I hate over-enthusiastic spam filters! - Livre d'Or








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livredor
I hate over-enthusiastic spam filters!
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 at 12:13 pm
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Grr. I am trying to write an email about a job possibility that I am regretfully turning down because the person offering it isn't going to know definitely for several months, and because I already have a job in Sweden. However, I simply can not find a way to phrase said email that will get past my correspondent's spam filters. I suspect they're aggressively blocking anything that contains keywords like job, opportunity, application and similar. Possibly growth is also a problem (it's a science job relating to studying cell growth).

And yeah, that's a dumb way to write spam filters, but really the people to blame are the evil spammers who have created a climate where it's hard to have any legitimate discussion about job prospects! When I was working at the university earlier in the year, I would have an automatic negative response to any application coming from Nigeria; my first thought would be, Nigeria, oh, probably just spam. Which is very unfair on real Nigerians who legitimately want to apply to Cambridge (happily I didn't have any say in the decisions, I was just filing stuff).

I have known spam filters to complain about an email where I used the words fantasy and adult, in the course of a discussion about fantasy novels for the young adult market. But at least those spam filters only complained, they didn't actually block my email from getting through.

So can anyone think of a way to say
Thank you for offering me a position to work with you on cell growth. Unfortunately the timing makes it impossible for me to take up this offer. I need the security of knowing I have something definite, rather than waiting for the outcome of our grant application before I can start making plans. For this reason I have decided to accept a different job, also related to cell growth as it happens. Thanks very much for all your help and support.
without confusing a stupid spam filter into thinking I am trying to fool gullible people with non-existent job opportunities?


Whereaboooots: Not in Australia
Moooood: annoyedannoyed
Tuuuuune: Seal: Bring it on
Discussion: 17 contributions | Contribute something
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mathcathy: default
From:mathcathy
Date:March 29th, 2006 11:29 am (UTC)
1 minutes after journal entry, 11:29 am (mathcathy's time)
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what if you write those exact things in a word or tex file and send it as an attachment?
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fluffymark: default
From:fluffymark
Date:March 29th, 2006 11:37 am (UTC)
9 minutes after journal entry, 11:37 am (fluffymark's time)
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Spam filters are silly. My worst encounter with them is when ordering something from Lush online, having to email them when it failed to arrive, only to find that their spam filter blocked the name of their own product. It proved very difficult to write a sensible email. I think I just phoned them in the end.
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(no subject) - compilerbitch (3/29/06 11:40 am)
pseudomonas: default
From:pseudomonas
Date:March 29th, 2006 12:20 pm (UTC)
52 minutes after journal entry, 12:20 pm (pseudomonas's time)
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Fax was going to be my suggestion. Dropping a note to their systems people might not be a bad idea either.
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smhwpf: Giles party weasel
From:smhwpf
Date:March 29th, 2006 12:10 pm (UTC)
43 minutes after journal entry, 01:10 pm (smhwpf's time)
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I'm thinking codes/deliberate misspellings/foreign languages/writing backwards for the problem words, with an explanation that you're doing it to beat their spam filter. But as you're turning down an offer, that might seem a little rude.

You could substitute 'position' for 'job', unless it rejects 'position' as well. 'bid' or 'proposal' for application. 'development' for 'growth', or would that be technically incorrect?

I must say I don't really see the point of spam filters that actually block, rather than just mark. After all, how long does it take to press the delete key?
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mathcathy: default
From:mathcathy
Date:March 29th, 2006 12:47 pm (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 12:47 pm (mathcathy's time)
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It takes ages to press the delete key if you're sorting through hundreds of potential spam emails which have been redirected to a spam folder. You can easily delete something that isn't spam that way, too, especially if you don't recognise the name of the person who sent the message.

If a spam filter just redirected, then the person who sent the email wouldn't know that their email hadn't got through.

I've never actually come across a spam filter that blocks, but think it's a good idea, unless they're so overprogrammed that real emails can't get through. At work, we used to have one which filtered any emails with words like "job" or "application" into a folder which the IT guys had set up so that "management" could check to see that no one was using work email for job hunting. We knew that certain keywords removed privacy from our email, and so I didn't much use work email for personal letters.
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blue_mai: default
From:blue_mai
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry, 02:30 pm (blue_mai's time)
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wow! that sounds awful.. although at least you knew about it. did people just find out, or was it made quite clear? my workplace is pretty disorganised - they have a habit of changing the rules and not telling anyone and then going STOP IT OR YOU'LL BE TERMINATED! without warning. which is a bit rude. i dont think it's deliberately malicious, they're just a bit incompetent..
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mathcathy: default
From:mathcathy
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry, 02:34 pm (mathcathy's time)
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It was clear. Not talked about lot, but I remembered it coz I thought it was an important thing to not forget.
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rysmiel: hardware
From:rysmiel
Date:March 29th, 2006 03:04 pm (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry, 11:04 am (rysmiel's time)
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I've never actually come across a spam filter that blocks, but think it's a good idea, unless they're so overprogrammed that real emails can't get through.

I have, and there are few things that irritate me more, particularly when it's overparanoid sysadmins blocking mails from reaching me.
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pseudomonas: default
From:pseudomonas
Date:March 29th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry, 03:20 pm (pseudomonas's time)
(Link)
I get a daily email with the subject: and from: lines of all blocked email. About 3 per day are blocked, and I've not had any false positives yet.
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(no subject) - jennifer (3/29/06 02:00 pm)
syllopsium: carwash
From:syllopsium
Date:March 29th, 2006 12:45 pm (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry
(Link)
vacancy? It's possibly also 'growth'.
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hairyears: default
From:hairyears
Date:March 29th, 2006 01:40 pm (UTC)
2 hours after journal entry, 01:40 pm (hairyears's time)
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I had an e-mail bounced because it contained the phrase 'close, but no cigar'. Elegant rephrasing to avoid all hints of lewd Lewinsky references got me past the filter after several attempts with this:

Close, but no cylindrical sundried nicotania leaf-rolled combustion-aerosolisation device (readers in the United States of America and Trust Territories should note that brands sourced in CUba are cinsidered illegal imports; to be used with due consideration for those nearby if designated smoking areas are not available; consult your doctor about possible carcinigenic effects in lung tissue and a statistical risk of cardiovascular disorders).

I would be happy to rephrase your polite letter but I think that the solution to your particular problem lies in sending a Word attachment in a zipfile.

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hatam_soferet: default
From:hatam_soferet
Date:March 29th, 2006 01:41 pm (UTC)
2 hours after journal entry
(Link)
Fax it, and find out who the IT admin is so that you can fax them a copy too and point out that it's rather annoying you had to be faxing it in the first place.

Cos the filter probably removes all attachments as well.
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megamole: default
From:megamole
Date:March 29th, 2006 01:50 pm (UTC)
2 hours after journal entry
(Link)
a job in Sweden

I should be in Stockholm a couple of times a year now...
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cartesiandaemon: default
From:cartesiandaemon
Date:March 29th, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC)
6 hours after journal entry
(Link)
I'm shaken. I didn't realise anyone actually did have so unhelpful filters! If they're bouncing the message *anyway*, why couldn't they include a challenge/response message?

Is it possible to phone them? I hate phoning people, but (a) it will get through (b) the people might be genuinely unaware how much mail is bouncing -- if you had been able to work for them, would they have wanted you to be unable to contact them? They *might* be greateful to know.

(Does it not flag the problem words?)
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pseudomonas: default
From:pseudomonas
Date:March 29th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
6 hours after journal entry, 06:05 pm (pseudomonas's time)
(Link)
Are you using a gmail address? I ask because about 80% of the spam that I get sent is claiming to come from gmail, so that might score highly on their filters (assuming that my spam is typical).
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