I long ago discovered that the best way to reduce the amount of SPAM is to have two e-mail addresses, one private and one public. I use the private one for writing to friends and for professional work, only listing the public one on the web. Now I even have a third, gmail account, I use for mailing lists.
Unfortunately, it seems nearly impossible to keep one’s e-mail address truly private. One problem is that it appears in some published writings and syllabi which have been scanned by Google. Another problem is that I accidentally used the wrong signature file in some e-mail posts I had sent to lists which are now archived on the web. And a third problem is that people I know have had their computers infected by worms which harvest all the e-mail addresses on their computer.
Several times I’ve had to write people to tell them to remove the address from web sites. But it never occurred to me that I needed to use a fake address when publishing academic articles! I’ve written the following letter to Cambridge University Press:
Dear Cambridge University Press,
I recently published a book review in one of your journals: Language in Society. [URL Redacted]
As a result, I now find that carefully guarded private information of mine is accessible to the whole world. My home address and my private e-mail address. While I previously would have not worried about this information being included in one of your journals, it becomes an entirely different matter when it is put up on the web. By doing this you are making me more vulnerable to both SPAM and identity theft.
I am writing to request that you remove this information from your web site. Not the abstract itself, but the private information associated with it.
Thank you for your understanding.
I’d actually like to post the PDFs of several recent publications to my web site, but I’m still unsure how I can edit out the personal information from the files before posting it online. What a pain!