Email [at] obfuscation [dot] whatever?

My email address is on clear display: ude.wu@abhass . Is this madness? Will I succumb to spam crawlers?? Should I have opted for the traditional “foo [at] bar [dot] com” approach?! Well, here’s the thing. What you’re seeing is some sleight-of-hand.

Here’s the actual code:


<span style="display: inline-block; unicode-bidi: bidi-override; direction: rtl;"
onmouseover="this.innerText=this.innerText.split('').reverse().join('');
 this.style.unicodeBidi=''; this.removeAttribute('onmouseover');">
ude.wu@abhass
</span>

The style property is set to reverse text direction, so the server and most bots see “ude.wu@abhass”. Bots typically seek the “@” symbol and then a dot afterwards, so I’m not at much risk here. A spammer could program their crawler to run forwards and backwards to sniff out my email address, but that would mine too many false positives. In any case, this security measure appears effective, as the linked Superuser.SE post discusses.

The mouseover property requires a javascript enabled browser. This code lets you copy the reversed text and magically paste it in the forward direction. Credit is due to user abenier’s comment. Without the mouseover code, you’ll copy the reversed string. For example, see what happens when you copy and paste the following text that doesn’t use the javascript mouseover code: I HAVE DECODED THE ULTRA SECRET MESSAGE!