Well, this is embarrassing. It’s a lot more fun to write about malfunctioning technology than to explain my bone-headed mistakes, but the only way to avoid this sort of thing is to not make bone-headed mistakes and I still haven’t figured out how to do that.
A few weeks ago I posted the Twilight Zone story of creating a MeWe account, having it vanish, creating another, and then having the original account send me a friend request. Last week a member of the MeWe team saw the post. The did an investigation and were able to sort out what happened. (Spoiler: It was user error.)
Back in the old days – in the mid aughts or so – I was juggling three different email addresses. I had one from my internet provider, one here at my domain, and a third through gmail. The plan was that @shamusyoung would be the public-facing address conversing with the masses, and @gmail would be for a small list of friends / professional contacts. However, it was somewhat random which one I’d use when creating a new account someplace. When I’d try to do an account recovery I’d have no idea which email I’d used to create the thing. It was madness.
So about seven years ago I made a new rule: All accounts will use @gmailWhy? Because gmail has better spam filtering than my @shamusyoung address.. So now ALL accounts tie to @gmail. Over time, the @shamusyoung address fell out of use. If strangers want to contact me these days they usually leave a comment on the site or DM me on Twitter. Very few go to the trouble of finding the @shamusyoung contact info.
Obviously my two MeWe accounts were bound to these two different addresses. That was my mistake. I created the first using @shamusyoung and then went looking for it later, assuming it would be @gmail.
So that’s the mistake. But how did I make it? What would possess me to create a new account here in 2018 using an address I barely think about and haven’t typed in years? And having done so, how could I not notice when looking for the account two weeks later?
I THINK this was a result of the way I was invited to MeWe. Someone sent the invite link to @shamusyoung. I’m betting that when I clicked on the link, it set up an account for @shamusyoung without me needing to type in an email. So I didn’t notice I was linking MeWe to the wrong email. At some point in the distant past I set up @shamusyoung to auto-forward to @gmail, meaning this mistake was invisible to me.
So how did I get a friend invite from myself? According to MeWe:
On the first account you must have selected the optional feature to Sync Contacts. If this is selected it will auto invite your contacts ONLY if they join MeWe.
Huh. (That’s a cool feature, although I might suggest that invites make it clear if they’re sent via automated systems or through direct user interaction. Like, if I was divorced I might still have my ex-wife in my old contact list, and thus when trying to import all my buddies I’d end up sending her a friend invite. This would likely create confusion and misunderstandings for both of us. Then again, maybe feature requests like this ought to come from someone who kept their wits on the account creation page.)
So that’s how I created a surreal mystery for myself. I have to commend MeWe’s support for being so good they went and solved my problem without even being told about it or asked to do anything.
 Why? Because gmail has better spam filtering than my @shamusyoung address.
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My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2013.
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