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Aside from deleting or ignoring spam messages, any recommendations on dealing with? Does the Stack Exchange team track this activity somehow?

I suggest not going to the domain name mentioned below. I'm not sure what the content is or if the site is safe, in terms of content or malware.

This particular email came from elise@paydayloansresource.net, probably from scraping my profile. I've never gotten any kind of spam directed at me regarding a Stack Exchange site before, only legitimate emails about questions/answers on a couple of sites, and deleting messages like this and dealing with spam is fairly easy in Gmail.

Hello, I am emailing you regarding the possibility of submitting a guest post for your site, programmers.stackexchange.com. I noticed that you have accepted guest posts in the past and I would like to write one for you as well. If your site has submission criteria for guest posts, I apologize that I missed it.

Please know that I am willing to write an article on any topic you choose. In exchange, I only ask that you allow me to place a discrete link to my website in my bio at the bottom of the post.

I should also clarify that no work is required on your part. Once I complete the article, then you can review it to make sure that it fits your website's style, content, and quality.

If you would like to see some samples of past articles I have written, or if you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter please don't hesitate to email me.

Thanks and make it a great day! Elise Brown Blogger | Owner Payday Loans Resource

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    That's pretty hilarious in that "stupid spammer is stupid" kind of way. – Adam Lear Dec 5 '11 at 20:49
  • Wow, that's a new one. – user8 Dec 5 '11 at 20:50
  • I just flagged it as spam, but saved the email. I'm not even going to the website, since I have no clue what it is. But I'm curious if the SE team tracks this, gathers data, uses information from the headers to block potential accounts, whatever. Maybe this would be better off at Meta.SO, but it was a Programmers related email. I wonder if top users on other SE sites are getting similar emails... – Thomas Owens Dec 5 '11 at 20:52
  • I went to the domain, and nothing happened. In fact, I'd even dare to call it "legit". YMMV. Anyway, spam is spam and shouldn't be encouraged. – user281377 Dec 6 '11 at 16:48
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It looks like you're exposing your email address in the "About Me" field in your profile. That's available to anyone to use as they see fit, which unfortunately includes scraping and spam.

A similar case turned up on Meta Stack Overflow a couple months ago, and the general consensus there was that Stack Exchange protects the "email" field of your profile, but there's not much they can do about publicly displayed email in the "About" section.

Quoting Jeff Atwood's answer:

There is absolutely no way I can think of that we'd be exposing email addresses.

As others have noted, be careful about putting your email in your "About Me" field if you are concerned about unwanted email contact.

I don't think there's any data being collected on the address scrapers, but I can't say for sure since I'm not an SE employee.

  • I'm aware of that, and exposing an email address is very much worth it. However, are any statistics collected regarding this by the SE team? Having my email public visible is worth the ocassional spam email. I've received a few emails asking for more information regarding various answers, and that's very much worth it. – Thomas Owens Dec 5 '11 at 21:17
  • @ThomasOwens Oh, certainly. I'm not saying you should remove the email or anything. More that far as I know, there's nothing being done to track domains that send you spam as a result of scraping an email from your profile. – Adam Lear Dec 5 '11 at 21:19
  • Perhaps an SE team member will come around and notice this and say for sure. If they want to collect data about who is sending spam emails about SE sites, I'd be more than happy to forward this message and any future ones to the appropriate people. Otherwise, I'll just mark as spam and delete. – Thomas Owens Dec 5 '11 at 21:22
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Couple of tricks:

  1. If you put a + in your email address, gmail ignores everything after it.

    So if you use actualemail+somethingelse@gmail.com in your profile, emails will still reach your actual email account, but gmail will keep actualemail+somethingelse@gmail.com in the to field, so you can easily identify that the email came via your SO profile.

  2. Set up a secondary gmail account just for your SO profile and link it with your primary account.

None of the tricks will actually help you fight spam, but you'll be able to identify its source. That said, I don't think there's anything that the SO team can do to protect our emails - or any site owner when users opt to publicise their emails. But they should take action for the email you've received now that you've shared it, since it's obvious that your email was taken from your Programmers SE profile.

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