If you read mailing lists, message boards, or anything online that involves many people commenting and reading each others comments, you might know Godwin’s Law.

I propose a new law, specifically for email lists. As the number of emails in one thread grows, the probability of someone requesting that others should not fill up the commenter’s mailbox approaches one.

I have 8,397 unread emails in my inbox — and I don’t lose any sleep over that. I know which ones I have to read (the few) and which ones I don’t have to read (the rest). Or, sometimes, a glance at the subject is enough, just as I’ve gotten used to glancing at or ignoring most of the ads I see when I walk down the street. Email is one of the least intrusive methods of contact, which also means that if you don’t agree and want to use your email address for only high-priority communications, then just don’t subscribe to mailing lists rather than go and complain about them.

This rant stems from a thread I just read (but did not participate in) which included multiple appeals to not use the mailing list. The best comment coming from someone complaining that since he was out of the country and roaming on his iPhone, reading the thread cost him hundreds of dollars.

The internet is like a country of diverse immigrants which by where there is a evolving cultural understanding of what’s right or wrong. But it’s always interesting.

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