Just when I thought it wasn’t possible for my Autodesk discussion group experience to get any worse, it has. Much worse.
I stated before that in the 15 November update, some Einstein decided it would be fun to copy my private work email address over the top of my public user ID, automatically making it visible to all and sundry in many places. I should note at this point that publishing somebody’s email address without consent is illegal in some locations, including here in Australia. So to the best of my knowledge (not that I’m a lawyer), Autodesk is not only perpetrating a grossly irresponsible breach of privacy, it’s also breaking the law.
Attempting to fix this myself failed, because of some new introduced bug in the login system. When changing my user ID from my email address to “Steve Johnson”, the screen falsely claimed that the data entered was invalid. I have reported that here, on the newsgroups themselves, and as an official top-priority Subscription support call.
During one of my user ID fix-up attempts, a popup screen asked if I was changing the password (I wasn’t, I was trying to change the user ID) for user “Steve Johnson” or user “my email address”. I tried both in turn, but neither worked. That got me thinking that maybe the update may have created two versions of me; one with the correct name and one with my email address, with the latter being associated with my discussion group messages. So I tried changing the email address one to a name that wasn’t my email address and wasn’t Steve Johnson (SteveJohnson-blognauseam), in the hope that this would at least remove my email address from public view.
I was pleasantly surprised when this change was accepted, but my elation was short-lived. The change process logged me off automatically, and then refused to let me log back on. I can’t log on as SteveJohnson-blognauseam, I can’t log on as Steve Johnson, and I can’t log on as my email address. All attempts are refused as invalid. I can’t log on to chase up my Subscription support call. I can’t log on to erase my email address from the body of a discussion group message, which was automatically infected with my full-text email address when I edited it in an attempt to fix up some of the new formatting issues introduced to the awful editor by the recent changes. Not only that, but after all that, the change of my user ID didn’t “take” in the discussion groups themselves! It was all in vain! Strewth.
I’m stuck in the worst of all worlds. My Subscription access is broken. My email address is still visible. If anyone replies to any of my messages, that email address is likely to be reproduced in plain text in their message, and I’m not going to be able to edit it. I can’t even log on and complain about it on the discussion groups themselves. I don’t have access to my work email account for another 36 hours so I can’t chase up the Subscription people that way, and if they email me with instructions or a request for information I won’t see it. So the chances of this being fixed in a reasonable timeframe (i.e. before the spambots do their harvesting) are slim, to say the least.
Would the dolt or dolts responsible for this SNAFU care to come forward? No, I didn’t think so.
I am struggling to find words that adequately express my displeasure at Autodesk right now. It wouldn’t be quite so abysmal if it wasn’t a repeat of the exact same situation just a few weeks ago, for which I and many others roundly and justly slammed Autodesk at the time.
Autodesk is listening? Yeah, right. In this case, Autodesk is doing a great impersonation of a fence post.
Edit: overnight, my name change to SteveJohnson-blognauseam did actually “take”, so most of the email address instances are gone. Unfortunately, a spambot only needs one instance, and I’m still left with at least one message containing my email address in plain text. I still can’t log on using any of my 3 possible user IDs, so I can’t fix it up myself.
Edit 2: an Autodesk person kindly emailed me (which must have taken significant intestinal fortitude) to inform me they had reset my password, which allowed me to log on and remove what I hope is the only plain text instance of my email address. Other than a few marginal technicalities I described to the Autodesk person, that’s my email address hidden again. Now, what about everybody else in the same boat?