New nerd merit badge: Inbox Zero

200902190914 A while ago, I wrote about the launch of Nerd Merit Badges, to be worn by people who want to show off their geeky achievements. The first one was for folks who have contributed to an Open Source software project.

The new one, just announced, is for those dedicated souls who have strived to experience -- if only for a moment -- the Zen-like, fulfilling emptiness of Inbox Zero (in other words, cleaning out your email inbox). It's a beaut! New nerd merit badge: Inbox Zero


  1. The Order of the Torn Pocket Protector should be next.
    Then there should be colors across a bar each indicating languages the wearer can code.
    “Will code HTML for Food” is good.

  2. I don’t get the point of having an inbox 0… with mail apps that allow instant searching, it makes more sense to retain every piece of mail that you have ever received.

  3. @zeinin I think the point of having inbox 0 is not that everything has been deleted but rather that is has been dealt with (and in the case of Gmail as you seem to be suggesting, archived). It is rather peaceful to have a clear inbox rather than a near infinite pile of read emails that don’t need to be in your face anymore even though you can still query it to your heart’s content.

  4. @ZEININ

    For me it’s about wanting to clean out said inbox and organize it. Do I really need every Amazon notification? No, but I need it for a week until the box gets here. That can get deleted! Do I need every e-mail from the wife? No, but I better just store it in her own folder so I don’t get yelled at later. Now I don’t search the entire inbox, I search one folder, making it faster and quicker to get what I’m looking for.

    Expediency, streamling and using my time better is what Inbox 0 is about for me. That and getting rid of the digital flotsam that piles up in my life.

  5. There are plenty of nerds who experience this on a daily basis. . . because they don’t have any friends to send them emails.

  6. Hot damn, Boing-ed again! Thanks, Mark!

    Hmm, having a project mentioned on BoingBoing gives me such an awesome, proud feeling. If only there were some way of commemorating the occasion of getting mentioned on the Big Blog. Something I could, I dunno, wear…

  7. You are all much too popular to be upper-level nerds.

    #10 ILL LICH is right, no friends = no incoming mail (since your spectacularly effective spam-filter eliminates all the junk).

  8. I achieve zero unread messages by the end of every day, if not zero messages (read or unread), but I’m pretty OCD about it. I have complete faith that with enough filters anyone can achieve this. It takes me about 50 filters in gmail for m to achieve inbox nirvana and people with crazier online lives than me might require more.

    If you regularly don’t read email with certain common attributes, why even have them show up in your inbox at all? The thought of regularly having things show up in my inbox that you know you will never read seems entirely pointless and avoidable.

    If your inbox is limited to the emails that you actually want to read, you will read them all. If they regularly go unread, then obviously you don’t actually want or need to read them.

  9. Ah. Only 27,348 messages to go (some of which date back twenty years). If only I manage to outlive everyone, then I can evade this.

  10. I used to have tons of filters to keep regular messages from flooding my inbox (being a sysadmin, there’s a lot of status updates), but I realized I never actually read them. Now I let them hit my inbox first so I can review them, verify there’s no action I need to take, and archive them.

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