60 Seconds of WIP, 7 July 2023

My extensive survey of precisely one person shows that nobody wants to look at my face, so I’m switching these over to MP3. When surveyed, I was very firm on that point. It will also let me put this silly thing into podcast channels.

This week I discuss Delivery Status Notifications, and how everyone loathes read receipts. Email is asynchronous, and should always remain so.

Reading transcript:

Users want to know if emails they send are received or go astray. Delivery Status Notifications, or DSNs, fulfill that role. Most often these notices are not returned to the human sender, instead appearing in error logs or SMTP transactions. One purpose behind the design of extended status codes was to support a detailed system of DSNs.

Message senders might want to know when recipients read their messages. It turns out that when those same senders receive messages in turn, they aren’t so keen on letting others know they’ve read their email. Many people prefer privacy about when they read emails. Additionally, email clients can only see when a message has been opened, not when the recipient actually reads the text. While a few enterprise systems like Microsoft Exchange still offer unreliable “read receipt” notices, they’re not built on DSNs.