When I rule with an iron fist

Once I succeed in becoming supreme dictator, the following rules will be enforced on pain of imprisonment:

  • All measurements will be in SI units or derived metric quantities.

  • All dates and times will be written in ISO8601 formats, and measured in UTC. A special exemption will be made for astronomers, who will be allowed to continue to use Astronomical Time.

  • All times will be in UTC, and hence “daylight savings” will be illegal.

  • All paper sizes will follow the DIN A and B series.

and the rule I’m adding today:

  • E-mail clients will be prohibited from deleting non-spam e-mail.

Disk space is cheap, really cheap. I got a silent 200GB Seagate hard drive for $99. That’s big enough to hold an entire lifetime’s e-mail, and then some. You do not need to delete e-mail. At most, you need to move it from your regular inbox to some kind of archive.

In particular—and here we see the motivation for the prohibition—you should never ask anyone to re-send you an e-mail on the grounds that you deleted it. Deleting e-mail because you’re too lazy to file it, and then whining to the sender that you need another copy, merely proves that you are a rude and insensitive clod. We all have enough crap in our inboxes without having to deal with e-mail from you asking for the same information over and over again. If your e-mail client doesn’t have a search option and multiple folders, get one that does. Even web mail has search and folders these days.

Also, if the company you work for has a policy that your e-mail be deleted periodically, then the pain of that policy falls on you, not me. It’s up to you to make sure you copy out all useful information from your e-mail and file it somewhere permanent. I will not waste my time putting up with your corporate bureaucracy; believe me, I have more than enough to deal with already.