Admin fishes dirty office chat from mistyped-email bin and then ...?
Would you expose it? Delete it? The choice is yours, dear readers
ON-CALL+POLL Welcome again to On-Call, our weekly (and preponderantly prurient) piece in which readers share horror stories from their workplaces.
This week, we're going interactive, because the situation in which reader “Flash” found himself describes an ethical dilemma The Reg feels un-qualified to address.
Flash once had a gig “managing the email server for a manufacturing company in Los Angeles".
Flash quickly noticed that “customers (hell, everyone) could not be trusted to type an email address correctly.” So he set up a catch-all address and every day scanned that inbox so he could send typo-blocked emails to the right person.
One day, Flash recovered an email from one sales person to another. As was his prudent habit, Flash retrieved the email.
His reaction: “Boy, did I get an eyeful!”
Some back story: the sales people were often on the road and were married, but not to each other. Which is why Flash's mind boggled as he read an email from the male sales person that “described in great detail the joy he had the previous day during their encounter at a motel.”
The mail “went on to describe, again in great detail, every little thing he was going to do with her body during their next encounter. Absolutely nothing was left to the imagination. It could have been used as the script for a porn flick.”
[How do you know that, Flash? - Ed]
Reading that mail left Flash with the dilemma we need your help to solve.
“I was trusted and respected by both management and rank-and-file alike,” he mailed El Reg. “I wanted everyone to continue trusting me.”
Hinting to one of the parties that they should knock it off - or at least the graphic emailing - would make Flash identifiable as an email snoop and/or snitch. Correcting the mis-typed email and letting it reach its intended recipient would make him complicit in the affair and Flash didn't like the idea of that, either.
What would you do in this situation? We've cooked up a poll that includes Flash's response, plus some sensible alternatives. After you vote, go to page two to learn what really happened.