What does empty mean to you?

I like email, but sometimes it can be darn cantankerous.

Our ministry has an email list. We send updates to our partners roughly every week (or every other week, or whenever Scott says, “You know, we haven’t sent an update in a while. Would you write one today?”) and sometimes daily. Lately, we have learned that many of the folks on our email list are not receiving what we send.

Troubleshooting queen that I am, I did a trial (experimental, not judicial) yesterday. I sent out an email asking everyone who received it to reply with “got it” in the subject line. I received two replies, which, out of nearly 150 addresses, was disheartening. I use Outlook Express to get my email.

I then went to the online inbox for the address to which people had been asked to reply. It was empty, but I noticed that there is also a “junk” folder and a “trash” folder, both of which said “empty” beside them. I had never actually opened either of those, because obviously I could tell by looking at them that they were (duh!) empty. However, something urged me to open the trash folder anyway, and lo and behold there were almost 200 messages in there, some from up to six months ago! So “empty” didn’t mean the folder was empty. It meant that I should click on the word “empty” in order to empty the folder. Aha! I’ve been home all along, but now the lights are on.

I will not bore you with the details of trying to figure out how and why all those replies got into the trash folder. Suffice it to say it involved another hour or so of computer fun, fun, fun and all kind of gyrations with our ISP, the web-based email provider, mail forward, and account settings.  I enjoyed reading all 175 of those replies and I almost cried with gratitude.  You see, for months, we have not heard much from our partners and we assumed that people just didn’t care.  Those emails showed that LOTS of people do care a great deal!  Yay!

I think it’s all straightened out now, and I think I can hit mail forward and receive into Outlook Express the messages that are being sent to me. Of course, that doesn’t solve the problem of a LOT of our outbound ministry updates being returned to me undeliverable, (all suspiciously to yahoo addresses. . . hmmm. . .), but that will be a challenge for another day.

And now my trash folder is really and truly “empty.”

1 Response to “What does empty mean to you?”

  1. 1 Dan Fulbright February 4, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Patty, I just sent you an e-mail about all of this, so make sure you check your junk mail folder, in case my message ended up there!


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