Tuesday 3 February 2009


I've been having a bit of a heated discussion with the guy who maintains (maintained?) petsnails.co.uk. This is a site that I really like and that originally put me in contact with many of my gastropod friends (that's people interested in gastropods, not the gastropods themselves).

I was shocked however to find that my e-mail address has been published on the site for a while (this was a bout a year ago). When I contacted the guy in charge he said he'd look into it. Just in case you aren't up on the subject, here's a randomly selected link that explains why doing this is bad.

So just over a year later I ask the guy again, and he seems reluctant to make the necessary changes, and doesn't think he needs to. Well, I'm sure you can see the need (if not you should have read the link above).

So, what can you do about this? The answer is a contact form. I have one here. These are easy to implement, and there are numerous pre-coded examples around, for free. So I don't really see what the issue is, besides his time (which it would take less than half an hour of).

I don't think I was out of order asking for this, but given the flaming tone of the response I got, I guess it might have been. If you use petsnails.co.uk and agree with me I would ask you to e-mail the site administrator saying so.


dots_thots said...

Your post sounds so reasonable but actually publishing your email address was entirely your choice.

You could have simply disabled your listing in the members section as I explained to you at the time. I allow classifieds posting on the forum also and you can detail your snail collection etc. and your blog address in your signature. So, it's hardly like it was a must-have feature that your forced to use.

I do the site in my spare time which I don't have a lot of. My point was that I don't have the time to rewrite part of the site so one user can publish an advert anonymously and have contacts forwarded to them.

I understand the spam issues. The truth is, many sites let people post an advert and they choose to reveal their email address as do the majority of businesses who can't risk losing contacts by not making themselves as contactable as possible. That's why I wrote the feature and made it optional.

I tried to discuss it with you reasonably but to me you seemed persistant, obstinate and demanding. I'm guessing that's why you think I had a flaming tone. In the end I had to tell you in no uncertain terms that I take your point but no amount of mithering is going to get me to do it. I actually just removed the facility in the end.

So, don't email the site administrator.

Ed said...

It would have been possible to have a notice stating that your e-mail would be publicly visible.

Or implement an e-mail form - as you're a web developer (I believe that's right) this would take about 10 minutes. I know - I've done it before.

I think that saying you'd look into it, and a year later having not done a small job I have a right to make some comment about it.

If plain-text e-mails are published then they will eventually be harvested for use in some unscrupulous way - even if it's just spam it can be very annoying. It's happened to me, and I'm careful about such things!