For like a week or two now, I noticed something strange and yet not entirely unpleasant happening to my inbox. There were no angry emails from students complaining that I didn’t grade their homework submitted 3 weeks late the very second when they submitted it on Sunday evening at 3AM. My spam filter has already learned to automatically and quietly file away the mail from all the MSU specific mailing lists to my SPAM folder so I didn’t really notice any decrease in traffic.
Here is a side note for those of you who haven’t attended my lovely alma matter, and current teaching grounds. When you start as an undergraduate and get your university based email address you get automatically subscribed to 5 million mailing lists with creative titles such as [allstudents], [undergraduatestudents] and etc. The mailings range from weather announcements, information about campus events, bookstore deal, off campus events, local events, events that have nothing to do with the school, job opportunities, random shit and a etc. On average you can get 60+ emails per day. If you are silly enough to come back as a grad student you get signed up for another million mailing lists, some of which double up on functionality with the undergrad ones so you get upwards of 100+ emails per day. If you become a faculty member or an adjunct after that you… Well, you get the picture. Naturally, your mailbox has 15 MB quota so if you go on vacation and don’t download any of your emails for a week your mailbox will fill up, and new emails will get rejected. Best system evar!
Before they took away my school unix account I was using a simple procmail script to sieve all this crap to /dev/null. The script was actually written by my former mentor who was also sick of this crap.
But let’s get back to the matter at hand. Apparently several of my students told me they were trying to reach me via email for days with no success. I went digging in my inbox and my SPAM folder, and my fears were confirmed. There was no recent email there. Everything was few weeks old. What happened?
Worst part is that there was almost no way for me to notice this. There were no error messages, no notifications, no bounced emails. KMail had no problems connecting and authenticating against the POP server and kept telling me that there was simply no messages on the server. Hell, I could even log into the school’s web mail service to see this:
I called OIT today and confused the hell out of them too. Apparently I was still using my student email account and these expire after a year. But while my email expired, my login was inexplicably tied to other services which I was still using – such as the course management service, the online storage, and dozen of other things. So it appears that I appear as a teacher in some school systems, as a student in other, and even as neither in some. In other words, whatever was done to my account(s) last may was done wrong and it set off a time bomb destined to explode in a year. And that’s what happened here. And the timing couldn’t be worse either since this is the very end of the semester – the time when students always have tons of questions about their grades, projects and etc.
I guess few grad students turned adjuncts stick around for longer than a year around here. It seems that my case is fairly unique and unusual. Let’s hope they can figure out how to fix it without totally fucking up my login to all the school services.
It’s probably worth posting a quick update. The issue got fixed on Friday. They managed to un-block me in their system so that I was able to create a faculty netid with a new and improved email account with 200MB quota. I can actually use IMAP on this one and don’t really have to worry about deleting stuff other than spam. :)
They also unblocked my temporary email, mentioning it will get discontinued soon. Why did it get stuck? Apparently it had something to do with me using POP to access it, but the tech support person I spoke with did not know the details. Oh well. I’m glad the issue got resolved. :)
[tags]msu, montclair state, email, webmail, email trouble, oit[/tags]