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I've received an email from "[email protected]". Is it legitimate? How can I tell?

I won't quote the whole thing, but in short it's asking for feedback for a new feature:

.. We’re testing a new feature and we'd love to hear what you think of it...

It includes a sign up for chat "button" with a link that starts with https://itr-links.stackoverflow.email... and is 359 characters long.

edit:

Someone marked this question as a duplicate to What email domains are known to be used by Stack Exchange?.
Why I don't think it's a duplicate:

  1. My question is older so if they are duplicates, the other question should be closed against this one, rather than the other way around.
  2. I was asking specifically if a concrete email address is legitimate, while the other question asks a general question about used domains.
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  • 4
    Domain seems legit - that's one of the email domains they use as far as I remember Jun 22, 2023 at 9:17
  • Legit but might be a bug in the sender address, all the emails I get are from [email protected] so that people won't reply. Jun 22, 2023 at 10:12
  • 3
    To stop getting those emails, go to your email settings and uncheck "Research" items. Jun 22, 2023 at 10:13
  • 4
    @ShadowWizardStrikesBack It's not bout opting out as much as about legitimacy
    – Greenmarty
    Jun 22, 2023 at 11:30
  • 4
    the domain is indeed owned by Stack Overflow (and what they use for sending emails). If DKIM validation passes, it's sent by Stack Overflow. Also, the fact there's a subdomain is no cause for concern. It's sent using sendgrid and that's how clicks are tracked
    – g3rv4
    Jun 22, 2023 at 12:30
  • @g3rv4 yes, they must have a way to gather the data to generate those nice graphs and presentations, e.g. "5421 users reached the Survey by clicking link in email". Jun 22, 2023 at 13:20
  • 9
    @Greenmarty The email in question was from me, I'm a UX Researcher at Stack Overflow. We use a tool called Iterable to help us keep track of requests for participation in research studies. The "sign up to chat" would take you to a Calendly link to schedule a session!
    – Emma Bee Staff
    Jun 22, 2023 at 13:21
  • @EmmaBee question is whether Greenmarty asked to get such emails or not. Jun 22, 2023 at 13:22
  • 5
    Oh, I see where I went wrong. The emails are definitely legitimate. If Greenmarty wants to stop receiving them, they can simply adjust their email settings. Thanks for pointing that out.
    – Emma Bee Staff
    Jun 22, 2023 at 13:51
  • 22
    @EmmaBee I know this isn't your fault and is really industry standard - my employer does the same thing - but as a field y'all really have to figure out how to make less spammy legitimate emails. Emails with links feeding through trackers etc look exactly like illegitimate spam. Sender address is not sufficient validation because it's easily spoofed or routed through compromised accounts. Legit links should always go through friendly domains and/or have an alternative mechanism for access, like an inbox you get to through your normal login. Jun 22, 2023 at 15:11
  • 3
    @Shadow yeah well, if you hack SE servers, you can control what happens to people landing on stackoverflow.com... in that scenario, hackers would probably send you to stackoverflow.com and do anything malicious there :)
    – g3rv4
    Jun 22, 2023 at 18:10
  • 3
    @g3rv4 Doesn't help if the email account is compromised (like by a previous phish), and the domain in this case is not even one that we should generally trust, it's trivial for a bad actor to obtain a somedomain.other domain where people are familiar with somedomain.com. Jun 22, 2023 at 20:14
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    I'd have marked anything coming from "@stackoverflow.email" as phishing without a second look. Mostly because of the sus looking domain. And tracking links being industry standard doesn't mean it's acceptable - basic security definitely isn't "industry standard", which is why phishing and related things still happen as much as they do.
    – Gloweye
    Jun 22, 2023 at 21:40
  • 3
    That the other question is older isn't a problem for duplicate closing. This happens more often, especially in cases like this: a specific question comes up, for which a canonical answer would also work. If that canonical has not been written, it has to be done, making it by necessity younger than the "original" question.
    – Adriaan
    Jun 26, 2023 at 6:04
  • 4
    And that's your second reason, which is a fine reason to disagree with the duplicate closure. My comment was merely to point out that your first argument is actually invalid.
    – Adriaan
    Jun 26, 2023 at 6:07

2 Answers 2

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That email address is at least valid. See this post of mine on meta SO, about emails from that same address. Emma Bee, a UX researcher at SO, confirmed that those were indeed actual emails from SE.

They never got back about why those emails were sent to me in the first place, though, in direct violation of my email settings.

2
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    sorry to not get back to you about this. I did some digging, but could not find an issue. If your email settings are set as you prefer and it happens again, please email me directly and will look more into it!
    – Emma Bee Staff
    Jun 22, 2023 at 13:24
  • @EmmaBee i though about email you but i could not find your email so i posted question here. I don't click on unfamiliar links in email unless i know it can be trusted.
    – Greenmarty
    Jun 23, 2023 at 7:00
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As Emma Bee mentioned in a comment on your question, this is indeed a legitimate email sent by Stack Overflow:

The email in question was from me, I'm a UX Researcher at Stack Overflow. We use a tool called Iterable to help us keep track of requests for participation in research studies. The "sign up to chat" would take you to a Calendly link to schedule a session!

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