How Not To Implement Spam Filtering (and web forms)

A “friend” of mine has recently been sending me forwarded jokes and
other assorted crap we all grew out of sending about 5 minutes after
we learnt how to send emails. This I can cope with, but recently, for
every email she sends, I’ve been receiving an automated email from a
server somewhere telling me that it’s blocked an attachment, once for
each attachment
in the original email. That’s crime number one. Looking
at it further it appears that its not the sender’s mail servers doing
it, but once of the recipient’s mail servers. When it gets an email
with an attachment it’s blocked, it emails everyone in the To: header
to tell them, irrespective of whether they are local users or
not
. That’s crime number two.

I thought I’d email postmaster@capita.co.uk to tell them of
this problem, but unsurprisingly it bounced. That’s crime number
three. Looking on their website, I couldn’t find any technical
contacts, which wasn’t really surprising. I did how ever find a
“general enquiries” form, so I filled that in. Unfortunately, they
used the following html for the message box:

<textarea name="Feedback1:fldEnquiry" rows="6" cols="1"
   id="Feedback1_fldEnquiry" class="enquiryTable"></textarea>

The result is that you get a text box 6 rows high and one column
across, which is basically unuseable. Interestingly they appear to
add style="width: 350px;" in IE, which makes it work. I’ll
make that crimes 4 and 5, cos doing different things for different
browsers is a crime in itself.

I await a phone call or email from them.

One thought on “How Not To Implement Spam Filtering (and web forms)

  1. Rob Kendrick
    on said:

    You do realise that Crapita are just as bad, if not worse, than EDS and Serco, don’t you?  You’ll get a phone call back (because they don’t know how to use email) by somebody wondering wtf you’re talking about, and why are you hacking their mail server?

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