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An Open Letter to Gmail's Priority Inbox 30.11.2010

or, also known as

My Inbox Secretary Has Dementia

Dear Priority Inbox,

I've been a great fan of yours since you rolled into my life by way of brilliance in engineering, algorithmic perfection, and raw computing power. I love the concept too, it’s like having a secretary read through all your email (which you do already of course), and then set boolean flags for each of them (important and unread, starred, important, etc). Great.

Because of you, I have been able to reply to messages that was important, unread, and urgent. This is truly handy, in days of receiving large volumes of email, where brain cycles needed for sorting those lines of recipients, subjects and dates, are better preserved for other, more rewarding stuff, such as, consuming copious amounts of mezzo-prandial edibles and perfecting your Facebook in-stream insults.

Anyway, I didn't write you all this just to pat you on the back, because, Priority Inbox, you and me, in spite of having spend a lot of time together, watching each other (in a totally non-voyeuristic, platonic manner), sharing best practices, even sometimes sharing a good joke, we have come to the parting of our road of mutual enjoyment. Quite frankly, we disagree profusely about some very important issues with regards to my inbox. I'm not saying it's your fault entirely, but it has to do with priority and importance, which would be your métier, not mine.

Without packing it in further, we seem to have communication issues. One day a week I receive 5 emails in a bundle, always the same day of the week, always the same amount of emails, always at the same time, from the same sender, with roughly the same title, with the same attachment. These properties unfortunately seem to elicitate your "OMG this must be TEH important emailz of today!!1!"-filter, and you promptly mark them all "Important", and they float to the top.

In the beginning I was like "meh, alright, you silly computer". It's true, I am the only recipient of those emails, it is written to my account specifically, they do have long subjects that make them look important, and yes, they do have attachments, but ffs, if I have marked them "Not Important" every.fecking.time they arrive since the dawn of your inception, why do you so adamantly insist on them being so effing important?

As I said, I'm putting this down to a case of communication difficulties, but I was wondering if there was any other way to tell you how I feel about these things? The binary option I have been given to influence your amazing decision power (the bleeding obvious "Mark as Not Important"), is not having the expected effect. In fact, every day these emails arrive, I feel like we are on each side of the table in the argument clinic, having a contradiction, and not really an argument (“these mails are important” - “no, they are aren’t” - “yes they are” - “no, they aren’t” etc, ad nauseam). Is there anything else I can do to relay to you, that these emails, are not important? Would it help fire your learning synapsis, if I choreographed a dance for you, and performed it to the sound of whales singing in the pacific, how completely unimportant these emails are to me, and hence should be to you too? Can I tell you, via elaborate carvings in the outer layers of onions? Can I braid it in fresh chives grown in the soil of any vulcanic mediterranean isle? Someone I can write to, pray to?

No, you say? Well then we shall part. You have seized to be my priority, inbox.

› Bio (sort of)

Bio pictureverture.net is the personal website of me, Jonas Voss, and this is my blog. I've lived in Dublin, Ireland from 2005-10, currently live in London, and was born and fully customized in Copenhagen, Denmark. I write about anything that comes to mind. Really.
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Disclaimer: I speak for myself, not my employer. srsly. || This work is licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa License.