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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Words that get your email junked

I read a story today about email which, if weren’t so grotesque, would be funny.

That government department which deals with youth problems will reject all emails sent to it which contain the word teen.

An overzealous (or moronic) webmaster has decided that the potential pornographic connotations of the word teen outweigh the importance of communicating about teens – with a government department who’s responsibility they are.

A client recently sent an email to it’s database which turned up a very high error rate – after exhaustive investigation we determined the word breast had caused the problem – even though Bayesian filter authors will tell you that context affects such decision – our client sells meat, and the breasts in question were chicken ones, and so YahooXtra bounced the lot.

It all stems, of course, from our obsession with diminishing spam volumes. The manner in which this manifests itself in the above examples is endemic of the way our society deals with all problems and consequent legislation nowadays – punish all to mitigate the behaviour of the few.

And it’s rubbish.