What’s the deal with the email handles?

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

For those of you like me, it doesn’t seem to be the most intuitive way to set up email addresses: first initial, first six letters of last name, the number 1 (or the lowest positive number not already taken). I am myself a 2, which causes all kinds of confusion when people are trying to reach my fellow mkim’s. If anything, I feel your aggravation; I am definitely one of you who are befuddled by the way in which Swarthmore does email addresses.

And we are not alone. Judy Downing, Swarthmore ITS director, writes in an email, “I don’t think anyone who currently works in ITS is particularly crazy about the scheme, but,” she continues, “it does create fewer problems than many other conventions might create. It provides unlimited options with very little tweaking, that is, jdownin1-2-3-4-5 could go on forever.”

That raises the question (which, incidentally, was raised to the Gazette) of why is it that some members of the ITS staff have email addresses of a different nature? For instance, Judy Downing is downing@swarthmore.edu. It’s “only because we worked here when the very first email system was installed and were part of the initial test group,” writes Downing.

I for one have made my peace with Swarthmore’s current scheme, which is almost twenty years old. I almost feel a sense of having done a good deed when I forward emails around to the appropriate mkim, knowing that I facilitated a group project or something. However, if the naming scheme isn’t working for you, you can go to http://www.swarthmore.edu/its/, Manage Mail and Server Accounts, Email Preferences, and set up your very own alias for an alternate email address.

Got another source of confusion or wonder? Write to us at dgazett1… just kidding. Write to us at dailygazette [at] swarthmore [dot] edu!

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