Jeremy Smith's blog

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Answering Comments about Mail Statistics

Responding to the two comments in Email Box Storage Stats Broken Down by Role.

Gregory Szorc asks:

Many universities actually use squirrelmail as their official web client. Why doesn't Case?

Soon after we had the new mail system up and running (I had joined ITS from Weatherhead just at that point – at the tail end of the big mail/LDAP/calendar project), I quickly became displeased with our webmail (this was even before GMail). I had demonstrated an installation of SquirrelMail and IMP running and working atop our IMAP server. But the idea didn't get traction at the time. The counter-argument most often heard involved having to bring the Helpdesk on board so that they could adequately troubleshoot yet-another-email-webclient, and that that would take too much time and wasn't worth it.

Now, in this post-GMail-world, the displeasures of our webmail interface are more apparent. Especially when you look at the statistics:

Average Active POP Connections: 300
Average Active IMAP Connections: 140
Average Active Webmail Connections: 180

No doubt, a majority of the webmail connections are students. To students, having grown up on Yahoo! and Hotmail, email is webmail. And, don't forget, this is the summer. The webmail connection rate is far higher during the fall and spring semesters.

I do bring it up... a lot. Our webmail is below par. People agree with me. They nod their heads. But I can't get people to greenlight a project around setting up an IMP, Squirrelmail, or Roundcude; running it without helpdesk support as a Beta; and then gather feedback from our users and decide where to go from there. If I could get someone to greenlight it, I would do it.

Aaron Shaffer remarks:

My interpretation of the low forwarding numbers is that students use Case webmail for receiving mail but not sending

For students and staff, I actually think those forwarding numbers are quite high. We've got over 10,000 "students." So, ~10% of that means that there are around 1000 students who have forwarded their email to gmail. And, remember, this is only gmail. I didn't count AOL, Hotmail, or Yahoo! (or anywhere else). I just wanted a representative slice.

Is there any chance you can get statistics on the ratio of messages sent to messages received at

Not broken down like this.