4

The Contact Us link on the bottom of the site currently reads

href="mailto:team+askubuntu@stackexchange.com"

as far as I know, this is the incorrect format for most some email clients. I don't know if the address is just 'askubuntu' or 'team_askubuntu' (or other lost symbol), however if it is the former then the following would work for me (GMail):

href="mailto:team+<askubuntu@stackexchange.com>"

EDIT: Since I was informed the correct address has a plus in it, I would recommend the following:

href="mailto:team%2Baskubuntu@stackexchange.com"
  • re your recommendation, please see the table in my answer – Marc Gravell Mar 16 '12 at 11:36
9

This is ... a bone of contention; basically, the email address is perfectly valid - but the browsers can't agree on what the correct encoding is - whether it is foo+bar@blap.com vs %-encoding, and no single encoding works on all browsers. We've gone with the former for now, as it has wider compatibility - BUT I was very disappointed that when google added an official mailto: handler, they broke this (so it comes in as foo bar@blap.com), when every other browser works the other way. FWIW, the previous unofficial handlers in gmail were also broken.

This is discussed more https://webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/15920/should-plus-be-encoded-in-mailto-hyperlinks, and AFAIK the conclusion is: it is ambiguous spec.

But! Try it in IE/FF/Safari/Chrome etc to see it work/not-work. You might need to test both the "mailto:" handler (i.e. going to an email client), and the "copy email address" that most browsers will add as a context menu. Sigh.

Example: http://jsfiddle.net/zmEPe/

Browser     |             With +           |             With %2b
            | Click link    | Copy address | Click link    | Copy address
------------+---------------+--------------|---------------|----------------
Chrome 18   | Fail (" ")    | Pass ("+")   | Pass ("+")    | Fail ("%2b")
w/ GMail    |               |              |               |
            |               |              |               | 
IE 9        | Pass ("+")    | N/A          | Pass ("+")    | N/A
w/LiveMail  |               |              |               |
            |               |              |               |
Safari 5    | Pass ("+")    | Pass ("+")   | Pass ("+")    | Fail ("%2b")
w/ LiveMail |               |              |               |
            |               |              |               |
Firefox 10  | Pass ("+")    | Pass ("+")   | Pass ("+")    | Pass ("+")
w/ LiveMail |               |              |               |

So: if we want this to work everywhere, we're going to need per-browser markup, which is - just wrong.

From the table, and the spec, I conclude that mailto:team+askubuntu@stackexchange.com is the more right representation, and if only the GMail handler wasn't broken, the world would make sense everywhere.

Blame GMail.

I tested this and logged a bug as soon as the official GMail mailto handler was released. AFAIK, it disappeared into the ether.

  • Maybe it would be OK if the email address was the link text? I know that pretty much defeats the point of a mailto: link in the first place but it would fix C&P with Chrome and Safari. – Huckle Mar 17 '12 at 2:00
  • @Huckle a: that makes the intent unclear, b: it takes an unpredictable (between sites) amount of space, and c: I'd have to test, but I wouldn't expect that to work (will try it, out of curiosity). However, that isn't my preferred solution. – Marc Gravell Mar 17 '12 at 7:28
3

This is the correct address, + is a valid email operator is the receiving email server supports it. As Stack Exchange is likely using Google Domain to manage their mail services the address+filter format would automatically filter incoming emails to specific folders if it's setup.

  • In that case, it needs to be escaped in the href, because plus is interpreted as a space in most URLs. If you don't believe me, set your mailto handler to chrome and click through the link. – Huckle Mar 15 '12 at 0:23
  • 1
    @Huckle In Chrome when I click on the link it opens just fine in Evolution and Thunderbird. If you're experiencing an issue it might need to be filed as bug against whatever serviced didn't read it properly. – Marco Ceppi Mar 15 '12 at 0:28
  • I tried a different browser (still with chrome as the mailto: handler) and it yielded the same results, with this as the URL in chrome: https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1&tf=1&source=mailto&to=team+askubuntu@stackexchange.com indicating the bug is likely in either chrome or gmail. Odd how their own service isn't handled correctly. – Huckle Mar 15 '12 at 0:33
  • Either way, the site would be more compatible (and possibly not any less compatible, although I don't have another email client to test it) if it was altered to a %2B instead of a + – Huckle Mar 15 '12 at 0:34
  • Update: tested team%2Baskubuntu@stackexchange.com in thunderbird and it works OK. I imagine others would handle it as gracefully. – Huckle Mar 15 '12 at 0:42
2

No, that's a valid email address. Pluses are valid characters and they certainly work in Gmail (I've used that email address a lot).

  • In that case, it needs to be escaped in the href, because plus is interpreted as a space in most URLs. If you don't believe me, set your mailto handler to chrome and click through the link. – Huckle Mar 15 '12 at 0:18
  • @Huckle; now try it in every other browser, and try the "copy email address" with/without the encoding. Last time I checked, there was no single representation that worked everywhere. – Marc Gravell Mar 16 '12 at 11:10
  • @Huckle I've added an example to my answer – Marc Gravell Mar 16 '12 at 11:13

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