Forum software is 10 years out of date in email address standards


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Really? Is the software genuinely that far behind the times? It’s not like RFC 5233 is now over ten years old. Surely you can fix this bug where it incorrectly thinks that if the user part of an email address has been tag-modified it’s a different user?


Hey @jph

Starling uses Discourse, so it may be worth raising it on their forum directly:


I’m aware it uses Discourse. That’s neither here nor there for me as a customer of Starling.

If it weren’t so absurd it would be funny that you’ve apparently seriously suggested I spend my time signing up and posting on other forums when it’s entirely not my responsibility or remit for Starling to think about choosing modern and functional software for their user forums. :joy::joy::joy::joy:

Perhaps a better response would be for a staff member to come here and say they are working on talking to Discourse to arrange a fix? @StarlingSupport


For the not–so–savvy of us round these parts, can you please explain, in plain English, what the problem is?

What do you mean by ‘tag-modified’, for example?


No problem :slight_smile: First of all, did you read the RFC I linked?

An email address is made up of the local part (before the @) and the domain (after the @).


here ca is the local part and the domain (with com the tld)

there are restraints on the character sets you can use in both parts.

You can also append a “tag” to the local part separated by various characters - this is called subaddressing.

In this way, all emails to and and all go to ca’s inbox. It’s the same user.

It’s very useful as it allows you to filter emails from all the various sign ups into a single account.

However you can’t send from these addresses, only as Discourse is unable to understand this meaning the whole useful timesaving reply by email feature is completely broken.


So the feature is partially broken. If you use sub addressing it won’t work. If you don’t it will?


Yes, I did read the link, and actually I know about apending +stuff onto email addresses. Have been using this system with my custom Gmail for years. Turned out I didn’t know its proper name. Thanks for the explanation.


No worries, hope it makes sense now. I recommend using it for ALL companies as it’s very easy to trace who leaks your data to spammers.


It’s broken in as much as it doesn’t conform to standards and arbitrarily breaks. Everything is a continuum.

Would you say it’s only partially broken if it “works for any email address (unless it has a vowel in)”? Or if it works perfectly fine for all email addresses (as long as the local part is more than 27 characters and a prime number and the told ends in a letter form the second half of the alphabet)? Clearly not.

It breaks randomly under normal use and to pretend that’s okay because it doesn’t affect some people is frankly ridiculous.


it’s an extension which from the link you provided states


On email systems that allow for ‘subaddressing’ or ‘detailed
addressing’ (e.g., ""), it is sometimes
desirable to make comparisons against > these sub-parts of addresses.

Is this not optional?


At the risk of seeming to miss the point, I must say I don’t understand the apparent heat being generated here…

Perhaps an indication of where we’re going with it?


It’s going no where as the software isn’t maintained by starling


Not sure I’m following you I’m afraid.

A basic and time-saving feature is broken and there’s a very simple fix which will make things work for a sizeable number of users. At the moment it doesn’t work and there’s literally no reason why it shouldn’t (other than ignorance or laziness on behalf of the devs).

Email reply is completely unusable by anyone who uses email tags (which almost everyone should do). It can be fixed simply at no cost to any other users. It’s as simple as that.

Things are made worse by the fact that Starling doesn’t allow you to create your own account (you have to sign in via OAuth or similar) so you don’t even get to choose a non-tagged email address if you wanted to lose all that functionality at the expense of making this part work right.

How is that relevant? Surely they should give a **** about following basic standards that have been around and popularly used and integrated for years? They have a say and a choice.

No, as per above. And even if it were, why restrict people from using email as it was designed to be used? What possible positive point is there from this bug? The mind boggles at the apologist behaviour in this thread. It’s clearly an issue, it’s easy to fix, it helps people. What’s the problem?!


Hi @jph, quite the intro to the forum you’ve had today.

You are obviously very technically minded (judging by the posts across multiple threads), but I feel some of the issues are only going to affect other very technically minded people (and then, it’ll only affect the ones that let it bother them).

This email sign up business is a prime example. People have complained about Starlings sign up process due to the fact you need to use twitter/Facebook etc, but your issue seems very specific to your personal annoyances.

Perhaps you can take up your technical issues directly with Starling, and see if they can give you the answers you seek. But things like the sign up email, and the sms issue, haven’t ever cropped up, because the majority of the population won’t let it bother them (or don’t know enough about other alternatives to be bothered in the first place).

I don’t think having multiple threads which go into very technical details about small parts of the forum, or some of the other “secondary” issues are necessarily the way to go (even if you feel they are valid points).

I certainly think you should call, or ask to speak to one of the tech guys/girls, rather than ask the Starling staff on this forum, who are here for community support, rather than technical answers.

Also, @Charlotte_Lorimer is covering for other Starling staff this week, so this isn’t her usual gig, and she’s here to pass on any info she can.

I’d like to say thanks to Charlotte for stepping in, and I’m sure we all appreciate the fact that whilst you don’t have access to certain systems, you are doing your best to pass across our questions and concerns.


I just don’t get the aggression that you appear to me to be displaying. I’ll leave you with this … no matter how long an extension to a standard has been around does not mean it has to be supported universally or implemented. As an example I understand that office 365 does not support sub addressing ( unless it’s been implemented in the last 6-8 months).

Lastly for me, this guy says it best


@nickhoward - thanks for your comments. You may feel these are niche issues (I certainly have zero technical background whatsoever and consider myself a “regular” users). But when you see such flagrant disregard for simple and obvious things, it seems worth mentioning (especially when your net worth is on the line!)

If the majority won’t let the SMS issue bother them, more fool them. They are the ones losing millions to fraud which ramp up banking costs to the rest of us.
Similarly the email issue I have mentioned is inherently and completely intertwined with other complaints about the sign up here as I explained (I have not seen any of these threads but it sounds like they could be merged as the issues are so related).

And as for talking to Starling directly about it - I have and their responses have variously been an utter misunderstanding of the issue, hilarious claims that mentioning public ISOs compromises security (especially in ight of their other security ignorance) and straight up refusal to even discuss the SMS issue.

I’m not sure where you’re reading any aggression into my posts - sorry if that’s the case, it’s certainly not the intention.

It’s just frustrating to try and use a feature that looks like it would save time, then be told it’s my job to track, report and request bug fixes with the third party they have sub-contracted to and by others that it’s not a real issue because it only affects a subset of users (I think my examples illustrate the utter spuriousness of this).

Looking at your link:-

It’s not Discourse’s fault, it’s his fault. If he wants to be his username, then he has to use when he sends email

This is utter lies as I’ve pointed out above! Did you read my post?! YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS AS STARLING REQUIRES YOU TO USE EXISTING OAUTH ACCOUNTS WITH PRE-DEFINED EMAIL ADDRESSES. If I wanted to throw away my privacy concerns, lose all my extra functionality and choose a new, non-tagged email address I can’t!


I can only imagine this heat is getting to you… :sweat_smile::fire::sunny:


I must admit my 1st thoughts after reading your posts was definitely one of aggression (for want of a better word) so much so for the 1st time ever I actually looked at at a person’s profile to see how long u had been a member, was surprised to see at that time only 20 hours, whether or not you are intending to give out such an attitude I don’t know, but you certainly are doing so. My immediate thought was well if these what most people would consider trivial matters are bothering you, then as Starling is far from perfect you might be spending more time on here then you originally intended to.


I’m not in the UK. I just think customers deserve to risk their money with an outfit who know significantly more about what they are doing than the average person.

The simple fact is that no response from Starling so far makes me seriously consider otherwise.

As for my use of capitals in the seventh post in the thread (which it appears people have interpreted as aggression rather than highlighting) I was merely trying to over-accentuate information I’ve spelled out in patient detail multiple times already but which is repeatedly ignored (the motivation behind which I can’t begin to understand) :man_shrugging:


Is it cold where you are then?