Sunday, February 20, 2011

Canned responses in gmail make it easy to send common messages

Through Gary Rosenzweig's MacMost Now video #509 "Gmail Labs" (January 28, 2011), I first heard of "Canned Responses" in Gmail Labs:
Email for the truly lazy. Save and then send your common messages using a button next to the compose form.
This is a truly handy feature that I have long been waiting for! Yet even though I am aware of Gmail Labs and enabled quite a few experimental features a while ago, I've not been searching Gmail Labs for new features ever since.

Over the past few weeks, I have found "Canned Responses" increasingly indispensable in my support of the 3DNA forum (as a sideline project):
  1. When I activate a new 3DNA forum registration, I've always included a "standard" message to "make the forum policy upfront and explicit, in order to avoid misunderstandings or surprises." Previously, I had to copy-and-paste, e.g., from a specifically created text file or elsewhere. Surely, this worked, but I had felt intuitively that there must be a better way to get the job done. Well, that's exactly where "Canned Responses" fit in!
  2. Over the past few months, I have been ever more bothered by spam registrations. So as a further filter, I have been sending the following enquiry message to each suspicious registration for activation:
    Thanks for your registration at the 3DNA forum. Please tell me a little bit about yourself and elaborate on how 3DNA could be useful to your project; we would like to make the forum spam-free.

    See also "Further notes on forum registration and posting" -- you may not need to register.
    Here once again, the "Canned Responses" feature makes my life much easier! Moreover, this step turns out to be extremely effective; a large percentage of registrations is filtered out at this final stage.
Are you using gmail? If so, you may also want to give "Canned Responses" a try.