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

href="mailto:[email protected]"

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+<[email protected]>"

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

href="mailto:team%[email protected]"
  • re your recommendation, please see the table in my answer Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 11:36

3 Answers 3


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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]), 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:[email protected] 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
    Commented Mar 17, 2012 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. Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 7:28

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
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 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. Commented Mar 15, 2012 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&[email protected] indicating the bug is likely in either chrome or gmail. Odd how their own service isn't handled correctly.
    – Huckle
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 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
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 0:34
  • Update: tested team%[email protected] in thunderbird and it works OK. I imagine others would handle it as gracefully.
    – Huckle
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 0:42

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
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 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. Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 11:10
  • @Huckle I've added an example to my answer Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 11:13

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