Angry Rant: Email Management

Your mailbox has exceeded one or more size limits set by your Administrator.

For better or worse, the Army has been doing the email thing now for well over ten years.  I admit it is handy, notably for transferring key documents.  We still need to get better at follow-up phone calls for important ones, though.

One thing that I have never come close to understanding, though, is the “inbox full” notification.  I ought to note right here that the Army uses Outlook on an Exchange mail server (nod to my good bud Greg, who ‘splained all this to me, and patiently).  So knowing Bill Gates is behind this may well explain away all the apparent illogic to this madness.

Anyway, some quick basics on server-based email: you get a message, it sits on a machine far away until you log on and read it.  I may remain there, or if you use Outlook, it might get downloaded to your computer.  It all depends on your settings.  A good example is Yahoo! email.  You can read ’em online, but you have to be online to do it.  However, you can fire up Outlook and have it go on Yahoo!, collect your email, and store it so you can read it anytime… or you can leave it online… or both… yeah, I’m digressing.

The risk to leaving email online is that it takes space, and if you go over your space, you have to decide what goes and what stays.  Digital housecleaning, if you will.  This week the Army server decided it was time for me to clean out my online mailbox, a task I do erratically at best.  I get a lot of email daily and I’m usually too busy answering it to sort through it all and move it to my computer.  Go figure.

Here’s the kicker: when your server account is full, guess what the system does to you besides shutting off your ‘send’ ability?

It sends you another email to let you know you have too much email.

Am I on crack or is this completely stupid?


2 Responses to “Angry Rant: Email Management”

  1. It is at least somewhat paradoxical, but actually not that stupid:

    What would the alternative be?

    If it was guaranteed that all users actually used Outlook to interface with Exchange (poor things…), it would be possible to simply let Outlook show a pop-up or some other form of notification. In reality, this is not the case and the choice boils down to either an email (viewable by any client) or potentially unnotified users.

    A possible hitch, obviously, would be that the account is so full that there would be no space left to receive the notification email. This, however, would be easy to circumvent (e.g. through a special flag).

    As an aside, this has interesting analogies in the military world, where information is often of great importance. For instance, consider the choice of storming a terrorist compound with 20 men and no previous information vs. doing so with 15 men and detailed knowledge of the compound’s layout, the number of people present, the amount of weaponry within, etc.

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