[texhax] macro -> URL (was Arrow head too large ...)

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Wed Jan 1 01:07:24 CET 2014

On 2013-12-31 at 08:29:19 -0500, Bob Tennent wrote:

 > > I guess my browser changed "m at th" into m at th. Or was it the
 > > tug.org website?
 > It is indeed the web site.

Yes, the mail I got from Herbert is correct (apart from the quotation)
but in the HTML archives "@" is replaced by " at ".  Curiously, "." is
not replaced by " dot ".

But I'm wondering why the web interface has an impact on the list
server (unless people paste from the (HTML) archives).  

 > Is this appropriate for a TeX-oriented mail list?

Obviously not, but the software isn't written with TeX in mind in the
first palce.  The problem should be fixed upstream, if it can be
reliably fixed at all, see below.

 > If you ask for plain text, you should be displaying plain text.

Sure, but is it possible to write a regular expression which reliably
matches email addresses only?  It's certainly possible that TeX code
looks like an email address.

It might be possible to re-write all addresses that appear in the mail
header reliably.  But there can be others within the message.  The
latter are much more difficult to catch.

On the other hand I don't know how much sense it makes to re-write
email addresses at all.  If spammers want, they could evaluate the
re-written addresses at any time.  Even if they don't do it now the
problem is only postponed.  Even if their regular expressions are
unreliable I doubt that it matters because they don't care if a few
email addresses among thousands of others are invalid.  Hence it's an
easy task.

Google already searches for " at " if you enter "@" which confirms my
fear that re-writing email addresses is pretty useless nowadys.

When I search for "mark.whitis at gmail.com", Google returns

 | From mark.whitis at gmail.com Wed Jul 24 05:07:01 2013 From ...
 | www.tug.org/pipermail/pdftex/2013-July.txt

So what is the benefit of replacing "@" by " at "?  Is there a benefit
at all?  I doubt.

Just for fun: I recently got a complaint.  The guy complained at me
because I was the one who answered his question on pdftex at tug.org.
He refused to ask/complain on the list again because he feared to
expose his secret email address a second time. :)

Enjoy the stuff below.


> You have non-consensually exposed my email address to the web and to
> spam harvesters on this page:
> http://www.tug.org/pipermail/pdftex/2013-July.txt
> after I sent a bug report to the designated email address which was
> NOT disclosed to be a list address.  This is the only place where my
> email address appears and that is one too many as I have gone to
> considerable length to hide this address from spammers.  Replacing
> the "@" with " at " is easily reversed by spam harvesters and was
> automatically reversed by google search.
> Man page says: "Email bug reports to pdftex at tug.org."  It says nothing
> about this being a public list.
> Please remove the email address imediately from that page and any
> others that are generated as a result of this message (I left out
> pdftex at tug.orgto try to prevent that) ASAP.

After I told him that that I'm not responsible and can't do anything
and suggested to ask on the list (a no-go, of course) he wrote:

 > If someone doesn't do the responsible thing ASAP and remove the
 > offending email address from any and all archives, I will have no
 > option but to send a DMCA takedown notice to the ISP and have them
 > take down the page (or the site).

The only thing I could do in this situation was to say "Good luck!".

Reinhard Kotucha                                      Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                              mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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