A sneaky way to make sure nobody assigns test failures to your team

Raymond Chen


In the Windows division, we have a number of internal tools. One of them is for assigning test failures.

I needed to assign a test failure to another team. I entered the team’s email alias into the tool, but the tool rejected it. The team’s email alias was 21 characters long, but the tool’s limit is only 20 characters. (This is a very old tool, and my guess is that at the time the tool was written, email aliases were only 8 characters long. “Twenty characters should be enough for anyone.”)

That’s a sneaky way to make sure nobody assigns test failures to your team.

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  • Avatar
    Piotr Siódmak

    The full email or the part before the “@”? 20 characters is the limit for SamAccountName, so maybe the tool was using [SamAccountName]@[domain] to pull the user data from LDAP.

  • Avatar

    What is the final resolution? Increase the width of that field, or ask for new shortened email alias on behalf of that team?

    Normally I would think the first one is the way to go, but applying for shorter version of group email address have potential to solve possible problem on other systems.

  • Avatar
    Mason Wheeler

    Validation issues like this are fun! I remember once, in the late 90s, a friend got locked out of her Hotmail account and couldn’t get back in even after a password reset. She asked me to take a look at it, and after a bit of checking, I realized that the temporary password Hotmail assigned in the password reset process did not meet the system’s password guidelines! I can’t prove that that was what was causing it to not let her log in, but after I (somehow; don’t remember the details) got it to reset the password to something new that did meet the guidelines, she was able to log in just fine.

    • Avatar
      Aged .Net Guy

      Me personal domain name ends in .us, not .com. At the time I set it up, .us had been a ccTLD since the beginning of the internet addressing scheme a decade previously. It was astonishing how many website email address validators even into the late 2000s refused to accept that a 2-character TLD was legal. I eventually got a freebie yahoo.com email just to satisfy those all to frequent ignorant websites.

      I don’t think I’ve had this problem since about 2010. Thank goodness.

      • Jonathan Harston
        Jonathan Harston

        Yeah, .ca .uk .au .de .jp .hk all those newfangled two-letter TLDs that have existed since the dawn of (dns) time.

        I once filled in a survey of “when did you first use the internet?” and it refused to let me truthfully enter “1985”.