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Re: DISCUSS: Reading the Mail

Quoth Alanna:

>         Will someone please explain, step by step and in simple
> non-computerese words, just what it is you have to do to receive, sort, and
> read the e-mail on what another poster called 'a dumb mail reader'?

Well, I don't have to do anything to RECEIVE the mail beyond subscribing
to the list - it just comes here.  I don't have any kind of sorting option
at all.  This means that as mail comes in, it is queued up in my mailbox. 
When I log into my account, I can look at the inbox in "index"  form -
that is, I can see the address of the sender and the subject line.  From
there, I have to work my way down the list, reading or deleting unread
messages as I go.  Part of why this takes a long time, especially when
there are a lot of messages, is that there is a delay factor involved
between the time I hit a key and the system can move on to the next stage. 
I've never timed it precisely, but it probably takes 3-5 seconds for the
system to register a deleted message and move onto the next one in the
index.  It takes about the same amount of time to open a message to read
it, or to close a message that I've read but do not need to reply to. 
Reading and replying take longer, of course.  The more messages there are,
or more precisely, the more space the messages take up, the longer the
delay time becomes, because the system resources are stretched further. 
At the peak of the flying crockery thread last week, it could take better
than 5 seconds just for the system to open the inbox and display the

Now, as might be gathered from the above, there are things that make all
this take longer.  Having to read messages in order to discover that I
don't need to read them because people aren't keeping the subject headers
up-to-date takes longer than simply being able to delete them.  Large
numbers of messages occupy more system resources and slow things down. 
The other factor that makes things difficult for me is that I'm in a
different time zone.  The peak hours for Merry Rose activity are usually
when people get home from work in the evening and when they first get to
work on weekday mornings.  These times happen to correspond with the
middle of the night and mid-afternoon when I am not online.  So when I
check my mail at 9 am and 7 pm GMT (or BST), I will find most of those
200+ messages.  For someone in Atlantia checking 3 times a day, the mail
may be more reasonably distributed, but this is not the case here. (And 
more messages mean longer delays - see above).  This is why I sometimes 
have to spend 2 hours just wading through the muck.

Now, before I am accused of being an old stick-in-the-mud, I enjoy the
social activity on this list as much as anyone else.  But I didn't
subscribe just for the social activity, and when that reaches the
proportions it was last week, it starts to be a problem for me, and
gauging from the private responses to my original post, for others as
well.  I wouldn't ask people to give up the social aspect, but I would ask
that perhaps they should consider before they add to the bandwith whether
their responses are actually contributing to the life and purpose of the
list, or if they would be better moved to private email, especially if
there are only a few people contributing to a thread.  As with all aspects
of SCA activity, I think courtesy is the paramount concern.  Not everyone
on this list has ideal electronic resources, and while there may be cases
where nothing can be done, we should all make an effort to not strain
other's systems unduly. 

In service (and not saying any more about this),
Stephanie M. Thorson			*  SCA: Lady Alianora Munro
University of St Andrews		*  
St Andrews, Scotland			*  Clan White Wing
email smt2@st-andrews.ac.uk		*  Tarkhan, Khanate Red Lion

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