I always find these sentiments strange because I find what I love about email and dislike about other forms of online communication is that email is strongly asynchronous and puts me in a lot of control of how I choose to interact with it. Slack, IRC, and other more synchronous forms of communication (even if they are supposedly asynchronous in some cases they are designed and used with synchronous use in mind) are much harder for me to be in control of how I use them because there are stronger cues to use them in interrupt-driven ways. Email can, of course, degenerate in this way, and it seems that’s what happens in some cultures (offices, etc.), but then the problem is the culture, not the tool.
If you dislike a particular email (or Slack or in-person) culture you don’t like, change it, not the tools. If you don’t, you’ll just end up unhappy on a different tool.
Yes, I hear your thoughts that if the culture was a certain way, then it wouldn’t be an issue.
I resonate with the author’s point though too, that because the marginal cost of email is now so low, it requires an explicit cultural intervention to improve the harm-benefit tradeoff of email.
The cultures didn’t have the problem, then email came around, now they do have the problem, so in some ways the problem is both the culture and the tool, and could be solved by modifying either.