[OT] Contacting me



#18

Hi, all

    I've recently noticed that many people that do try to
    send me a message, either via direct e-mail to my public address
    or via this MoHP forum message mechanism, frequently forget to include
    the text string "HP CALCS" in the subject line, as instructed
    in my web page.

    Just in case you didn't know or simply forgot about it, that's
    the *only* way that your message may have a chance to reach to me, because any
    message not including "HP CALCS" in the subject will automatically
    be redirected to the trash bin, sight unseen, without me even
    noticing that it ever arrived.

    If you happened to send me some message and were appalled at my
    lack of response, rest assured that the only reason I did not
    reply was that your message didn't have the required "HP CALCS"
    subject line, as I always reply within a few days at most to any message sent to me (as
    long as it is an honest, polite request, of course).

    Sorry for the off-topic, thanks and

Best regards from V.

#19

So, should I rather be appalled that you "blame it on the computer"?

;-)


#20

Excuse me ?

I don't understand what you mean :-(

Best regards from V.


#21

Quote:
I've recently noticed that many people that do try to send me a message, either via direct e-mail to my public address or via this MoHP forum message mechanism, frequently forget to include the text string "HP CALCS" in the subject line, as instructed in my web page.

Let's see if I have this right: You *know* people are sending you messages but *you* don't want to respond because they didn't go to your website to find the secret password?

Now that's appalling ;-)

Question: If I sent you a message via the MoHPC system, how would I know you have a website?


#22

Hi, Randy:

Randy posted:

    "Let's see if I have this right: You *know* people are sending you messages but *you* don't want to respond because they didn't go to your website to find the secret password?"

      First of all, thanks for your interest in my post. Now, I dont "*know*", I just "noticed" by sheer accident.

      Second, you've read far too many novels: I don't call it "secret password" but "spam filter". My public address is that, public, so it gets tons and tons of spam, about 1000 spam e-mails for each legitimate one or more, most of which are potentially harmful even to just open, if not downright disgusting.

      Thus it's not that I "don't want to respond because they didn't go to your website to find the secret password", but else that unless I filter out the spam there's no way I would ever be able to find the legitimate messages sent to me among that many garbage.

      The "HP CALCS" subject does just that: any message not including it is considered spam and immediately deleted, any message including it does end up in the Inbox for me to eventually read it.

      And, just in case you were thinking or implying that I want to force people to visit my website, nothing could be further from the truth: my website, in its actual status, is rather worthless to visit save for the occasional article which I make available online periodically, and which gets announced here when I upload it. I'm not interested in the least in the visitor's count or whether it's linked or not from other sites. Matter of fact, I think that there is no link to it in the appropriate Links section of this MoHP site, for instance, but whether that's the case or not, I doesn't trouble me in the least.

    "Now that's appalling ;-)"

      You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but I've found no better way to deal with the spam, and just by googling for the pretty obvious "albillo hp calcs" search string will immediately get you to my web page, where the "HP CALCS" subject line theme is explained at the very beginning.

      Unfortunately, there's no provision in the MoHP forum posting system to include such a warning, and repeating it here periodically would be unpolite, incredibly narcissistic on my part, and quickly get on everyone's nerves: just imagine if many other people did the same, the forum would get crowded with "How to contact me!" instructions.

    "Question: If I sent you a message via the MoHPC system, how would I know you have a website? "

      If you're a regular, that should be known to you because I frequently include references to its existence when I put online some articles, etc. If you're a newbie, you must assume you don't know everything and a useful strategy is to google to see if that person has a website or a blog or does post in the news.

      That failing, and in urgent cases, it's rather common to post a message such as "Mr. XX, I want to contact you!" or something like that, which normally gets read and answered immediately.

    Also, please take into consideration that I don't get paid for answering unrequested e-mails and thus I am under no obligation whatsoever to reply to anyone or read each and every mail sent to me, let alone thread among thousands of spam just to find the few legitimate ones. I just do it out of politeness and as a contribution to the HP community, in case I can be of any help to someone or someone wants to discuss some HP- or math-related matter with me. This being the case, I stablish the appropriate rules that suit me and that's it.

    Anyway, if you can think of a better mechanism, short of posting a front-page add in each and every publication in the world, I'll certainly consider it and will thank you for it.

Best regards from V.

Edited: 10 May 2007, 7:53 a.m.


#23

Hi Valentin,

Quote:
Unfortunately, there's no provision in the MoHP forum posting system to include such a warning

I thought there was a way. But when I went and took a look at the Forum account management I see that the "Forum email comment" shows up only on a public e-mail - not private e-mail addresses. Following is quote from Forum Account Mangement.

Quote:
Forum email comment is displayed in the contact form if someone tries to email you and you have a Forum Email Address which isn't Private. It is usually used to tell a human how to fix an obscured email address. For example "Remove SPAM from the email address." Unless you use an obscured email address, you will usually leave this blank.


QUESTION TO DAVE HICKS - Could this be changed so that this Email Comment would appear for both Public AND private email?

Is there some downside to doing this that I'm missing?

Seems like that would solve your problem - at lest for anyone using the museum e-mail system.

I'll also send Dave an e-mail direct asking if this could be changed in case he misses my question buried in this message.

Bill


#24

Hi, Bill:

    Thank you very much for taking the trouble, it certainly seems that if the proposal you make could be arranged, that would certainly solve the problem. Including a comment such as:


      "Please include HP CALCS in the subject line to avoid the
      automatic spam filtering"

    would be clear enough. I don't see a downside to this, really,
    but Mr. Hicks will surely know better.

    And, by the way, I've checked how did I exactly set up this "spam filter", and the rules are slightly more relaxed, namely, as long as "HP CALCS" is included in the Subject and/or in the email's Body, it will reach me. So, for instance:

      Subject: HP CALCS

    or

      Subject: Re your Mean Matrices article (HP CALCS)

    or

      Subject: Re your Mean Matrices article

      Body: [...] and best regards from Bill (HP CALCS) [...]

    would all pass muster and be delivered to the Inbox.

    Thanks again and

Best regards from V.


#25

My experience on a nice mailing list elsewhere is that any message sent to the list has its subject prepended with [XYZ] (XYZ different in real life, would be HPMUSEUM here I guess) before being forwarded to list members.

I can imagine a simple mechanism by which any email sent with the HPMuseum reply system would have this marker added. It would not go really in the way and anyone would have a chance to set a spam filter like yours.

Sold ?


#26

Thanks for your sensible input, GE.

Best regards from V.

#27

It's actually a snide comment, not in keeping with the generally positive tenor of this forum. I apologize for giving in to one of my base urges.

I would say (and this observation also comes from a software developer's standpoint) that you may be putting forth an unfortunately over-complex user interface. Expecting others to remember the particular details required for contact may put you further out of touch than intended.


#28

Hi, Paul:

Paul posted:

"I would say (and this observation also comes from a software developer's standpoint) that you may be putting forth an unfortunately over-complex
user interface. Expecting others to remember the particular details required for contact may put you further out of touch than intended.
"

    Thanks for your comment, the present one that is, as I still don't understand the previous "sarcastic" one, it was lost on me.

    As for your statement "Expecting others to remember the particular details required for contact may put you further out of touch than intended", I think this is putting the cart before the horse.

    In other posts of mine in this very thread I've quite clearly explained the rationale for the required subject (or body, actually) string, which may be liked or not but certainly is in no way arbitrary or irrational, so I won't repeat myself here.

    But about the reversed situation, I don't expect anyone to remember anything to contact with me, nor do I have any special interest in being contacted at all, I'm fully busy right now as it is. The one and only reason I provide a public address is because of a willingness to help HP-calc fans like me if I can, and to provide a way, some way, for them to contact me if they need or want to. I'm under no obligation to do that, nor do I specially want to be 'contacted' because of scarce time, as I've said many times before.

    Take for instance this forum. Mr. Hicks gently provides it for us, for free, and does his best to keep it running smoothly and even upgrading it at times. But he's not under any obligation whatsoever to answer us, to fulfill our requests, or even to run this site indefinitely. We are the ones obligued to him, not the other way.
    He sets the rules and we simply abide by them, and thankfully at that.

    Same here. I intend to provide some way to contact me and do my best to reply each mail I get, but I have no obligation to do it. I set my rules (the infamous HP CALCS string) and people wishing a reply from me must abide by them if they want to succeed, and that's the way it is.

    Also, I've noticed that despite my best efforts I do not seem to be making many friends here, because it seems funny to me that a well-meant attempt to explain why some emails might not be reaching me and provide some simple instructions to improve my accessibility gets in return a number of criticisms and "snide" comments from people who seem to consider including a simple text
    an unbearable and abusive requirement on my part, when lots of people in this forum post in a completely anonymous way and are impossible to contact, while on the other hand I'm willingly taking the trouble to read the unsolicited emails sent to me and trying to help if possible or at the very least reply to questions or comments. Funny indeed.

Best regards from V.

#29

Hi Valentin,

I don't understand what the problem is. Yes, spam is annoying, so create a *new* address and use it only for the HPforum registration. That way, when someone logs in and uses the HP forum email mechanism, you'll get a message in an uncorrupted account.

I have 4 email addresses, and I do not get much spam at all. I have had zero spam attributable to the HP forum. Furthermore my most used email address is readable to anyone who logs into google groups. So far, I havea had no spam attributable to that either, and i've been on usenet for years.

Really, there are better ways to deal with spam than making this subject line filter. Just start fresh and keep it from going "public" (in other words, protected from crawlers and bots).

kindest regards from

Bill Platt


#30

Hi, Bill:

Bill posted:

    "Yes, spam is annoying, so create a *new* address and use it only for the HPforum registration. That way, when someone
    logs in and uses the HP forum email mechanism, you'll get a message in an uncorrupted account."

      This is a workable solution, indeed, but the problem with it is that it would be yet another e-mail address to manage. You mention you have 4, I must have on the order of 20+, if not more, each for their own particular use, because there's not only family, work, friends, etc., but apart from math and HP calcs I do have many other hobbies and occupations which made necessary such a measure in the past.

      Also, for security reasons, it would have yet another different password to remember, and I would also have to remember checking it periodically, etc. I know that there are ways of managing the passwords and there are ways to forward e-mails from one account to another, etc., but setting it all amounts to further complications for me, and, essentially, having to invest time to set it all up and administer it, and time is the scarcest resource for me.

    "Really, there are better ways to deal with spam than making this subject line filter. Just start fresh and keep it from going "public" (in other words, protected from
    crawlers and bots)."

      I'm using an image instead of plain text for my public address as featured in my website, using an HP-41C font, so it should be safe from bots and such, but I guess that sooner or later someone uses your e-mail address as plain text in some email-chain, say, or some address lists of theirs, and presto, your address becomes fodder for spammers sooner or later. I'm glad that you've found no such problems but my mileage does vary: no matter what precautions I take, inevitably spam gets its way in and I have to eventually install some filtering mechanism.

      Anyway, I'll consider your valuable suggestion and may test it for a while in another more controlled environment. If I find that it does work and I don't have to spend extra time managing it, I may implement that here as well. But for the moment, the "HP CALCS" subject will remain in effect.

    Thanks for your interest and sound, well-meant advice and

Best regards from V.

#31

Valentin,

I believe that I am the cuprit of this whole thread and I thoroughly appologize. I tried to send you an email and you were kind enough to spend the time to post to let me (and others) know how to best reach you.

Personally, I found that effort on your part very kind and your rule no trouble at all and very reasonable. I certainly can sumpathize with large numbers of email-accounts and the difficulty in managing them.

Again, I thoroughly appologize for at least contributing substantially to the cause of this public discussion of your very private way of keeping your email-avalnche in check.

Cheers

Peter


#32

Hi, PeterP

    Thank you very much for your kind and supportive words but no need to apologize, believe me, it's not your fault at all.

    I think I pretty much know the reasons behind it all, but this is not the place to comment on them.

    As for your latest e-mail, it actually did reach me, and the only reason I haven't sent you a reply to your proposal yet is because I was first considering some requirements. Please check your e-mail within a few hours and you'll find my reply there.

    Again, thank you very much for your support but much more importantly, for your unfailing enthusiasm.

Best regards from V.

#33

I've kept a single non-work related email address - hbo AT egbok DOT com - since 1995. I find that it helps old friends and acquaintances get in touch with me. I currently pre-filter the mail to classify messages according to various mail lists. I then scan sender and subject for the non-list mail, throwing out the obvious SPAM. This is 95% of the remainder, about 600 messages a day. The list mail and the manually filtered mail is then pulled in to my home email system. There it is all run through SPAM Assassin and archived. This allows me to see most of the non-SPAM mail that is sent directly to me, and not to a list.

All that is a lot of work, of course. I choose to do the work because I don't want to knuckle under to the low-life miscreant SPAM mongering criminals that push their swill of fraud and virus laden mystery meat around the Internet. SPAM is a terrible scourge because it subverts the ideal of open information exchange the Internet was built upon. I want my email to be the broad-spectrum tool for communication it was intended to be. This is a personal choice I make.

But I support your approach to dealing with the SPAM scourge too, Valentin. I don't think my approach is better in an absolute sense, only better for me. You're eloquence in defense of your right to choose what communication you accept or reject is completely convincing.

Regards,
Howard


#34

Hi, Howard:

    "[...] All that is a lot of work, of course."

      Yes, it is, which essentially means time, which in my case is particularly scarce (I'm writing this at 3:05 AM Spanish local time, after a very hard week) and which I'd rather use in replying to HP fans who send legitimate e-mails instead of dealing with spam.

    "SPAM is a terrible scourge because it subverts the
    ideal of open information exchange the Internet was built upon. "

      Absolutely right. It completely defeats the whole purpose
      of near real-time, easy, world-wide communications (remember "snail mail" regular letters or telegrams). It ruins a magnificent technological blessing and, IMHO, it should be considered a federal crime, and punished as such. Anyone remembers "Spamford" Wallace's outrageous attitude on the subject ? Whether you remember him or never heard of him, try the link and get surprised and astonished at what unbelievable depths that man was eager to go to forcibly get his garbage down everyone's throats. And his de-facto 'heirs' are certainly in the same league if not worse.

    "But I support your approach to dealing with the SPAM scourge too, Valentin. I don't think my approach is better in an absolute sense, only
    better for me. You're eloquence in defense of your right to choose what communication you accept or reject is completely convincing."

      Thank you very much, your kind support is really much appreciated, and really helps here ! :-)

Best regards from V.

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