Friday 19 March 2010

If You No Longer Wish To Receive ...

For someone of my age group (by now you should have surmised the bracket to which I belong), e-mail is a quite stunningly simple means of communication. Compared with typing, or hand-writing, letters along with accompanying envelope and the trot to the post office for a stamp and a hole to stick it in (stop it! this isn't a Carry On film), e-mail is a doddle.

In the 80s, an application for a job, for example, would routinely elicit a written reply - even if only a one-liner - to invite for interview or to say "thanks, but no thanks". As businesses sought to reduce costs, it was understandable that such practices fell by the wayside in later pre-electronic days.

However, that has seemingly carried on into the digital age and I can't, for the the life of me, work out why.

Replying to an e-mail takes seconds. It requires no cost whatsoever, and is surely common courtesy. You don't want to write anything major yourself? Fine, but considering e-mail has already dispensed with 'Dear ...' and 'Yours ...' it really shouldn't be too difficult to politely acknowledge receipt. A one-liner, or even one-worder would suffice. Auto-generated replies are even more effortless.

Still, each to their own and I'm not one to decide rules for e-mail conversations, except ...

... we all hate spam, obviously, but how much effort is it really to delete it? The time and effort taken is remarkably minute. Anyone who can control a mouse is able to banish unwanted mail in a fraction of a second. What's more, there isn't even the need to lift more than a muscle on one's clicking finger. You can delete at your heart's content without taking your feet off the desk/secretary/cat. Receiving acres of it is irritating, but with spam filters, junk mail boxes, marking e-mails as acceptable etc., the phenomenon is not that great a deal.

But, again, if spam truly hacks you off, it's quite understandable.

What I really can't fathom, though, is what mind-blowingly, instantly-irritated, preciouses can have led to the routine disclaimer on many a circular e-mail of "If you no longer wish to receive messages from us, click here".

Yes, it simplifies the process, but you just know (in fact, I know for certain) that someone, somewhere, has spent a great deal of time complaining about receiving a message they didn't wish to read and, instead of deleting it in a second, or politely notifying the sender that it is not required, decided instead to make a big fuss and spent a hell of a lot of time vehemently complaining about it. Just their doing so has eaten up more time than it would take to delete 4 or 5 years of daily 'updates'.

If it is that annoying, it shouldn't be too hard to send your own reply notifying the sender that you're not happy with receiving what they consider a life-enhancing message, or you can just add them to your banned list. Especially since the majority of such e-mailed updates have, at some point, been generated by the receiver on using a service or actively contacting the sender.

It strikes me that the "If you no longer wish to receive ..." signature is merely another sop to those in our society who decide they have a right to not only not be offended, but to not even be inconvenienced for more than a nanosecond.

OK. It's just me, then.


Unknown said...

Sounds like you've been having a quiet Friday evening in DP and ruled out contemplating your navel. I do hope the email police are not reading this post. :¬)

Mrs Rigby said...

No, it isn't just you. We'd prefer the ISP not filter emails either, because it isn't clear what criteria is used.

We're more than capable of setting up our own 'message rules', all on our own too - but we're not meant to be capable of doing things like that.

Err, yes, we've had one of those days too.

Pavlov's Cat said...

it was understandable that such practices fell by the wayside in later pre-electronic days.
However, that has seemingly carried on into the digital age and I can't, for the life of me, work out why.

It also infuriated me, when I was looking for work last year. I didn't expect anything back from agency applications as they are just wideboy chancing tossers, but if I was applying direct to a company and especially a personal email address at that company, I did at least expect an acknowledgement.

I appreciate they may have been inundated in the present climate, in which case, set up an job application specific email address with an auto response saying something like 'Thank you for your application, if you have not received a reply by xx/xx/xx, your application has been unsuccessful'

It is one of the main complaints among my customers when I ask how their job search is going.

Like most things it seems common courtesy has gone out the window and yet as you say, how easy is it to hit ‘reply’ and pen a 2 line email, rather than as before type-up , address an envelope and post an reply

That being said, I also think most HR depts are staffed by new age, jobsworth, PC fawning, doctrine following, cunts.
As my brother once pointed out, they are the only dept in companies that are so unpopular they have ot change their name every few years,
We’ve had the progression from Wages to Payroll to Personnel (actually has person in it at least), Human Resources ( as opposed to those non pesky resources like plant and vehicles) and now Human Capital Management ( Also known as Human Cattle Management in those companies where it’s been thusly rebranded)

Anonymous said...

Do NOT ever click on that "If you no longer wish to receive ..." signature! It really means send me lots more...

but i agree, it takes seconds to delete it, I've never understood the fuss

BTS said...

There are actually two parts to this one.

In the first you're referring to correspondence (solicited or not) which may or may not have any particular relevance to the sender but, nonetheless, is only polite to reply to - the job application is a perfect example of this (especially for those claiming benefits as their efforts towards gaining work, or not, may be checked up on and therefore affect their ability to survive betwwen jobs).

In the second part is spam.

There are two separate parts to this of itself:

i) I was just reading someone's blog the other day (please forgive my memory for not mentioning their name) where they were railing against a company for continuously sending them adverts for different services. Every time they ticked the box 'If you no longer..' for the original product they'd get sent mail for insurance, then another product, and so on.*

ii) The tickbox is also a very good bit of PR - if they send one a day/week you can easily delete them whilst just possibly finding that one thing you've spent your entire life searching for going for £2.50 (+p&p). So there are some that people continue to allow to email them simply because.. 'you never know..'

But they are comfortable to do so because there is always that magic button. It's PR. Think of it as the safety word when you're into some seriously heavy bondage.

Or not..

But the theory does hold.

*A few years ago a few of my friends worked in a company that organised all of the direct mail shots that everyone hates so much. Great people to know if someone ever pisses you off..

(never seemed to work with Downing Street though..)

Angry Exile said...

Given the volume of spam we're told is sent every day, day in day out, surely one reason to hate it and want it cut down is that it must be eating up a decent chunk of available bandwidth. Even if you take steps to keep it out of your own inbox or don't mind deleting a small number wouldn't you benefit from cheaper broadband if the ISPs didn't have to deal with a large amount of traffic made up just of spam?

bayard said...

"Given the volume of spam we're told is sent every day, day in day out..."

"we're told", like "we're told" about the evils of second-hand smoke and "we're told" about the internet being full of porn. I've never had a spam filter, and spam has never been more than twenty or so e-mails a day. This smacks to me of another "reason" for the powers-that-be to control the internet. Meanwhile e-mail is no longer a reliable form of communication, thanks to over-zealous spam filters.

BTW it occurs to me that e-mail's erstwhile reliability (mail was either received or bounced) may be one reason why the culture of acknowledgement has died away.

Eclipse said...

I buy a domain name (about £8 for 2 years) and every site I have to put my email address into gets their own personalised address (ie,

If I start to receive spam emails that aren't from that particular website, I know they've sold my address on, they then get ALL emails redirected to their customers services/ privacy/ managing directors email address....

Angry Exile said...

Bayard, "we're told" about spam levels by sources that I give more credence to than the cock sockets who come up with guff about Xth hand smoking and passive obesity. Or do we hear news about stuff like the Storm Botnet first by government PR? Look, if this stuff came from someone like Stephen Conroy or Lord Mandlesnake I'd take it with a pinch of salt - actually a whole fucking mine of the stuff when it comes to Conroy - but it's not just Righteous saying it. Actually it seems that the Righteous aren't saying much about spam at all since they're too busy trying to convince everyone that the whole internet is one giant vagina spewing forth filth and depravity, which as you say is why they want ISP level filtering. In particular Senator Conroy seems so uptight about it that he probably needs a cold shower and 5 Ave Marias after reading the words 'pen' and 'is' on the same line. Still, not aware that he's ever suggested that his deranged plan will stop spam. On the QT he's admitted it won't even stop child porn, and I'm sure there's a fucking lot less of that to deal with.

BTS said...

'one giant vagina spewing forth filth and depravity'

Err.. have we moved on to Harriet Harperson no..?

Unknown said...

Oh do shut up BTS, I was just salivating over that giant vagina then you went and spoilt it all by mentioning HER (is it a 'her,' I sometimes wonder?) name, bastard!

BTS said...

Don't blame me for my filthy mind - blame society.

The government told me it was everybody else's fault.

Particularly that evil Nick Hogan. And err.. other err.. white men.. who have two eyes.. one eye good, two eyes bad.. I think.. err..

Unknown said...

BTS, do you think you need counselling mate? It won't cost much to enrol in Hariet's school of bollock decapitation in three easy lessons. WTF this has to do with emails I do not know but it is so much fun, (says the eighth can of testosterone numbing beer.)

That bloody DP, leaving us to our own devices, you know it's gonna end up in tears, don't you...of laughter.

God, is the room spinning or is that police helicopter just getting on my fucking nerves?

BTS said...

Oh so now they decide to take heed of my anonymous tips about your dwarf-smuggling ring run from the basement. Must be a slow day for 'em..

8 cans? 8 chuffing cans?!?

Looks like she got you first..

I've been up since Friday morning on 6 litres of shitty strong cider, bottle o'wine and am almost done on the first of the voddy. All topped up quite nicely with half a packet of co-codamol.

I'm doing teenage bragging rights now.

It can only go downhill.

Particularly if I mention what I've just done to that donkey.


I don't think he's very happy just now..

Catch up will ya' Yin..?

BTS said...

w/v: shorka.

Spooky - I think that's the noise the donkey just made..

Unknown said...

I'm getting to old for a 'drinkin' contest BTS, I'm on my ninth can and ready for bed but every email keeps me up thinking...what's this? And it's usually some crap about buying Viagra online, which I sorely need because, as a smoker, I can't get it up anymore and the words on the fag packet endorse that, cunts...oh, oh, shouldn't have thought of cunts, something's stirring! Shit, it's gone, was thinking of the late Amanda Sandford, she is dead? Right??? No, and I can't win the lottery either! Bastard.

BTS said...

Who the fuck is Amanda Sandford..?

BTS said...

Oh. Her. Or it, depending upon one's preferred designation..

You could have just said 'another giant vagina spewing forth filth and depravity' and stop blaming me for spreading the rot..

I'm bloody starving now - I haven't eaten since Thursday.

Now where's that donkey got to and which form of roasting should I give him first..?

BTS said...

I've seen an NHS advert about dementia wherin some old woman says 'blah, blah, blah (okay, so it's not exactly verbatim..) and I have dementia.'

I recall noticing one the other day along similar lines with regards to Alzheimer's.

Aside from the waste of public money on such idiotic and patronising adverts (we each of us notice such lapses in our family if we care to and those that that don't aren't likely to pay more any more heed due to some assinine government sponsered advert at 3am) but..

I can't help but wonder how many takes these adverts took?

(I'm so glad that everyone else has gone to bed now..)

BTS said...

Same ad again within 5 minutes and now I'm watching Magnum.

Although it is a repeat..

(I'm not fucking joking here. Help.)

Pa Annoyed said...

Reading people's advertising is worth money. A lot of web sites, and not a few TV channels, newspapers, magazines, and radio stations provide a service to the public paid for by adverts. By listening to their adverts, we are engaged in a trade.

So if someone makes me look at their adverts without giving me anything in exchange, I feel that I'm being robbed. My mood has been changed for the worse. I have lost seconds of my finite span on Earth reading their irrelevant trash, and it has added no value to my life. That adds up.

At least with junk mail, you can light fires with the stuff.

Unknown said...

Sorry PA but burning junk mail goes against the law of the poluting your home act, subsection 4b, section C which stipultes that...

Amazing that DP gets more comments about an annoyance [junk emails] rather than the hardships of life, than he does when he writes about politics or the smoking ban etc...truly amazing!

Pa Annoyed said...


I can tell you that it is (since last week) illegal to possess more than 2.5kg of improperly labelled beet seed, to label smoked fish incorrectly, or to sell ciggies from a hovercraft from a container not labelled in black Helvetica plain type on a white background with a consistent font size no larger than 4 millimetres high, all in lower case (you are permitted to capitalise the first letter) and not exceeding 9 square centimetres in size, but it is not actually illegal (yet) to light a bonfire with junk mail. I did check, before doing it.

And the fact that I felt I had to check tells you a lot about Britain today.

I intend to use my freedoms, while I still have them.

Unknown said...

PA, you couldn't make some of these laws up...oh, some sad bastard did.

I bloody despair at this country, I really do.

Pa Annoyed said...

I agree that it wouldn't be funny to just make them up, because people would say that I was just being silly.

Those ones were just silly, though. (And grossly illiberal, of course.)
It was the one about the Senior Fish Health Inspector (PB6 or above) being able to authorise covert surveillance on you that I found a bit creepy.

And I sympathise about the comments. I find the same myself, sometimes. But that's blogging.

BTS said...

So no-one cares about the poor bloody donkey then?


Just you wait until his equine buddies hear about you lot..

Dick Puddlecote said...

Pa Annoyed: "At least with junk mail, you can light fires with the stuff."

No, no, no. You take the pre-paid envelopes and stuff them with the heaviest non-identifiable literature you can find. ;-)

BTS said...

..or a donkey.