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Ask Slashdot: Name Conflicts In Automatically Generated Email Addresses? 383

New submitter matteocorti writes "I work at medium-sized university and we are considering reducing the number of domains used for email addresses (now around 350): the goal is to have all the 30K personal addresses in a single domain. This will increase the clashes for the local part of the address for people with the same first and last name (1.6%). We are considering several options: one of them is to use 'username@domain.tld' and the other is to use 'first.last@domain.tld.' The first case will avoid any conflict in the addresses (usernames are unique) but the second is fancier. Which approach does your organization use? How are name conflicts (homonyms) solved? Manually or automatically (e.g., by adding a number)?"
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Ask Slashdot: Name Conflicts In Automatically Generated Email Addresses?

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  • Re:Middle Initial (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @12:20PM (#42751473) Homepage Journal

    Or you could, you know, conventionally assume the conventions of where your company is based, and treat special cases as special cases.

  • Re:USERNAMES (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mk1004 ( 2488060 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @12:21PM (#42751495)

    Then let them use a private, on-line account.

    In a professional environment, you always use your real name. Yes, I know this is a university, but someday the students are going to need to learn how the business world works.

  • KISS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @12:22PM (#42751515) Homepage Journal
    If usernames won't give conflicts, then use them. And for the people that wants fancier emails, you can put aliases as firstname.lastname while there are no duplicates
  • "Why not both?" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jaryn ( 880486 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @12:25PM (#42751557)
    My university takes the unique usernames approach ( abc123@mail.domain.tld ), but also creates aliases for everyone ( generally in the form first.last@domain.tld , but the user actually can choose whatever they want, if there's a collision). Seems to work well enough.
  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @12:26PM (#42751587) Homepage

    It is a Western university.

    First off, no one wants a 200 character email address and we are limited to Western characters.

    Anyone going to a Western university has a Western style name to use in cases such as this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2013 @12:37PM (#42751739)

    People need to stop assuming everyone has a legal First and Last name.

    Everyone has a name, which people pronounce out loud. English uses characters and combinations of characters to represent sounds. Thus, everyone has a Name which can be translated into English. In our society, people are assumed to have a first and last name, if you only have one name then the other can be assumed to be blank, empty, NULL, etc. but it is easily compensated for in any society which can grasp the concept of "zero" or "nothing". It's a trivial task to program for, if you can't handle an empty value then you have no business being involved in this type of process to begin with.

    Where I work, we do the Surname up to 12 characters, followed by a random 4 digit number which has not already been allocated with that Surname. If you were to only have one name, we'd use that one, but even after dealing with many, many foreign workers who only have one name we've never encountered this. Why? Because they are smart enough to understand that When in Rome, Do as the Romans, and have a compatible "Western" name which they go by on a day to day basis. If you're looking to go on some kind of Cultural Acceptance Crusade, do it on your own time- either you understand how to adapt yourself to the communication methods of your clients, or you suffer a disadvantage. That's life, deal with it.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger