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.


  1. timberwoof says

    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 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. says

    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. eeke says

    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. says

    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. eeke says

    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. says

    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 ( rather than 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. Grumble says

    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. says

    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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