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Email debugging hints and tricks

A number of issues can keep the digest from being delivered to any given address. If you don't get one for several days, first check the archives to see if any are being sent. Sometimes Paul is out of town for a while, so there may be a short pause.

If digests are being sent but you didn't get yours, you may want to consider these possibilities:

  • Your account may not be set to send you a digest. When you navigate to your membership profile you will see a radio button under each of your email addresses letting you choose whether to send a digest to that address. This allows you to send the digest to just one address but let us know about multiple addressed from which you may send us emails. We check to see if all emails are from someone we know and mark those we don't know as spam.

    There is a link on the bottom of every digest which allows you to turn off this button. If you click on that accidently it will still turn it off! So your first step is to make sure that radio button is on for your email.

  • Your mailbox may be full. This is true for several recipients every digest. We usually don't take any action on these delivery failure notifications unless they go on for months, at which time your address will be marked as a 'bouncer' and digests will no longer be sent.

    If your email address has been marked as a bouncer you will see an indication of this on your membership profile and will have the option of removing that flag. Please only do so after you have resolved the issue which caused the bounce.

  • The path to your email address may be down. Several digests each digest are not delivered due to name server timeouts, retries or other such issues. We ignore these diagnostic messages. They usually fix themselves in a day or two, and usually the system retries until the path is up, so you probably won't lose the digest. If you do, the archives are there for you.

  • Your domain may have gone away. Users on home.com recently had this happen. More recently mediaone.net got shut down. If you are notified of such a change, please change your address in the CFO system. Otherwise we have to mark you as a 'bouncer'.

  • Your ISP may have decided that we are spam. We hate spam too, so we don't get too upset with these guys. But sometimes they use rather crude methods to sort out spam, and we can get snipped. You can talk with your ISP about this, they are usually responsive. We try to recognize spam filter or security rejections and take action on each of the ones we know about.

  • Your mail system (usually your ISP) may have forgotten about you. At the rate of about 6/digest, an address bounces as 'user not found'. Usually it's fine the next day, but after we get a few of these in a row we will mark you as a 'bouncer.'

    Please note that you can do just about everything that we can do regarding your subscription, as we often say, it's self serve.

    If you don't get digests for a while, first send email to yourself from another account just to see if you can.

    If that works, go to your Membership Profile has a button where you can send yourself a test message through our sender. This is also handy when you are talking to your ISP about why they are blocking emails which are being sent to you.

    While you are in your membership profile, look at the box labelled 'bouncer'. If it is checked that means we have been getting bounces from your email provider and have marked your account to stop trying. Feel free to un-check that box and see if it has started working.

    Increasingly these days ISPs are simply swallowing emails they don't like, so we can't see why they don't like them. If your ISP simply is not delivering your email, call them and complain.

    If your address is correct, the box to send a digest is checked and the bouncer box is not checked, and you are a member in good standing then we definitly are sending the emails. We can't force them to be delivered... you'll have to work with your email provider to make that happen. There really is nothing we can do from outside to make it happen.

    There is a button on your membership profile page which will let you send a test message from our system to your email. That's a good way to do debugging, sometimes even with your ISP support team on the phone.
    At some point it may be best to simply get a GMail account, as that system seems to work fine.

    In the meantime, the digests are in the archives for your enjoyment.

    Keith Peterson
    CFO Webmaster




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