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Jun 18 2013

How Not To Administer A Mail Server

I am still receiving auto-forwards that I set up fifteen years ago on a university e-mail account at a university that I have not been affiliated with for more than a decade.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    timberwoof

    The overworked sysadmin probably has more pressing things to do than to delete accounts that might cause someone to squeal at his boss^n. It’s probably not his fault no one deleted your account fifteen years ago.

    A politely worded email to [email protected] might work. “Hi, there. I’m sure you have a lot of things to do, so if you can’t get to this right away, I understand. …”

    (Email will never work. My the time my secretary transcribes my letter into the email system, it gets transmitted to my colleague’s secretary, and she types it up for him, I might as well have called him on the telephone. ;-)

  2. 2
    Comradde PhysioProffe

    Hahahahahah. I don’t give a single flying fucke about this personally. It’s just really poor administrative practice to have accounts that should have been terminated over a decade ago still active and receiving and sending e-mail.

  3. 3
    eeke

    In some cases, keeping the account active is very useful, especially if you had a faculty position at that university and published papers there with your old contact info within those publications. It may be a rare occasion that someone uses that information to contact you (to request a reagent, for example), but potentially worth it. A smart system administrator would know how to handle this in such a way as to not compromise the system (in terms of security vulnerabilities). There are some universities that do keep all email accounts permanent. I think this is a strength of your former institution and not something that was overlooked by a dumbass.

  4. 4
    Comradde PhysioProffe

    This was definitely a dumasse failure. Shortly after I departed that institution I received a notice that my e-mail account was going to be terminated on X date, and giving me instructions how to download all my e-mail to a local client.

  5. 5
    eeke

    It’s likely that you can no longer login to your account, and there is no storage capacity in this account, but the account itself is still being stored in a database and can bounce emails as you have instructed it to do. I still think this is a very useful feature, but if you want it to stop, you’d have to do something and ask someone to delete it.

  6. 6
    Cath@VWXYNot?

    I found out last month – after six years with my employer – that I have a second email address that no-one ever told me about (@HugeUmbrellaOrganisation.ca rather than @MySpecificInstitute.ca). I managed to get hold of the password, logged in, and found six years worth of important messages that had never reached me. Fun day.

  7. 7
    Grumble

    Six years of important emails, hahahaha. In my case, more like 6 years of spam.

    I still have my very first email address. It’s on some papers, so once in a blue moon someone from Iran contacts me with a question or a request for a job. But mostly it’s spam.

  8. 8
    Cath@VWXYNot?

    Well, yes, lots of spam too :) Which made pulling out the actually important ones even more fun

  9. 9
    DrugMonkey

    6 yrs Cath? Clearly they couldn’t have been all THAT important…..

  10. 10
    Cath@VWXYNot?

    The best were the groups of re-sent emails saying basically “CATH WHY ARE YOU NOT REPLYING I TOLD YOU I NEED THIS TOMORROW” or “WHY WEREN’T YOU AT THIS MEETING IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT”. From people I saw regularly around the building, who never mentioned it to me when they saw me in person, or when they emailed my main account.

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