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[icon] Where is the ethical boundary here? - Patti
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Subject:Where is the ethical boundary here?
Time:05:51 pm
Here's the deal. Some ditzbrain moron chick gave out my gmail address as her email address a while ago. She did this a few times, but the specific case that is problematic right now is that she signed up an affiliate for some sports/energy drink company. I know this because I keep getting email that should be sent to her.

Because she's a moron, I have the username and password for her account with this company. I know she's doing business with them because I keep getting UPS delivery notices of her orders. She has a relatively unusual name and lives in a small town in a flyover state, so it's pretty easy to figure out who she is and how to get in touch with her, even if I didn't have her contact info from the signup confirmation mail.

When this happened a while ago, I jumped through all kinds of hoops to get it straightened out. I tried to find a working email address for her, but failed, so I called her and left a message. When she returned my call I explained what was going on, got her correct email address, sent her confirmation email (which she never answered), and even logged into her account on the vendor's website and changed the email address to the one she told me. (And yet the delivery confirmation email is going to my gmail address. I don't understand.)

I'm still getting email addressed to her. I am Not Happy. In fact, I'm annoyed as all fuck and rapidly approaching vindictive.

(Edit: I missed a couple of options. I could also edit her affiliate web page, or order a bunch of shit and have it shipped to her... her credit card is on file.)

Poll #1559926 Is it unethical?

Given the effort that I've made to straighten this out, which of the following would you consider ethical?

Unsubscribing her from promotional email from the vendor
14(31.8%)
Changing her email address with the vendor back to the one she gave them (i.e. mine)
0(0.0%)
Changing her password so she can't order more shit
3(6.8%)
Changing her address so shit she ordered goes somewhere else
0(0.0%)
Canceling her account with the vendor
3(6.8%)

What would you do if you were me?

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whitebird
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Time:2010-05-04 04:50 am (UTC)
Ethically, zero of your options are valid. You have the technology (filters) available to you to where you can ensure that you're no longer bothered by her stuff. And screwing with someone else's actual account information when it involves their finances is never ethical. I grant that it could easily be satisfying, at least at the start. (And I've done similar in the past, and have felt like crap over it ever since.) But it isn't ethical.

I have gotten a lot of people trying to use my gmail account as it's my firstnamelastinitial, which is a common combination.

I've had success in calling people. I've had success in contacting the people who are emailing me and letting them know that the idiot they are attempting to email is not me and I really would rather not receive their bank account information in the future. Almost always these work.

I may have chosen to redirect one person's stuff, though, because it wasn't taking. That was a while ago, so I might be misremembering.
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whipartist
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Time:2010-05-04 05:01 am (UTC)
I think I could make a pretty strong case that unsubscribing her from their marketing email is legit, since that email is coming to my inbox. Send me mail with a working opt out link, and I think opting out is valid.
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whitebird
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Time:2010-05-04 05:09 am (UTC)
Hmm. As long as it doesn't require any login information, then, yes, I think you're correct.

Using login information, though, even if emailed to you by mistake or stupidity, that'd be wrong.

Oh. You do know that gmail has a completely screwed up user naming space spec, right?

All of these should go to the same email account, in a manner that is inconsistent with most other email systems:

username; user.name; usernam.e; u-s-e-r-n-a-m-e

If the person is using, say, user.name, instead of username, they may think that they're using an email address different from username, but they'd be sadly mistaken.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-05-04 05:20 am (UTC)
Yes, I'm fully aware. However, gmail won't let you sign up with patti.b@ if pattib@ is already taken.

And yet, if someone signs up as pBUTTHEAD@, it's pretty easy for that moron to know that their email address is not in fact pattib@.
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whitebird
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-05-04 05:24 am (UTC)
As to your first statement, some of what I have read has implied that that was not or is not always the case.

As to the second, yes, the butthead is self-referential in that case.
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[icon] Where is the ethical boundary here? - Patti
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