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[Computational Complexity] email: not as useful as it could be

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  • GASARCH
    (Can still register for COMPLEXITY 2008: here) Email stories: - Recently a co-author and I both thought that the other one was not responding to emails. We
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 6, 2008
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      (Can still register for COMPLEXITY 2008: here)

      Email stories:
      1. Recently a co-author and I both thought that the other one was not responding to emails. We were both annoyed at each other. But it wasn't true! Why did it happen? A combination of both being busy (so maybe it was a bit true), spam filters, and even a few cases where the email really did not get through and was not spam filtered. We figured out what was going on, stopped being annoyed at each other, and made progress on the paper. But I can imagine this sort of thing being more serious and causing a mob war based on a perceived lack of respect.
      2. From experience I've leared that emailing ugrads for an event is not enough, even if there is free food. You need to use posters (old school!) and have teachers announce it in class. Why? They get too much email and some put off reading it (or at least reading mine) until after the event is over.
      3. I had a Monday 11:00AM meeting scheduled and the person I was going to meet emailed me the prior night at Sunday 11:00PM saying he had to cancel. But email was slow for some reason (nobody knows why) and it got to me at Monday 4:00PM. No big deal, but my annoyance at him was unwarranted.
      4. I read an article in a magazine and thought that some other people would be interested in it, so I copied it (with a copy machine). I later found that it was on line. I conducted an experiment: I put it in 4 peoples physical mailbox, and emailed it to 4 other people. Those who got it in their physical mailboxes read it, those who I emailed a pointer did not.
      A combination of email NOT working sometimes and of having TOO MUCH email to get through it all, is making it a less useful medium. The ``too much email'' is not about spammers--- there is lots of email that is not spam but you still don't need it. And its getting worse becaue of the following cycle:
      1. People don't pay attention to email since they get too much.
      2. Hence they need to be send reminders
      3. Hence they get more email.
      4. People don't pay attention to email since they get too much.
      Is this really a problem? If so, what to do about it? Charging people for emailing might help the spam problem, but again, this is NOT the problem I'm talking about.

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      Posted By GASARCH to Computational Complexity at 6/06/2008 07:27:00 AM
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