Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 1994)

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Subject: Lack of DIGEST option -- long (and hot in places)
From: "Floyd Maxwell" <fmaxwell @ unixg . ubc . ca>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 94 18:13:20 PDT
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
Reply-to: fmaxwell @ unixg . ubc . ca

I received 3 public responses and 1 private response to my post on
the lack of digest options on some lists.

I have decided to respond globally to the 3 public responses because
they are all the same in one respect -- they all missed the point.

But first, one last attempt to defend my *suggestion* of the need for
a Digest *option* with additional information...

#1  Prior to my digestifying all digestifiable lists, I found that I
spent about 2 hours a day reading my eMail.  Now, with about 50% more
messages coming in, I spend just 1 hour and 15 minutes.

#2  Digests reduce the need to repeatedly acquire messages during the
day and then wait for them to be sucked back (because most Digests
arrive overnight and can be acquired first thing in about 1/4 or 1/10
the time on my [Ethernet backbone connection] system -- clearly hand-
shaking is a huge part of the process).

I still reacquire throughout the day, for those seeking to argue
this point, but what I receive is much less (in volume) and so is
less disruptive of my work day and allows me to respond quicker
because less filtering is needed throughout the day.

#3  Deleting a message, waiting for the file to be moved to the trash
directory and then displaying the next message takes about 3 seconds
per message on my 486/66 with a caching controller.

 (450-50)*3=1,200 seconds ---- 20 minutes per day for this alone !!!

I avoid all this by reading my Digests in my text editor/word
processor [that shall remain nameless to avoid another flame thread].
I simply delete messages as I read through the Digest and then save
what's left.

#4  Digests also *** prioritize *** my eMail.  Before I digestified, I
thought I would need to get a second eMail address for time-sensitive
eMails.  Now that my In Box gets about 50 messages per day (with about
a dozen being digests) instead of 450, the time-sensitive ones are
(450/50=)9 times more visible.

#5  One final point.  As list owners, you must have observed what
happens to a person when they try (ineffectively) to leave a list
and are unsuccessful.  They frequently generate a flurry of eMails,
each louder and more intense than the previous until someone sends
them the correct syntax or otherwise eases their pain.

I think the reason for the excessive responses is because
_they_continue_to_receive_messages_!  (What a revolutionary thought)
Now, if they were on Digest, they would send a signoff effort, it
would not work, and, when they receive the next day's Digest they
can read through it and learn why because someone will have responded.

Also, in the 24 hours after the abortive signoff effort, others will
(frequently) send direct email to them with the proper syntax etc.

They send a second (successful) signoff, are sent one final Digest
that they don't want and can easily delete and they are done.  They
are happier because they were not flooded with eMails (150 per day
on the NOVELL list alone) after they "signed off", BUT, most
significantly, notice how much less list traffic they generate.  I
think this is a substantial win-win situation in itself.  Again,
"power eMailers" need not use this feature if they don't want to.

I do sympathize with those who are selective in what they retrieve
due to the type of eMail connection they have or the volume of
information they are trying to sift through or whatever.  But, as
stated before, *their* needs have already been looked after.

* Set phasers to stun *

- In response to Richard Porter:

  O.K.  For you, the magic feature is INDEX.  But that feature already
  exists -- thus you missed my point.

- In response to Dave Sill:

  I never said, nor implied, that *all* lists had to support the Digest
  option.  The lists I cited (and many others) should at least have
  the *option* for those that want it.  One person's emergency post/
  solution are ten other people's learning experience, and this does
  not need to occur at the speed of light.

  BTW, another list that doesn't have a Digest option is NETIQUETTE.
  Are you guys starting to see the ridiculousness of this option
  not existing yet?

- In response to Dave Sill & Dabe "Dabe" Murphy who were trying to
  defend to the last man the Right to have non-Digested eMail:

  I have just one question: "Who were they fighting?"

  I said that *I* won't subscribe and was trying to suggest that for
  others with the same need that a Digest ***OPTION*** (hello!?!?!?)
  would be *NICE*.

  O.K. guys, try this little experiment:
  Imagine that I was one of your users.  Would you have been this
  inhospitable to me?  I don't believe either of you work for Job
  Security Unlimited...

  I was making a *suggestion* to improve the system for *some* users.
  I don't give an [expletive deleted] why you want undigested eMail
  BECAUSE YOU'VE ALREADY GOT IT!  Last time I checked this list
  wasn't aliased to Alt.Rave.List.Features.  Once again point missed.

- In response to Dabe "Dabe" Murphy who said "something like":
  ..."Mr. Subliminal"
          Too subtle for me, Dabe.  What was your point _here_?

                     "...mentions something about Compu$serve..."

  It's called a .SIGnature Dabe.
  I didn't mention anything about CIS in the Text of my post.

  In this case it wasn't a point missed but a point fabricated.

I'm sure that _some_ people out there got the gist of my
suggestion.  To them I say -- "Please consider my suggestion,
and have a nice day!"

| Floyd Maxwell                            Internet: |
| Manager, Computer and Technical Systems  Voice:    (604) 822-6503        |
| UBC Food Group                           Fax:      (604) 822-2384        |
| The University of British Columbia       CIS:      71414,1124            |
|Many people feel that the Internet is hopelessly complex.  This is a gross|
|exaggeration. Incredibly complex is a more accurate assessment.  Actually,|
|the Internet is no more difficult to fully comprehend than, say, life.    |
|  -- John Edwards, contributing editor, CompuServe Magazine (70007,412)   |

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