Wednesday, July 28, 2004

RFC: Accessible mail links

OK, there are a fair few techies reading this I guess, and a fair few puzzle solvers too, so I'm hoping for some decent coments on the following problem.

On a website where accessibility is mandatory, i.e. a public sector service that has to comply to various accessibility standards, what's the best way to present e-mail addresses to contact people at?

Ideally, the best thing is an open mailto: link, but naturally this attracts spam. You could disguise the e-mail address using, say, Javascript or an Image, but each needs an accessible alternative, such as a NOSCRIPT tag or an ALT attr, which would contain the plain e-mail anyway, rendering it useless. And you could use automatic filtering (Bayesian, Spam Assassin, etc) to filter out e-mails, but this would have to be *thoroughly* tested to really make sure you don't trash anyone's e-mail - this is probably at least doubly important for a public service than, say, an individual inbox.

I can't think of a decent way off the top of my head, and TBH, I'm not even sure how well Bayesian filters work (due to not having used them much). Is there a third way?

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