I was the recipient of the following message:

My name is Angelica Tello, and I saw your information on Serverfault. I’m interested in getting feedback from tech professionals on a few questions. I’m a part of Cydeck, a free site focused on helping tech professionals take control of their careers or grow their small business. Cydeck provides job opportunities, partnership alliances, project collaboration tools, knowing sharing and commerce exchange.

One of our features, Insights, has some similarities to Serverfault. Cydeck is driven by the needs of tech professionals. We would like your input on how we can help the IT community of professionals. I’m not trying to sell you anything; I’m just interested in creating a dialogue with professionals who are active in the tech community. Below are some questions I have for you.

As a tech professional, what are your business needs and wants?

  • What attracted you to join and participate on Serverfault?
  • What would you like to see be a part of online tech communities?
  • I look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for your time!

Angelica Tello

Cydeck Community Support

You know you've reached a certain level of fame and fortune when others want your userbase. My questions, then, are:

  • Has anyone else been contacted?
  • How did you respond?
  • What do Joel/Jeff/etc. think of this? (A moment of meta. :)
  • 2
    Do you think this might be a legitimate request? The only way I can see to contact you by e-mail is through a link on your website, or by reversing your e-mail hash (which I haven't done, obviously). Meaning, this cannot possibly be bulk spam, and therefore isn't a system problem.
    – Jon Seigel
    May 3, 2010 at 17:08
  • The email arrived at my Gmail address (which I don't use for correspondence or list as a typical contact address, although you can find it if you look for it), which increased the "smell" factor of the message for me. I'm also not a huge contributor, which makes it odd that I'd be singled out for contact.
    – esm
    May 3, 2010 at 17:12
  • @esm: Is that GMail address the one you have listed on Server Fault? I only ask because I notice that it's not the one you have in your contact info here on meta.
    – Bill the Lizard
    May 3, 2010 at 17:15
  • 2
    Well, you do have three e-mail addresses on your website's contact page, including a Gmail address. Essentially, someone had to look up your e-mail address manually. If anything, that reduces the smell factor, IMO. BTW, I have been contacted this way twice, and both times it was legit.
    – Jon Seigel
    May 3, 2010 at 17:18
  • 2
    I got one too. My email address is in my profile, though, so there's no mystery where they got it. Strange that my Server Fault profile is interesting, as I only have 550 rep and a handful of questions and answers.
    – Kyle Cronin
    May 3, 2010 at 17:36
  • For the record, I only have one email address listed; the other two are instant messaging usernames, and I'd expect a representative of a technical community (Cydeck) to appreciate the difference. The form-letter nature was off-putting and set off my targeted-spam alarm, but I can accept that I might be in the minority on that opinion. @Bill, same email address in both places, neither of them gmail (although I use google as an alt. openid provider).
    – esm
    May 3, 2010 at 17:38
  • I got one with the first two (but not third) occurrence of Serverfault replaced by Stackoverflow.
    – SLaks
    May 4, 2010 at 22:11
  • 1
    I just got on as well for StackOverflow
    – Daniel Schaffer
    May 6, 2010 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


If someone contacts you through public information you've entered in your profile, I think that is legitimate.

Are you saying that this person contacted you by some means other than the public info in your SF profile?


  • From the discussion above, it's starting to look like they grabbed an address that looked like an email address from my own website (ie. not from severfault directly, but from a public source). So I suppose the question ought to be: is this tacky? ;)
    – esm
    May 3, 2010 at 17:44
  • 3
    Sure, it might be tacky; but if you don't want people to contact you, don't have your contact information on the internet... Otherwise they'd have to read your mind to determine whether or not you want them to contact you (:-)).
    – George Stocker
    May 3, 2010 at 18:12
  • Is the email address available in the data dump? If so, this provides a very simple mechanism to contact everyone on the site (who lists an address).
    – Ether
    May 3, 2010 at 18:27
  • @Ether: no, it's not.
    – Shog9
    May 3, 2010 at 18:29
  • @Ether: No, but the MD5 hash of the e-mail address is in the data dump. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/35222/…
    – Jon Seigel
    May 3, 2010 at 19:14

You must log in to answer this question.