I've received an email from a forum member

  Forum Editor 13:00 17 Apr 2006

who was under the mistaken impression that when someone clicked on the small envelope by his name they could see his email address. This person thought that he was receiving spam as a result.

It occurred to me that some of our newer members might be confused by these envelopes, and perhaps it's worth a reminder:-

The small yellow envelopes are there so individual forum members can contact each other privately, should the need arise. I say "should the need arise" deliberately, because it isn't our intention that people should start emailing total strangers at will via the envelopes.

There are occasions when a person might require some information "off-forum" - perhaps someone has offered to send a sample spreadsheet file, showing how something is done, or maybe two members decide to swap email addresses for some reason.

The envelope links are configured so that the sender does NOT see the email address of the recipient; all the sender sees is his/her own address, plus a box for the message. When the message is submitted, our server takes the recipient's address from one of our databases and inserts it in the "To" field of the email. The "From" field obviously contains the sender's address, but the sender will never know the recipient's address unless he/she chooses to reply.

I hope that clears up any confusion, and reassures everyone that nobody will receive spam because of these envelopes. Forum etiquette demands that you don't email other people in this way unless invited to do so, or unless you have reason to believe that the other person wouldn't object. I sometimes use the links to contact people, but only in exceptional circumstances. As a rule I try not to add to anyone's unsolicited email burden. I do try to respond to every email that's sent to me though, whether via the envelope link, or via the 'Contact Forum Editor" link on the page tops.

  Graham ® 18:31 17 Apr 2006

We sometimes see an invitation to email from someone wishing to help another - 'I'll talk you through it'. This may cause other helpers to feel put out, and others interested in the outcome not knowing the solution.

Wherever possible, it is best to keep the discussion in the particular forum, rather than behind the scenes.

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