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Email forwarding - username@geocaching.com


GearHeadAZ

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Some of my localities require me to put personal contact info in the cache or even on the exterior. The official stash note also has the space for email address. I do not want to give out my personal email for this, and I'd rather not have to make another throwaway email account and worry about always being logged in and getting notifications. The site already features a form that will forward the email to the user's hidden email address. Could it possibly be setup to where one could just use username@geocaching.com and the site forwards it to the real email, kinda like how craigslist does? That will still keep the user's real email hidden, and that would be a very easy way for non cachers to contact the cache owner. And we could label it in or on our caches without giving up our privacy.

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I like the idea. It could also be opt-in. An alias to forward gcusername@geocaching.com to... well, could be to an inbox message, or to the (private) connected account email address.

HQ would have to have an agreement so the issue of spam is understood; if they forward email then it's up to the user to determine what to do with 'spam', since they could easily just turn off the forwarding feature. It wouldn't be HQ's responsibility to filter unwanted emails, since it's an opt-in privilege. 

 

Perhaps it could be a premium only feature. I know with my provider forwarding email addresses are unlimited. No need to host an actual inbox.

 

It might need a prefix or something, which could be one way to make it less desirable to for whatever reason make it a 'personal' email address (which is dumb anyway since you need an inbox somewhere else already).  Some format like user.thebruce0@geocaching.com eg. 

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I love this idea in concept, but I can see the abuse.

 

We'd instantly be targets of spam. Bots would harvest userid's from cache logs and produce a targeted, confirmed list of millions of potential customers.

 

All that would cost a bad guy approximately ten bucks, btw, if that.

 

And, there's the expense of managing millions of incoming email addresses on GS' email server. Yikes! And the traffic!

 

Remember that there's a thing when you email a player through the site that asks if you want to hide YOUR email address, so GS understands that we might want to keep our addresses private and not harvestable. Doing this would obviate that protection, and give essentially direct email access to any of us from any of us. Remember all those stories we keep reading here in the fora about people being harassed through the hobby? Stalkers? Ex's? Irate players who know better than you how your cache's SHOULD be?

 

How many of us have our real names as part of our email address, like, "JoeSmith@Company.com."

 

So, a wonderful idea that, in a perfect world I would celebrate, but the way things are, pass.

 

Sucks, doesn't it.

 

Edited by TeamRabbitRun
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Spam: Again, opt-in. Harvesting of usernames may be possible if replies are received, but that's also attainable from the gc website itself. Usernames couldn't be harvested from some central list since that wouldn't exist publicly. I'm sure throttling could also be implemented so bots don't spam every combination of letters to find valid/active forwarding emails.

 

Incoming email: I'm not 100% on the technicalities of email distribution, but there's no email transfer to the gc servers if forwarding - the email process would have the servers exchange info and the forwarding server would simply be indicating the redirect destination. It wouldn't be millions of emails being transferred, just pings to tell the sending server where to send the email and how. Not much more intense I'd expect than the already inundated servers being hammered by bots and hack attempts. A ping is negligible; an email forward would be a bit more than a ping, to my knowledge.

If that's wrong, then at worst the server receives the email and bounces the content to the forwarding destination server; nothing stored, just proxied over, and that's the last that's heard between them (a bounced destination, eg, would be sent back to the sender's server, not via gc's server).

 

Managing addresses: This would, I think, be the biggest resource. However it wouldn't start out at a list of millions of forwards, and likely there wouldn't even be millions. If it's opt-in, then it would at most provide for active premium members who want to use it.

 

Harvesting: Again, there'd be no way to attain a private email address from this opt-in feature let alone a list. Even after sending an email to a known active user's forward address, the user's private email would only be exposed if they replied directly to the email after receiving it in their own personal external email inbox. Only the sender's email would be exposed, on sending an email to the user - which, is, well, how email works.

 

Email forwarding is a pretty standard fair feature of email providers. Of course GC isn't an email provider, and the system to be able to administer an email forwarding list on their existing email server would need to be built, but it wouldn't be building a complex email management solution on top of what already exists; just a tool to manage the forwarding function, and mitigate/throttle request overloads.

 

 

All that said, I don't really see this feature being implemented, but it's fun to talk about. Someone might have a good idea for how to make it work in some optimal way.

 

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Personally I don't see the need for it, and I doubt GS would want to take on the coding, bandwidth and other hassles associated with it.

Downside to me is if my proposed martybartfast@geocaching.com account ended up on a SPAM distribution list (and as TeamRabbitRun points out that would be almost inevitable) then I would either have to put up with the SPAM, or change my geocaching username to get off the list (but would soon end up on a refreshed list).

I effectively achieved what you want by creating a dedicated geocaching Email address on gmail, which I use as my primary Email on this site, and other situations where I need to provide an Email address, I then have forwarding rules setup on that account to send everything to my own "real" address. If this dedicated account ends up on some SPAM dist list then I'll simply ditch it, create a new one and start using the new one everywhere I currently use the old one.

 

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Right, if the email forward gets on a spam list, well there's not much that can be done. Happens with regular email all the time. (not many people are willing to ditch an email and change it though). Dealing with spam is par for the course if you have a permanent personal email address. Even if you have others forwarding to it.

 

You can easily filter incoming emails from myusername@geocaching.com into their own folder. Even whitelist known emails from there. Dealing with spam would be a slight increase in annoyance, but not nearly as much as one might think, I'd say, especially if you already have a system to deal with it.

 

It wouldn't so much be exposing your personal email publicly as it would be concern over opening up a discernible public email that can forward email to your hidden personal one. That's legit. But it's also an opt-in system, so if you don't want that, you wouldn't use the feature in the first place.

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There are a bunch of characters that are not valid for e-mail (spaces, ü, etc.) that are/were valid for usernames, so username@geocaching.com isn't going to work. Plus, they already use contact@geocaching.com and legal@geocaching.com for the obvious purposes.

 

1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

Usernames couldn't be harvested from some central list since that wouldn't exist publicly.

 

There's a central-ish list here, which looks easy to scrape: https://www.cacherstats.com/cgi-bin/RankingList.pl

 

1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

Of course GC isn't an email provider,

 

<conversationId>@mc.geocaching.com forwards to the appropriate Message Centre conversation, so long as you are sending the email from the email associated with your Geocaching.com account. So they certainly have the ability to receive email.

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9 hours ago, Hügh said:

There are a bunch of characters that are not valid for e-mail (spaces, ü, etc.) that are/were valid for usernames, so username@geocaching.com isn't going to work. Plus, they already use contact@geocaching.com and legal@geocaching.com for the obvious purposes.

Yeah, there'd be limitation to simply converting usernames from all languages to valid email addresses. 

 

9 hours ago, Hügh said:

There's a central-ish list here, which looks easy to scrape

3rd party website, not much HQ can do about that but enforce consequences and hope it stops. Point being, email forwarding itself doesn't expose a list of users or emails via a public list. That info can already be attained via other means.

 

9 hours ago, Hügh said:

<conversationId>@mc.geocaching.com forwards to the appropriate Message Centre conversation, so long as you are sending the email from the email associated with your Geocaching.com account. So they certainly have the ability to receive email.

True enough. They have the base functionality already in place. The email server handles incoming emails and in the MC case parses the content into messaging content; for forwarding it doesn't have to do as much.

 

(to reiterate, I still think it's unlikely this feature will come to be :P)

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