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Page history last edited by Tantek 12 years, 6 months ago

Email is Efail


short URL: http://ttk.me/w/EmailEfail 


As twittered 2008-02-17:

EMAIL shall henceforth be known as EFAIL.


This page for documenting the problems of email, how it both fails in intended uses, and can and typically does cause other types of failure as well.


one to one communications do not scale

Email contains the implicit assumption (certainly user interface bias) of 1:1 communication, which does not scale, and therefore fails. That was the basis of my 2008 February blog post:



Here is some additional subsequent analysis and references.



  • efail makes it too easy for negative people to hijack your attention. (as twittered)
  • Micki Krimmell mentions this problem as well in her 2008-08-26 blog post Fatty fatty facebook

    "Why do my tools put all the power in the hands of the people sending me messages? Why do I feel powerless when I’m opening MY email/MY facebook/MY myspace?"


articles and posts



email bankruptcy

Numerous individuals have used the phrase "email bankruptcy" to refer to a process by which they toss/delete all current email in their inbox and start over from scratch, and email (ironically) all their contacts declaring "email bankruptcy" and that anything really important needs to be resent.


This is at best a poor analogy, at worst, completely false.


When a person declares financial bankruptcy, in which they toss/delete their financial debt and attempt to start over from scratch, they are not allowed to then take on new financial debt (credit cards, loans) etc. for quite some time (if ever).


If individuals that declared email bankruptcy really meant it, they would then not taken on new email for quite some time. However, every individual that I've seen declare "email bankruptcy" has promptly resumed sending, receiving, and replying to email.


Therefore I can only assert that usage of the term "email bankruptcy" is a misnomer and a misconception.


see also




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