The Rage Click Email Client Refresh Experience

“Rage clicking” is when a user really expects some software to do something when they click somewhere, and it doesn’t seem to, so they just keep clicking and clicking and clicking. Like pressing the close door button in an elevator 100 times because you’re in a hurry.

Sometimes the user really is raging, like they are upset that the software isn’t doing the thing, but sometimes it’s because they know there is some delay and they are just being impatient.

I witnessed both myself and a fellow developer doing this recent as we worked on an email-related feature of a website. We were sending test emails to ourselves, and the system took a little bit to send the email. When we needed to look at it (we were screen sharing) we’d clickclickclickclick the thing in our email client to refresh it until the email came.

In Gmail, that’s clicking the “Inbox” link, as that seems to fire off a “Loading…” message really quickly which makes me feel like it’s doing something and looking for new email. In his client, he had a pull-to-refresh feature he’d do over and over. Both were satisfying. I’m not sure I’d try to engineer a way out of this kind of rage-clicking, just a little bit of UI feedback that the client is trying during the rage clicking is enough.


Hype reel:

Thought party:

  • Coupling of TODOs and email might be awesome for some folks but doesn’t typically work for me. Much like my web development work, I generally like it when big important things are decoupled.
  • Every email client wants you to think that they are the one that will help you get through your inbox faster. I don’t think it’s really a client that can help with that. It’s you, you need to get better at it.
  • I like they part where they just type a “Thanks for the feeback!” one-liner and then archive the email. Lolz. I’m gonna file this in my “super great ideas” folder next.

I guess I’m just more and more skeptical that an email client is what helps you be good at email. Getting good at email is on you.


One thing thats worth some deeper discussion at some point is what your email address actually is. Is your full name in it? Is it clever or straightforward? Is it on a major email provider or do you use your own domain?

I’ve always been slightly weird in that I trust people’s email address on a major email provider more than I trust their own domains. Like if I have two emails for you, one being and the other being, I trust being able to reach you at the address more, but there is less technologically that can go wrong there. It’s not like a huge problem, but I find if an email is going to bounce or fail to deliver, it will be at your custom setup.

But I say that I’m weird in that generally I think people have more trust for owned-domain emails. Like that establishes a “real business” more than using some free service does. Fair enough.

That leads me to Sidemail, which is just a random link I came across and figured I’d share. The point of the service (2 bucks a month for one project), is that you can have a “” email address set up, but not have to deal with the technical debt (aside from trusting them). You still use your personal inbox, but you can receive and send from this custom-domain email.

Seems like a good middle ground. I’ve always done best with a single inbox. I have drifted away from that lately (having shared inboxes with unique shared groups of people) and email has gotten harder because of it. Maybe I’ll have to take some steps to unify again.

How to say no.

A bunch of templates on this touchy activity. Like this one on avoiding a phone call

Hey {{ first_name }},

Thanks so much for reaching out.

My schedule has been crazy lately, and these days, email is usually more convenient for me instead of the phone. Would you mind if we kept the discussion here?

I like this even more though. Encourage them to get on with it with one line:

Hey {{ first_name }},

What do you want to talk about?

No, I Won’t Link to Your Spammy Article

I love that Troy Hunt has a blog post with that title that isn’t intended really for you or I to read, but for assholes that email him asking for spammy links.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve arrived here from a link I sent you via email. 

I get these email requests all too often myself. They look like this:

In that case, Greg is a real person and the article he wants me to link to is at least sort of topical. But it still spam, and I’m I don’t appreciate this kind of “marketing”. In fact, ButterCMS is obnoxious enough about it that I have scrubbed my site of legit links to them anyway as they should not be rewarded in any way for this kind of behavior.

Here’s one where it’s less clear if it’s a real person or not, but still on the dartboard:

And here’s one where they are just throwing darts in the ocean:

Troys post:

Alrighty, so it’s an unsolicited message (I certainly didn’t ask for it) and it’s intended to advertise your work. And that’s really what you’re asking for here – free advertising. You want people reading my content to leave my site and head on over to yours where they’ll not only read your content, but (probably) view your ads and drive revenue for you.

Thing is, it’s probably not even “your” site anyway because there’s a very high likelihood that you’re an Oompa Loompa in the “digital marketing” space tasked with spamming people like me (remember, you’re only allowed to have gotten down to here if you understand what spam is) in order to drive clicks. It’s either clicks alone or clicks and SEO courtesy of establishing more inbound links in an attempt to artificially inflate the popularity of the site.

Troy’s idea is to then put the keywords they want linked up into this post on his site so maybe he’ll get the SEO instead of them. Dangerous tactic, it seems to me, as it it makes the post body read like spam instead of the legit article it is. At least it doesn’t link anywhere spammy though.

I have strong emotions when it comes to this stuff, too. Last time I wrote about spam:

When I’m particularly frustrated, I think about changing my opinion on the death penalty. This asshole is using my software, which I work so hard at making awesome, to cheat and steal from others.

And not only are they trying to hurt others, they hurt me. Their spam puts CodePen at risk of Google thinking it’s a spam farm and displaying nasty warnings when people come there and removing us from search results. A devastating blow for any website.

And not only are they hurting others and me, they are hurting my team. All of us want CodePen to succeed because we believe in it, but we also need it to succeed because we’re trying to make a good life for ourselves and not succeeding means taking a step back.

And not only are they hurting others, me, and my team, they are hurting the internet. Think of how much better the internet would be if so many smart people didn’t constantly have to spend so much time and mental effort battling nefarious crap like spam and online fraud. Straight up, it would be better. Information would be easier to find, at least.

So this asshole is basically roundhouse kicking everything in my life that I love. And for that they should die.

But then I’m having a better day and new thoughts replace those murderous ones. Surely life is quite hard where this spammer lives. Maybe getting a job at the spam factory is the only way they can feed their family. They are just clicking some buttons and hitting some keys — how bad is that really? Certainly it’s not as bad as their cousin who shovels industrial waste into the river.

And here I am, with my great life in my happy home on my high horse thinking awful things about them. Should I just shut up and deal with it? Or are these really terrible people who need a dose of wrath? Or is there some middle ground? I wish I knew how to do life good.


Gmail Unsubscriber is a Google Apps Script for unsubscribing from unwanted emails newsletters and other bulk email with one click. 

Looks like a modified version is working for Anil. Thread:

I dig the idea of automating it if you’re in a problematic situation.

But even more, I like the idea of never letting it become a problem because you’re always pruning your email.

Typing out names by hand

I often start emails like:

Hey Jude,

Just “Hey”, their first name, and a comma. Then two line breaks, and launch into things.

Sometimes I copy and paste their first name from elsewhere on my screen at the movement, but usually I don’t. I often look at their name and type it out myself letter by letter. Just a minor little personal thing. I’m speaking to them, the least I can do is actually learn how to spell their name, at least for a moment.

You literally don’t have to answer any particular email.

That’s pretty obvious. A lot of emails you just glance at and archive. But some are talking directly to you, and often literally asking you to respond. Same thing, you can just hit archive if you want. Everything is a choice. You might be missing an opportunity. You might be being rude. But we make those same choices through other actions all the time.

I thought of it this weekend because I chose to respond to an email that was really on the fence (between me just archiving and me sending a probe response). The email was vague about an opportunity. The response we vague again. I responded again (oh god, my ad). The response was again woefully lack in detail. I responded again (I’m the worst) basically telling them this was silly and I’m done. They seemed offended. I should archived the first one, and I definitely should have archived all the rest of them.