Email: Let the punishment fit the crime

So, I hate email.  Love of Agility is part of it.  Even though our company does all internal communication on a collaboration platform, I still have to spend 10 percent of my day going through spam or hunting for content sent from customers, vendors or other important external humans in email because this is not the correct medium for the uses we impose on it.  For brevity (always trying never succeeding) I will list things which I think are true about misuse of email

  • Email is NOT the correct medium to try to get the opinions of team members or any group of more than 2 humans.  Why? Suppose in the future the group wants to know the reason for some dumb decision (the decision not the deciders), the hunt for the emails would be so difficult that the team of researchers hired to find this set of emails would retire before achieving success
  • Email is NOT the correct medium to send info to accountants with social security numbers or other private info.  Wny?  Sometimes humans send emails to the wrong address… can’t get it back it’s gone.  Also, most email sent to parties external to an organization is not encrypted so sensitive info can easily be compromised.
  • Email is NOT the correct medium to send files.  Similar to the first point, a file represents content that will likely be updated, searched for in the future, or maybe even need to be deleted.  Sending content around creates multiple copies (version control nightmare), loss of control (you don’t know who the recipient is forwarding the information to), and a configuration management problem when trying to figure out who has what version of the file

I believe email has value but for only a few uses.  It represents a splendid notification approach where there is no content in it but only info like who updated what content from what location and a link enabling authorized users to access the content.  It represents a fine component of registering to some platform which enables secure collaboration on content.  I’m sure there are more useful aspect but they elude me at the moment.

The correct punishment for the consumption of content are secure sites where the content exists once (there are exceptions like communications where there is a desire for the information to be transient or doesn’t merit the annoyance of logging into a platform), vs being sent around.

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