!! First, they ignore the fact that I say I can't help them, then they make it impossible to reply to them at all. That makes no sense! And their messages are usually full of "help me!" and "I'm desperate" and other such urgentness. I also get new link requests submitted with bad e-mail addresses, which means I can't contact them if I need further information and I can't send them my usual replies.

Hey folks, if you are going to e-mail someone with a genealogical query, first be sure you do a few things to make the correspondence successful.
  1. Add that person's e-mail address to your non-spam/junk filters.
  2. Add that person's e-mail address to your "It's OK, I like this person" list or whatever it might be called in your e-mail options.
  3. Check and double-check your own e-mail address as you supply it to them for a reply. If you can't correctly spell your own e-mail address you've got problems.
  4. Don't make the receiver go through one of the spam-blocking services by making them reply to an automated message first in order to be added to your list of acceptable addresses.

I've become pretty darned grumpy about that last one. When someone writes to me, I reply. When I get back the automated "please reply to message so that you can be added to my list of acceptable e-mail addresses" message I put my foot down. I don't reply. I delete. It really makes me grumpy because they wrote to me first.

Because e-mail is so easy to send it has also become easy to use to intrude on others without thinking first. Please be sure you use your e-mail wisely and think about the person at the receiving end. Especially if you hope to have a successful correspondence with them in the future.

1 comment:

Randy said...

Nowadays I receive phone calls in which the robot begins by saying:
"Please hold for an important message from ......

Who called who?!