Communicating thanks to

This is the explanation of my earlier cryptic unlocked post about not putting non-Western characters in your signature file.

As some of you will know, I’ve had the following signature to emails from my gmail account for most of the last twelve months:

Nicholas Whyte
Europe Program Director, ICG
Honorary Fellow, Institute of Governance, QUB
“мислењето на др. Вајт се смета за божја вистина, а моќниците низ целиот свет, кога ќе го слушнат, климаат со главите во молчалива согласност.” – Jason Miko, 1 Feb 2005

The line at the bottom means “Dr. Whyte’s opinion is considered as God’s truth, and throughout the whole world, whoever hears him nods silently in agreement.” It was a quote from a Macedonian commentator who was pissed off with me after my commentary on the outcome of the November 2004 referendum, and my taking it out of context was a rather childish, obscure and self-indulgent way of getting my revenge for his article (which really got under my skin at the time).

Well, a couple of people had emailed me to let me know that my messages to them were being bounced back specifically because of the Cyrillic characters, so I made a mental note to delete the relevant lines whenever contacting them; it did not occur to me that some email systems might just delete the entire message.

Then over the last few days I tried a couple of times to send messages to , and she reported that they were coming to her completely blank. This evening, driving my mother to the airport, I suddenly thought, “Aha! I bet it is the Cyrillic that ‘s email system objects to.”

And then a very cold sensation ran down my spine, and I thought, “I wonder if that explains why I never got a reply to the long and heartfelt job application letter I sent that lobbying firm back on December 14th???”

So, to repeat: Do NOT put non-Latin characters into your signature file. Full internationalisation has not yet hit email as widely as I would have wished.

One thought on “Communicating thanks to

  1. I have a recollection that times in Pittsburgh English are described differently from in my native English, and that some confusion resulted. Is it possible that “half-ten” means 09:30 in western Pennsylvania? I don’t remember, but it was something along those lines.

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