Grainne posted recently about the frustration of continually getting the ‘Your mailbox is over its size limit’ in our OU email accounts. I can’t tell you how annoying this – sometimes I am just trying to send a quick response to someone before I have to dash out of the door, but it won’t let me because I have to find and delete any attachment over 2K to free up space. Grrrr.
This isn’t OU bashing, I’ve heard the same from people at other universities and also people not in higher education (I know, they do exist apparently). It’s a small thing but it reveals a number of more important issues:
i) In a time when free email accounts offer gigs of storage, why do institutional services offer a poorer service. Is this another argument for the loosely coupled, or at least outsourced systems (as an aside, good to see Niall and Tony making up over their debate around this).
ii) It portrays a top-down attitude from IT providers to how we should use their systems. I am told when I complain that I shouldn’t use my inbox as a filing system and I should make offline folders. Wrong, I should use them in whatever way is convenient to me (and see next point about filing).
iii) It is a classic example of Weinberger’s distinction between filtering on the way in and filtering on the way out. IT people want me to filter on the way in, that is to save messages to appropriate folders. I want to filter on the way out, that is to search for emails according to different criteria. Faced with information overload, filtering on the way out is the best solution.
So the next time you get a mailbox full message, give them points i) to iii). Then quietly set about deleting your messages.