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 Hidden Email addresses ??
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 7:35:32 PM on 10 October 2011.
Airzone's Gravatar
 Location: Maclean, NSW
 Member since 30 May 2008
 Member #: 291
 Postcount: 341

Just wondering why a lot of you hide your email address when you are asking for help. Is this the prefered way to run the forum to keep all answers on the forum ????
Sometimes I like to thanks those who help, outside the forum, so as not to waste the time of others, what are the thoughts from you guys and Brad.

 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 12:50:49 AM on 11 October 2011.
GTC's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6016

Email address are hidden by default in order to stop spambots from harvesting them, and I support that policy.

I suspect most members don't even realise that they are hidden.

If I have something I'm able to send, I simply ask the recipient to temporarily un-hide their address.

 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 10:33:12 AM on 11 October 2011.
Brad's avatar
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6354

Just to clarify a few things:-

Yes, e-mail addresses are hidden by default for the purpose of protecting the privacy of those who don't want to be contacted by e-mail and to stop spambots harvesting the addresses. However even when you choose to show your e-mail address only members who are logged in can see them. This stops spambots harvesting the addresses in most cases but doesn't stop a real person registering and grabbing the addresses manually. However, this system is much better than posting e-mail addresses in the forums.

Secondly, I do prefer discussions to take place on the forums as this encourages the use of the forums and means that things only need to be said once. Obviously I wouldn't encourage personal information to be posted so exchanging this information via e-mail is perfectly reasonable. Asking someone to temporarily show their e-mail address is a good way to achieve both outcomes.

As the person responsible for security here, I'm often thinking of better ways to provide convenience to members though this can't take precedence over everyone's right to regulate the use and exposure of their personal information. With this in mind there may be some changes to member's profile pages down the track and who gets access to the information on them.

For example, I've been thinking of including a feature that stops a new member seeing another member's e-mail address until the new member has posted a certain number of times. The idea here is to frustrate spammers whilst still ensuring that members can write a genuine e-mail to those who have chosen to display their address.

The downside to an online presence is the number and variety of attacks a website will receive. Websites known for interactivity, such as a forum or shop, will receive more attacks than personal websites or brochure-type websites because there are mechanisms on interactive sites that allow spammers, flooders and hackers to leave their calling card. On here, the goal for me is to put up a good defence and respond quickly when there is trouble, such as for the recent attack involving auto-signups which just floods the database with useless information and allows spam robots to post junk messages.

All in all, I've been fairly lucky and obvious attacks have been extremely rare. This is more due to this site being run by custom software rather than an off-the-shelf solution where a troublemaker has access to the source code.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

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