Email clients need to be more intelligent. For example, I can appreciate the Request Read Receipt feature that Outlook/Exchange and other email systems offer; it makes sense in a corporate environment, or when sending correspondence with business partners. However, all bets are off once you starting emailing the Internet in general. Why, oh why, do Outlook and Exchange continue to be so clueless about these wonderful things we call mailing lists?
It wouldn’t be very hard at all for Outlook to notice when a message I’ve received comes from a real mailing list; they have all sorts of wonderful headers (at least, they do if they’re compliant with RFCs) that easily distinguish them. It should then automatically change its behavior in several key ways:
- Stop sending read receipt requests to that address. It’s really bloody annoying to be reading along a mailing list and suddenly get the read receipt request dialog in my face, and all it does is make me think that the sender is an idiot.
- Stop sending OOF (out of office/out of facility) messages to that address. That looks even dumber.
- Offer to automatically create a new folder and rule to manage future messages from this list.
Oh, and email users who set “request read receipt” as their default? Should. Be. Shot.