How to reach me by email

Spam (unsolicited electronic mail advertising, scams, etc.) is an increasing problem. Once an occasional nuisance, it has become a rising tide that threatens to drown all legitimate mail traffic in a sea of useless garbage.

Spammers constantly scan the web for email addresses to use. In the past I've included email links in my web material, but the spam epidemic recently persuaded me to remove all of these. This action will not stop my address from being used on old spam lists, but it will at least prevent it from being harvested for new lists.

Since I still want people to be able to contact me for legitimate purposes, I've put an obscured version of my email address on my home page, which humans can read but machines (so far) cannot. To convert it to a proper address, replace ``[my last name]'' with my last name (see the top of my home page), substitute a ``@'' character for the ``at'' part and remove the spaces and words in italics. If email harvesting software continues to grow more sophisticated, this simple scheme may be replaced by something more complicated in the future.

Please also note that I have some email filtering software that blocks what it perceives to be spam or certain viruses. I used to go through all my incoming mail by hand, but I eventually ran out of time and patience to do this. The filtering software is pretty good, but it's not perfect: it lets through a small fraction of the total spam traffic, and it misidentifies legitimate email as spam once in a while. To reduce the possibility of the latter, please keep your message simple and straightforward, with a minimum of fancy web links, images, and file attachments --- the more of these, the more likely it is your message will be flagged as bogus and deleted.

Another possible snag is that incoming mail headers are checked to see if the "from" address is legitimate, since often it is not in spam. However, some internet service providers have not set their systems up in the standard way that allows their user addresses to be verified. If your email to me bounces and the error message indicates that the user ID could not be verified, you should contact your ISP.

Lastly, I am nearly always running behind on answering public email. I do my best to answer every message I receive, but regular work has to take priority, and I have a full plate. So, I may take several days (or, in some cases, weeks) to get back to you. I apologize in advance for this, but it's just the way it is.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Steven Gibson

2003 September 3