On email communication
This article aims to present a few arguments that hopefully will convince some people who view email as an outdated thing to change their minds and to mainly use email. This short piece is a contribution to my fight against disc*rd and other trash messaging apps alike.
Mail is decentralized
Well, kind of. As we are all aware, setting up your own mail server is a
pain. So that's why most people turn to big corporate mail (gmail,
hotmail...). But if you're brave enough, there are a lot of tutorials (eg :landchad
that guide you in setting up your mail server and fully own your main way of
For those who are not motivated enough, relatively non-glowing providers such as cock.li riseup ( you need an invite for those ) or Posteo ( Paid ). The point is, e-mail is decentralized/federated and offers to the user greater control over his communications.
Plurality of clients
Desktop clients, mobile clients, GUI, TUI there's a mail client fit for
every type of user. Here are some free an open source clients I'd like to
- Neomutt : Fast, reliant ncurses based, fully featured and quickly setup by lukesmith's mutt-wizard. This is my main e-mail client.
- Aerc : Blazing fast 🔥🔥🔥 ncurses client built with a software developer workflow in mind ( git & email integration ).
- K-9 mail : One of if not the best mobile client. Fully featured, PGP support, clean & minimal UI, highly configurable. Available on F-droid.
Considering the corner of the internet where this website is at, the people
reading this are probably really privacy concious, That's where PGP comes
Even if you use a corporate email, PGP allows you to completely obfuscate the contents of your email from three letters agencies ( It won't hide metadata though : subject, recipient, date/hour). A lot of clients have PGP integration which allows you to automatically encrypt your messages before sending them; decrypt incoming ones and check signatures to confirm the identity of your recipient. The three clients mentioned before have GPG integration.
Quality of life
E-mail have several quality of life "improvements" over traditional
messaging apps. This section is a bit more subjective as some of these
points may seem like downgrades to some people.
• Subject based threads: This allows you to properly sort your discussions by subject and to easily go back to previously discussed topics without scrolling a continuous feed for hours.
This feature also makes your life easier if you want to back up a discussion.
• No read receipts: I'm the type of guy to read a message and take an entire day to properly word my answer. Read receipts make it look like I'm ignoring people when that's not the case. I'm much more comfortable with epistolary writing. It allows detailed , well thought out and meaning full conversations. My love for mail and email is a consequence of the underlying philosophy of the Slow movement. I might make an article about it later, for those interested you can read This.
Limits of email
Despite the benefits described earlier, email has some weaknesses that
simply can't be helped. For instance, large scale group chats are not
possible. (un)fortunately, you won't be able to replicate your +50 people
Also, some situations require instant communication, for example if you require support for a piece of software, you're better off using IRC than using anything else.