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How to hide email adresses from spammers

I've been toying with methods for keeping email addresses from being posted directly on TWiki pages, particularly user pages and the admin address that are all over the place. I'm trying to avoid email addresses being grabbed out of web pages and used to send spam.

What I want to do is much like what Twiki already does with wiki words: any time an email address is seen in the text it is replaced with something which is not a plain text email address and behind this is linked to a form allowing a user to send a message through Twiki.

for example:


may be rendered as

<a href='twiki/sendmail?page=HidingEmailAddressesPluginDev&index=1'>(visible representation)</a>

and the user would see

(visible representation)

I like this idea because...

  1. most of my other ideas did not allow a user to easily send a message without going to an external email program
  2. it provides simple, automagic, email protection globally.


  1. what should be put in for the (visible representation)?
    • image of the email address
    • the phrase 'email (TWiki user name)'
    • other?
  2. how does one do the send mail form?
    • TWiki form?
    • /cgi-bin/mailform.pl?
    • something else?

other ideas I've had:

  • add some strange syntax to generate an image for some enclosed text, rather than send an ascii string it sends an image of the ascii string
  • convert the email address into one of those javascript things where the address is not found in the html text, but can be used normally in the rendered version of the page.
  • add some obvious text to the address so that it is not valid

-- DavidDelikat - 19 May 2004

  1. IMO, the first step is to DENYWEBREAD to TWikiGuest on the PeopleMain web. That way only registered users can see other users. I believe this should be done to all TWiki's.
  2. I've tightened some of your wording, hopefully making it clearer what you are aiming at. IIRC EmailThisPage has some similar musings.
  3. I've renamed the page to ....Dev as there is no code at the moment.

-- MartinCleaver - 19 May 2004

thanks for the edit/name change... I think DENYWEBREAD would make many webs pointless. if someone has no intention of editting, then why make them register? If that level of security was desirable, then it would already be in place.

-- DavidDelikat - 25 May 2004

just tweeking the text... I'm going to look at some of the other plugins to see if there is anything that hints at this kind of functionality so that I can get a start on the code...

-- DavidDelikat - 26 May 2004

I developed something for my site that I called ObfuscateEmailPlugin based on an idea I found on another site (which I'm too lazy right now to find again and credit). It does, as you say, "one of those javascript things" so that the email is not available in the html but is still useable through the browser. It also has the advantage of automatically protecting all email addresses.

I'm going to go ahead and attach the module I'm using (it's really only about two lines of actual code; seems silly to try to copyright it or anything). Do with it what you will.

-- MattTucker - 11 Jun 2004

Thanks Matt! that is just what I said I was going to look for(but never had time to look). I've uploaded a version that would match the design of this project. not much of a change from your script. next I have to:

  1. figure out how to make the image(GD module)
  2. what url to use for it
  3. then I have to figure out how to have a url that brings up a sendmail form.

thanks again for the help.

-- DavidDelikat - 22 Jun 2004

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Perl source code filepm HideEmailPlugin.pm r1 manage 10.6 K 2004-06-22 - 17:03 DavidDelikat ver 0.0 -does not really work.
Perl source code filepm ObfuscateEmailPlugin.pm r1 manage 10.1 K 2004-06-11 - 18:11 MattTucker  
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Topic revision: r6 - 2004-06-22 - DavidDelikat
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