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user interface problems (was Re: request discussion of two documents on SMTP relaying)

2005-06-19 13:08:27

Today's users want
something working like a TV, "PnP", not a hobby where
a university degree helps to get started.

And to say something on topic, it's "our" job to give
them a really "simple mail transfer protocol".  It's
their right to think that a "mail header" is "black
magic", and to refuse to read tons of RfCs and FAQs.

If you're an "expert" asked about this, and you start
with "well, all of this forged anyway", you lose.  It
doesn't help if you then try to explain "bounces to",
IPs, or anonymous mail.  Bye, Frank

I don't disagree with you.  But somehow users have managed to
understand several similar concepts in the world of snail mail.  

Most people can grasp how a forger can print his own letterhead, 
print a message onto it, and fake a signature at the bottom - why 
can't they understand that similar things are possible in email?   

Most people could look at a letter and notice whether the signature
at the bottom of the letter had the same name as the "from" address
in the heading of the letter.

Most people understand that when the postal service decides to return a
message it's going to return it to the address on the outside of the
envelope, and when you send a reply you're going to send it to the
address in the letter itself.

Granted there are some things that are hard to understand about
digital signatures - like the notion of a certificate chain.  But I think
most of these things could be made clear with well-designed user


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