How feasible is email@metafilter? December 30, 2007 3:17 AM   Subscribe

pony@metafilter.com

So...I'm sure there are lots of reasons that this is an incredibly stupid idea (that has probably been covered before, but I couldn't find it), but all this privacy talk on the blue got me thinking. Yes, I would like to have an email provider that I trust. Who do I trust? Well...no one. But Matt is a pretty good start. How feasible, and desirable, would it be to have a real mefi mail service? I understand that I don't understand anything about what it takes to provide webmail, and I await a long list of good reasons why this is retarded. But personally, I'd gladly pay a reasonable one time or yearly fee for it. If enough users were willing to do the same...?
posted by Roman Graves to Feature Requests at 3:17 AM (41 comments total)

That would be a pretty big job, and I kinda doubt that Matt would be able to get enough subscribers to cover the cost of hardware/bandwidth/a sysadmin's salary/etc with all the free services out there.

What trust issues with established providers are you referring to?
posted by cmonkey at 3:57 AM on December 30, 2007


'trust issues with established providers' = 'google is all big and evil!', now that everyone has been taught the meaning of 'shared' by the google Reader team.
posted by jacalata at 5:31 AM on December 30, 2007


Probably the biggest reason it's not a good idea is that it's a lot of not very fun work. One of the reasons it's a lot of work is if you're hosting email you are held to higher standard of reliability than if you are hosting what is essentially an entertainment web site.
posted by aubilenon at 5:36 AM on December 30, 2007


I run production email servers for a handful of domains. It's the least fun part of my job. Hosting email entails a huge number of irritating, complex, failure-prone and poorly-documented parts working together just so. When any one aspect of it fails in any way, even temporarily, the flood of complaints is biblical. You know how (ok, you will in a second) pilots call helicopters "ten thousand parts flying in close formation"? Email is like that except all the parts are the jesus nut.
posted by Skorgu at 5:42 AM on December 30, 2007 [7 favorites]


money for email… no way. What do you not trust about your current email provider, Roman 'Paranoid' Graves?
posted by tellurian at 5:51 AM on December 30, 2007


I would like someone to fold my laundry and put it away - but who? Matt Haughey, I trust you, man.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:52 AM on December 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


Bonus: you'll now have to handle spam, users that lose their accounts, etc.
Don't make metafilter into an ISP.
posted by filmgeek at 6:11 AM on December 30, 2007


Matt's a great guy, but MeFi has had zillions of technical issues over the years—breakdowns, security holes, you name it. Why would you "trust" a MeFi mail service?
posted by languagehat at 6:32 AM on December 30, 2007


Roman Graves, it comes down to this: It's a great idea, for you. It's a totally sucky idea, for Matt.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:39 AM on December 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's not a great idea for him either, unless you think Matt's somehow capable of running a better e-mail service than Google. (No offense to Matt—I'm not capable of it either.)
posted by languagehat at 6:49 AM on December 30, 2007


It would significantly change the social dynamic of the whole site, turning participants into customers. No thanks.
posted by scalefree at 7:07 AM on December 30, 2007


Did you ever read that one essay "What if Microsoft made cars?"...
posted by chlorus at 7:18 AM on December 30, 2007


Hmmm. I just give everyone Matt's email address and tell people to use "Attn: Darryl" in the subject line. He forwards the important ones to me and tosses the spam and annoying forwards from friends and family. He is very trustworthy. I wouldn't trust anything he gave me in a dented can, though.
posted by The Deej at 7:19 AM on December 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


It would be awesome if Metafilter started doing cosmetic surgery.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:25 AM on December 30, 2007


This is a cascading pony, in that it will lead to innumerable other features.

"Hey Matt, can you tweak the subject line input field so that it has a blue background?"
"Hey Matt, can you give MeFiMail collapsible conversations like gmail?"
"Hey Matt, can you add chat functionality to MeFiMail?"

Fact is, the few developer hours available to the MeFi team are much better spent on projects that don't involve re-inventing the email wheel for the 1,000,000,000,000,000,000th time.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:26 AM on December 30, 2007


I used to work for an ISP doing tech support for, among other things, email and I will never ever do that again. I would think a @metafilter.com redirector would be sort of cool, but again more work than any human that currently works here would probably want. Many routes to FAIL. Biblical flood of complaints pretty much sums up what that job was like.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:32 AM on December 30, 2007


Biblical flood of complaints pretty much sums up what that job was like.

worse than metatalk?
posted by matteo at 7:46 AM on December 30, 2007


side note: I move* that feature creep/hidden costs associated with pony suggestions be entitled "pony poo."

*pun intended
posted by By The Grace of God at 7:51 AM on December 30, 2007


Will metafilter cook me some bacon?
Meatafilter.com: Delicious Bacon 24/7
posted by blue_beetle at 8:00 AM on December 30, 2007


Here is a list of upcoming MetaFilter features:
  1. automated cat lubrication
  2. bowel monitor
  3. home security
  4. mutual funds and retirement plans
  5. zit treatment
  6. post natal care for mother and child up to 12 mos.
  7. user ability to turn the google on / off
  8. user ability to disconnect hotmail from the google
  9. chroming and bronzing (for items limited in size to no larger than 10cm largest dimension)
  10. pedicure
  11. drinking companion
  12. degreasing
  13. pressure washing and anti-fungal treatment
  14. doobie fabrication
  15. handjobs

posted by Meatbomb at 8:19 AM on December 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


Not necessarily in that order?

NOT NECESSARILY IN THAT ORDER?
posted by davey_darling at 8:48 AM on December 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I already get teased enough for spending an unseemly amount of time on this site, last thing I want is a MEtafilter.com email address to show the whole world what a bacon loving, pony requesting dweeb I am.
posted by Skygazer at 8:52 AM on December 30, 2007


What makes you believe MeFi isn't a CIA front?
posted by b1tr0t at 9:07 AM on December 30, 2007


I thought feature #11 above had been fully implemented.
posted by marxchivist at 9:29 AM on December 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


You just know that as soon as he had our passwords Matt would go in and change all our settings at our ISPs, just like Hotmail does.
posted by bonaldi at 9:42 AM on December 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


Oh, wow, bonaldi -- very nice reklaw reference there.
posted by delfuego at 11:04 AM on December 30, 2007


Here I thought this was going to be a request for an email address that we could direct pony requests to.
posted by Mitheral at 1:20 PM on December 30, 2007


PONY REQUEST:
Could we have an email address that we could direct pony requests to?
posted by The Deej at 1:28 PM on December 30, 2007


EMAIL REQUEST:
Could we have a pony that we could direct emails to?
posted by niles at 2:31 PM on December 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


To throw another wrench in the already wrench-filled mechanisms: quite a few Mefites have spaces or special characters in their usernames. It'd be impossible to give those users working e-mail addresses based on their usernames unless those characters were all stripped out, or unless people were allowed to choose e-mail addresses that were not their usernames at all. At that point an already-annoying project would be even less related to Metafilter than it was in the first place. Which is to say not very related.
posted by bluishorange at 2:32 PM on December 30, 2007


Worst pony request EVAR
posted by special-k at 3:26 PM on December 30, 2007


Anything that increases the number of @ characters around here goes in my crappo file automatically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:36 PM on December 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Biblical flood of complaints pretty much sums up what that job was like.

What Jessamyn means is Old Testament, MetaFilter. Real wrath-of-God-type stuff.

Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling!

Forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes . . .

The dead rising from the grave!

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together--mass hysteria!
posted by Mikey-San at 5:43 PM on December 30, 2007


It should be easy enough to add UUCP notation to MefiMail.
posted by b1tr0t at 5:45 PM on December 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hate ponies.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:45 PM on December 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would think a @metafilter.com redirector would be sort of cool, but again more work than any human that currently works here would probably want. Many routes to FAIL.

Yeah, the worst part is where MeFiMail would change some kind of setting on your ISP's mail server using POP or a webmail interface.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:36 PM on December 30, 2007


I would like someone to fold my laundry and put it away - but who? Matt Haughey, I trust you, man.

Says the furry.

These answers are about what I expected, but like I said, I don't really know anything about the expense or trouble of such a task so I figured I'd bring it up anyway.
posted by Roman Graves at 8:40 PM on December 30, 2007


Possibly using Google Apps? (And assuming Google would allow Matt to add 68000 new users @+/- 420TB.
posted by acro at 11:41 PM on December 30, 2007


This is a great idea, and I can see no way it could be abused.
Matt! You have to do this now.
posted by postmaster at 5:00 AM on December 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Having redirects would be awesome, as I would love to have quin@metafilter.com, but the potential for misuse/ abuse/ I-don't-know-how-to-use is potentially pretty high, so sadly, I don't see it happening.
posted by quin at 7:43 AM on December 31, 2007


This is a great idea, and I can see no way it could be abused.
Matt! You have to do this now.
posted by postmaster


I see what you did there.
posted by The Deej at 10:24 AM on December 31, 2007


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