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Some people take their anti-spam measures very seriously..

Published: 2007-12-30 21:23 UTC. Tags: world wide web usability

The municipality of Linköping distributes a magazine, DIALOG, to all its citizens four times a year. The articles are about subjects like the new fire station, upcoming big events in the city, etc.

There's always a minor section with information on how I can contact my local politicans. There's a list with the name, a photo, a phone number, and an e-mail address.

To my surprise, the e-mail addresses were on the form givenname.surname&linkoping.se - that is, they had replaced the @ sign with an & sign. In a publication printed on paper!

There's even an explanation at the end of the page "because of a decision in the municipal council, @ has been replaced by &".

One has to wonder what they are afraid of - that someone will scan the paper, run it through OCR, and place the result somewhere on the internet?

Of course, the real reason is either that the municipal council made a very bad decision because they don't know that they are doing, or that someone has misinterpreted the decision. Either way, the result is a usability disaster - not all people know how to properly format an e-mail address.

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