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Diddums - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
j4
j4
Diddums
From an irate email to webmaster:

"Every day, over three hundred email recipients within the University have to clear out 20 to 30 junk emails which can take up to 30 minutes."

20 to 30! How awful!

(This is before I even get to the question of how on earth it can take you 30 minutes to delete 30 junk emails... unless they mean a total of 30 man-minutes across the 300 email recipients within the University ... and if so, why have they selected those 300 out of the 30,000-odd email recipients in the University?)

Current Mood: amusedly irritated

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Comments
crazyscot From: crazyscot Date: May 24th, 2004 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Is that all? They should ask mgk25 about his spam problem...
From: kaet Date: May 24th, 2004 10:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I get about 5000 spams a day through univesrity accounts, which are mainly dealt with electronically but stuff I've had to set up myself, and have probably spent 3 man-weeks (or 3 dan-weeks anyway) on the problem over the past two years.

I guess they did say upto 20 to 30 minutes. I know I have zombie days when deleting a mail could easily take a minute. But it's not as if I'd be more productive doing anything else instead. Doing something productive would be positively dengerous, in fact, :).
imc From: imc Date: May 24th, 2004 10:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe I'm missing something (more probably the sender is), but why was this complaint addressed to the webmaster?
j4 From: j4 Date: May 24th, 2004 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
It was in the context of a long rant about how we'd put their email address up in violation of the DPA (it was in the Graduate Prospectus, they should have been asked at the time whether they consented to their email address being on the web version as well as the paper version, and besides, they're the contact point for their department, so they bloody well should have their email address up on the web...) and the only solution to spam was not to put any email addresses on the web, ever.
nja From: nja Date: May 24th, 2004 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's debatable whether work email addresses (and telephone numbers etc) are "personal data" under the DPA. Our advice is that if it's in the context of a role (e.g. admissions secretary) it's fine to put someone's email address or phone number on the web and they can't use the DPA to object.

20-30 spam messages taking half an hour to process? This moron is reading the things! I filter out about 90% of the spam, and the remnant is deleted just by looking at the subject line.
j4 From: j4 Date: May 25th, 2004 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Our advice is that if it's in the context of a role (e.g. admissions secretary) it's fine to put someone's email address or phone number on the web and they can't use the DPA to object.

Is this advice documented on the web anywhere? It'd be useful to point people here at it if so.

This moron is reading the things!

That was the only explanation I could think of. But, I mean, FFS... "Oooh, what's this email? 'Fresh t33n fuc|< cam'... what's one of those? I'd better read it and see what needs to be actioned."
nja From: nja Date: May 25th, 2004 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Verbal presentation, I'm afraid. The advice was that you can say "Please contact the admissions secretary by emailing xxx@yyy", but you can't say "Please contact Dr Zzzz the admissions secretary by emailing xxx@yyy" without permission because that links the email address to the person's name and it then becomes personal data. Same with phone numbers - Dr Zzzz can object to having his phone number on the web by his name, but if his phone number is the one to ring for admissions advice, he's got no grounds for objection provided his name isn't mentioned.

I think a lot of people open those emails from "Requirement Q. Algorithm" with no subject, which I bin unread. One of these days someone with a funny name is going to send me something important and I'll bin it without thinking.
j4 From: j4 Date: May 25th, 2004 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Darn. This is all eminently sensible but unless it's written down the people round here won't give it the time of day.

I know what you mean about the funny-name emails. We got a genuine one from "Gaynor A. Hollander" which I nearly binned just today.

The other problem is that as webmaster we get all kinds of bizarre mails, in the text formatting equivalent of green crayon, from [whatever]@hotmail which usually go "PLEASE TO SEND ME FOR APPLY FORMS THE CAMBRIDGE DEGREE IN BANKING I HAVE DEGREE IN WHICH TO CONVERT ENLGISH AND AM HIGHLY SKILL IN ARTS" or "i cant access your website pls fix now urgent!!!!!!!" or similar, so it's quite hard to filter at all...
nja From: nja Date: May 25th, 2004 06:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I deal with a lot of overseas students, so I'm used to genuine email from people with names like Abdul A Karim whose idea of a good subject is "YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE REQUIRED". Sadly, none of the real people are offering me a share in a $25 billion fortune.
From: rmc28 Date: June 5th, 2004 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
It sounds like the sort of thing the CS web support people or the university DPA people should be documenting really, but I can't find much at either http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/dpa/ or http://web-support.csx.cam.ac.uk/

Martin Lucas-Smith gave a reasonable presentation on protecting email addresses from spam harvesters at the last web liaison meeting, but he's only got the one sentence about how you do actually need to have email addresses on web pages.
lusercop From: lusercop Date: May 25th, 2004 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)
A friend of mine (who works for Tiscali UK's NOC) got sent this as justification for 32 IP addresses (a /27). Hopefully this will make your problems seem a bit easier...
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