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> It’s hard to believe people still use email.

It's hard to believe people don't understand that 'shortcomings' are sometimes 'advantages'. Email is perfect for what it is, it's a textual, non-realtime medium of communication. You take the time to compose a long, coherent message using written language. Mail has existed for a long time, and hopefully it will never go away.

It's great if you want to invent something more instant, more automated, more visual, but it's not going to be an improvement on email, it will be something else that fills some niche.




Agreed. SMTP is such a lasting protocol that it is unlikely e-mail will be replaced in the long term. I certainly think improvements can happen on the server side, but the protocol has good failover, and for the most part, the reliability is just as good if not better than physical mail delivery.

Yes, the protocol seems dated, but it is well-understood and implemented by thousands of vendors. It's a miracle that we were able to agree on a protocol, and on top of that, agree on a protocol that is relatively decentralized (although it does depend on DNS if you prefer not to use an IP to email). It isn't like Twitter or FB where a single vendor controls the platform.


> It's a miracle that we were able to agree on a protocol

It wasn't that miraculous, actually. Remember that it was invented before HTTP even existed. It was developed at a time where the only contender was Usenet. Internet was not yet used for any commercial purposes; there was no concept of platform. Internet, and thus email, was the medium between universities that we know of. Sendmail was included by default in each UNIX from that moment on; when you connected to the internet, you could already send emails.

The conditions were very different, it doesn't make a lot of sense to compare it to what we have today.


Absolutely. All these attempts at reinventing email into a new instant messaging service are fundamentally flawed, even if they only intend to use email as bootstrapping. I /don't/ want enter to send the message -- I want enter to create a new line. I /don't/ want you to hide the reply field for noreply@ emails, because sometimes I use draft responses as short memos to a specific email.


So, basically you're arguing never change anything because https://xkcd.com/1172/


No, he's arguing to not change major parts of what makes e-mail useful in order to try to shoehorn e-mail into an entirely different messaging pattern.


The only thing that makes email useful is "everybody has this thing that accepts stuff and they get notified when new stuff shows up." That's all.

Email is the single biggest vector for "hacks" and stealing money. Email is the biggest vector for spawning botnets. Heck, in half the email clients I see, there's no easy way to verify if <a href="phishingsite.com">your bank login</a> is a valid link to your actual bank or not.

Plus privacy issues, auto loading images (tracking pixels), accidentally reply-all, the ad-hoc way people think adding 50+ people to a CC list is a "mailing list," the way people think reply-all "+1 Adding Charlie" to the 50 people to add one new person to ad hoc email chain from hell is acceptable...

It's not good. It's just everywhere and people have accepted productivity killing social constructs around it so they can attempt to communicate at about a 60% effectiveness rate through such a broken medium.


The only thing that makes email useful is "everybody has this thing that accepts stuff and they get notified when new stuff shows up." That's all.

Also notes, contacts, file transfers, reminders and more.

Spam? Spam is everywhere and if it is not now, is because it's not popular. Once it gets to the level of "email", they will make sure you are getting spammed.

What bothers me is that people look for alternatives to make us more "locked" aka "safe" instead of trying to educate. We, devs/sysadmins, have to find ways to make sure that people know how to use and protect themselves not to hijack the tools they use/work/need just because we like to be EDGY.


> The only thing that makes email useful is "everybody has this thing that accepts stuff and they get notified when new stuff shows up."

And that's also what makes the alternatives utterly useless. It takes a huge advancement to unseat things like email. Even a new technology like Dropbox has powerful incumbent "defenses" against superior alternatives like Syncthing and Bittorrent Sync. Who am I supposed to use these new replacements with? Literally nobody I know uses them. I can't even use rsync to transfer data to and from my clients (not in the software industry).

> Email is the single biggest vector for "hacks" and stealing money.

If this were less vague and thus actually falsifiable, you could also say that the single biggest vector for hacks and stealing money is the internet. The reason that email is the main vector on the internet is its ubiquity.

It would be great if email had been originally designed with signing and encryption capabilities, but it wasn't. The reason it is still better than some new messaging service that includes these capabilities is that is federated and decentralized and very tolerant of network failures.

> communicate at about a 60% effectiveness rate

Honestly, if humans could communicate 60% effectively, our experience as a species would be completely different. I don't think that email is the bottleneck here...




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