Favorite emails of 2021

A couple weeks ago an email arrived in my inbox with the subject, “hi all.” I didn’t immediately recognize the sender’s name, but figured he might be someone I knew from my years working on the jQuery team, a notion made all the more likely by the other 228 people on the recipient list, many of whom I had collaborated with on the open source software project. When I opened the message, I was expecting to read a nice little note reminiscing about the good old days of hacking on code or writing documentation or hosting conferences. What I found instead was a single question: “do you not regret what you have done?”

email with subject 'hi all' and body 'do you not regret what you have done?'

I was flummoxed. What could we have done that would be cause for such regret? And what could possibly justify this email? Granted, it wasn’t the first time I’d received a menacing message about jQuery. A few years ago a guy sent me a Facebook message accusing me of infecting his website with malware. One of the scripts the site was using had some code that I had authored, and he found my name in the file. I tried to explain to him how this sort of thing could happen, but he was convinced that I was some nefarious hacker who was trying to damage his site. He gave me an ultimatum: remove the malware within 36 hours, or he would report me to the FBI. I can’t say I called the man’s bluff, exactly, but I didn’t remove the malware. I couldn’t have, even if I’d wanted to. A few days later I remembered the message and smiled at the now silly thought of the feds breaking down my door.

Almost as quickly as I had processed the aggression of the first email, a second one arrived, just as terse though more conciliatory, from the same sender. All it said was, “sorry, typo, meant to send to someone else.”

email with subject 're: hi all' and body 'sorry, typo, meant to send to someone else'I wonder if he did not regret what he had done. Hilarious. What surprised me most about this whole situation was that not a single recipient sent a “reply all.”  I was waiting for a witty response—or at least a reference to the infamous “No Ragrets” tattoo. But instead, not a word. Radio silence. Maybe people don’t have time for that kind of thing anymore. I used to get a lot of chain emails—almost all of them unwanted, of course—but not anymore. I guess people would rather waste their time on social media.

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