[NYCkayaker] Administrivia: please don't send bare links

Rich Kulawiec rsk@rockandwater.net
Fri Mar 15 12:27:10 EDT 2013

A bare link looks something like this:

	From: Fred Flintstone
	Date: Sat Mar  9 09:47:33 EST 2013
	Subject: large rocks and dinosaurs


And when I say "don't send", I mean "don't send them to mailing
lists", but I also mean "don't send them to anyone ever".

Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Your recipient(s) may or may not have any idea what you're talking
about or why you're talking about it.  So be polite: give them a
sentence or two, at least, explaining why you're sending the link,
so that they can decide whether to follow it or not.

2. A growing number of people are using portable/wireless devices.
The ISPs who provide bandwidth to those charge usurious rates under
the best of circumstances.  So your recipient(s) might like to know
if what they're about to see is 2 kbytes of text or 200 mbytes of video
BEFORE they follow the link.

3. Your recipients could be anywhere in any situation.  They could be
in private at home...or in a cubicle at work...or in a bar.  Depending
on what the link entails, it may or may not be appropriate for them
to follow it just then and there.  This is in part why the convention
"NSFW" (not safe for work) is used, so that people don't accidentally
wind up viewing dubious material while at their desk and triggering
a call from HR.   Similarly, flags like "PDF" and "paywall" are often
used to give a heads-up to recipients about what's waiting for them.
But again, a couple of sentences of explanation really helps.

4. As you've all probably observed, there's a major security and spam
problem at several freemail providers -- notably Yahoo.  If you look
at the messages these account hijackers are sending out, you'll notice
that many of them feature: bare links.  Thus if you send out messages
like that, you're making your messages look like spam.  That's not a
good move, doubly so given some of the countermeasures being contemplated
or already in place.

Sooooooo, something like this would be better:

	From: Fred Flintstone
	Date: Sat Mar  9 09:47:33 EST 2013
	Subject: large rocks and dinosaurs

	While Wilma and I were out having brontoburgers last night,
	we came across a terrific art gallery that showcases some of
	best granite and finest hadrosaurs we've ever seen.  Here's
	the home page of their web site, which has a few thumbnails
	of the art inside:



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