Are you suffering from MAD (Mail Attachment Disorder)? Chances are that you do. That’s why we created our MAD series: 10 symptoms of Mail Attachment Disorder are uncovered over the course of 5 weeks. Today, we continue the series with Symptom #3 – “Confusion from mail conversations with a growing set of documents and new versions all the time”.


For a simple point-to-point email, an attachment is a great thing. Attach the document to the mail, boom, done! However, as anyone knows, when you start bouncing emails back and forth to negotiate or refine, especially when many documents, large files and multiple participants are involved, it quickly becomes a mess to puzzle together the latest coordinated version of the complete doc set out of the incoming messages. Given the unfortunate reality that multiple email systems tend to structure emails threads and replies differently, it may be hard or even impossible to distinguish which attachments – if any – belong to which message by whom; you may have to assume and we all know where that ends up.

When an agreement is being negotiated, the issue truly becomes critical, as participants may not all have the same set and versions in mind when coming to a conclusion.

So why still accept this kind of irritating inefficiency and risk when a ready-made solution is now available – fast, simple and free?

Here’s how it works – it’s just an interesting variant of MAD symptom #02 all things considered:

1. Go to , create a digital paper bag and add any content that you might want to put there yourself, possibly an instruction note for participants – in that case, give the file a meaningful name before uploading, such as “Read me first.pdf”. Bookmark the bag (hey, it’s just a mini website) and/or consider registering it (under menu on the left) not to lose track of its owner URL.

2. Under the menu on the left, go to “Share bag” and select both “Download files” and “Upload files”, then “Copy link to clipboard”.

3. Now simply paste this link into your email, with basic instructions as to what you expect from contributors: the uploading of all relevant documents, properly labeled with a meaningful filename. When dates are important, prefixing the filenames with YYMMDD may prove useful. When recipients click the link, they will see the bag and its contents. They can browse, preview, download and upload files. During an upload session, a contributor can delete (only) those files being uploaded e.g. because of picking the wrong file. Afterwards, no more deletions are possible by contributors, only by the owner.

4. Contributors can keep the bag up to date over time. When new documents or new versions are created, they can add them to the bag, and everyone will have access to them instantly.

5. In the case as described, only the owner has delete rights to files, so if the content set needs to be curated (e.g. the deletion of non-current versions) then the owner will need to do so. However, if deemed useful and appropriate, you can share the owner link with some or all other participants, for a more distributed curation role.

6. In any case, your bag will act as the digital twin of a king size paper file binder: even the free Quartz Edition of allows for 500 files and 1GB for up to six months. Aside from totally streamlining your content collection process, that should take ample care of any attachment size concerns!


We do have a request for you as well. We know MAD is spreading. Should you have encountered any additional symptoms of MAD that haven’t been covered, then please, by all means, create a document (.docx, PDF, .txt) and add it to the following MAD bag. I personally promise to write an extensive answer and update the bag accordingly so it becomes a living collection of pragmatic MAD solutions.

— Paul Carpentier, CEO, Esoptra


P.S. follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn and stay updated about our upcoming MAD series.

Go to and discover what we mean with ultra-low-friction content sharing.

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