Phoning in a WTF



  • So I am filling in a profile on an Australian based recruiters website, and have to fill in a contact phone number in order for the form to be submitted. The text under the entry box seems to imply that I should be OK entering my US based phone number, (and in another field I can mark my country of residence as being in the US):

    You must enter at least one phone number. Please ensure international dial code is specified.

    So I enter my cell phone number +1803456XXXX (no - not my phone number), and then tab out of the field. My jaw drops as the page replaces what I typed in with +613456XXXX. I do it again just to verify that I actually did type in what I thought I did, and get the same result. I also enter my home phone number (with the same area code) and see a similar result. I then fire off an email to their website support basically saying that their phone number validation is fucked and I can't create a profile until it is fixed.

    My next step is of course to come here and bitch about my experience. In an attempt to provide an anonymized phone number I fall back on Jenny's number and enter 15558675309 into the fucked up field in order to get something to post here. To my surprise the phone number remains as I entered it. WTF?!?!?!? It screws up my valid phone number but happily takes a fake one????

    Then the penny drops and I realize how well and truly the phone number validation code is fucked up. In Australia a leading zero is used to mark the start of the area code part of a phone number (yes there are other uses for it, but bear with me. See [1] if you want to be pedantic), so if I was in Sydney (02 area code) and Jenny was in Melbourne (03 area code) I would dial 038675309 (well actually not, as in Australia the number part is 8 digits. But you get the idea; still, hang onto that 8 digit requirement.).

    What the validation code did was take my +1803456XXXX, spot the 03 and think that this was the start of the phone number (and for some reason forgetting that the +18 existed), delete the +18 and now see the phone number as 03456XXXX. Then it goes "Oh wow, that looks like a Melbourne based number, but it doesn't have the +61 Australian country code prefix. I know how to fix that!". So then it drops the leading zero, and prefixes the lot with +61 to get the final answer of +613456XXXX and accepts that as a valid number.

    The kicker is that the number it came up with is 1 digit shy of a valid Melbourne phone number.


    [1] Telephone numbers in Australia</a.



  •  At least they allow international numbers. Too many sites must think I live in Massachusetts or Ohio (US area codes 617 or 614).

    Did you try the proper international syntax of a dot between the country code and number?

    The regexp must be missing the ^ on the /0[23478][0-9]+/ test.



  • @Zemm said:

    Did you try the proper international syntax of a dot between the country code and number?


    I tried everything I could think of, but the website responds with
    Please enter only numbers with no spaces.

    Now I've had a god nights sleep I can see that missing the ^ explains everything.@Zemm said:

    The regexp must be missing the ^ on the /0[23478][0-9]+/ test.

    and I also got a reply back from my complaint email:
    Hi Peter

    This field is not a mandatory field, you should be able to proceed to create an account without a phone number.
    We will contact you via email.

    Can you please test this and advise if you have any further issues?

    So in other words the help desk didn't even try something that would take less than a minute to test, but instead throws it back on me!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Zemm said:

    Did you try the proper international syntax of a dot between the country code and number?
    Which standard is that one? E.164 doesn't mention anything about separators.



  • @PJH said:

    @Zemm said:
    Did you try the proper international syntax of a dot between the country code and number?
    Which standard is that one? E.164 doesn't mention anything about separators.
    It's an intuitive requirement. See that dot between the E and the 164?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @flabdablet said:

    It's an intuitive requirement. See that dot between the E and the 164?
    So it's not a requirement and instead is just something you pulled out of your ass.

    Less nastily, is it actually in widespread use? I've never seen it, but then I'm in Europe which definitely does not use a dot like that in telephone numbers. (There might be dots, but they're just noise characters that can be stripped.)


  • BINNED

    @dkf said:

    Less nastily, is it actually in widespread use? I've never seen it, but then I'm in Europe which definitely does not use a dot like that in telephone numbers. (There might be dots, but they're just noise characters that can be stripped.)

    And then, in another part of Europe, it's dashes. Phone numbers are either 6 or 7 digits, so it's either XXX-XXX or XXX-XXXX

    But wait! There's more! What about area codes you ask? Well, obviously, you use a slash! Also, you should dial 0 first, so it's 0XX/XXX-XXXX (except for a single area code that is only one digit, so it's) 01/XXX-XXXX

    And then there's international numbers where no one can come to any kind of agreement. +<country_code> ? 00<country_code>? Where do you put dashes? Do you put in the slash anywhere? Fuck knows!



  • @dkf said:

    Less nastily, is it actually in widespread use?
    The only place I've seen it in was in WHOIS responses, and I always thought that it was just a quirk.
    @Onyx said:
    But wait! There's more! What about area codes you ask? Well, obviously, you use a slash! Also, you should dial 0 first, so it's 0XX/XXX-XXXX (except for a single area code that is only one digit, so it's) 01/XXX-XXXX
    Here area codes used to be put in parentheses, like this: (01) 1234-567, but since dialing the area code became almost mandatory, the parentheses have mostly disappeared. It was also somewhat common to see numbers written as +386 (1) 123-4567, but nowadays it's usually just +386 1 123-45-67 (dashes? they can be put almost anywhere). Never saw a slash being used here.


  • BINNED

    @ender said:

    Here area codes used to be put in parentheses, like this: (01) 1234-567, but since dialing the area code became almost mandatory, the parentheses have mostly disappeared. It was also somewhat common to see numbers written as +386 (1) 123-4567, but nowadays it's usually just +386 1 123-45-67 (dashes? they can be put almost anywhere). Never saw a slash being used here.

    TBH, I mostly see that format in most places these days as well, but that's not how most people are used to writing phone numbers.

    I guess I get ticked off by it more easily since I'm working on software that interfaces with a PBX, so it's a constant guessing game of:

    Ok, no 0, does that mean it's the same area code and it's written that way because that's how you dial it in this config? Let me check the settings in DB...
    Now we have a 0, ok, parse area code... or not, do they have it set up so they need to dial 0 first for the outside line? GAAAAH!

    Yes, TRWTF is not insisting on one setup instead of letting clients demand stupid shit because "that's the way our outdated PBX you're now replacing did things!"


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @ender said:

    Here area codes used to be put in parentheses, like this: (01) 1234-567, but since dialing the area code became almost mandatory, the parentheses have mostly disappeared. It was also somewhat common to see numbers written as +386 (1) 123-4567, but nowadays it's usually just +386 1 123-45-67 (dashes? they can be put almost anywhere). Never saw a slash being used here.
    We used to write numbers like (0123) 456789 in the UK but that's been long gone (due to the mess we did with mobile and personal numbers, neither of which really use area codes). We now mostly write either 0123456789 or +44123456789 (sometimes with random extra punctuation/spaces but which doesn't mean anything; most websites strip it out from what users provide).



  • @dkf said:

    We used to write numbers like (0123) 456789 in the UK but that's been long gone (due to the mess we did with mobile and personal numbers, neither of which really use area codes). We now mostly write either 0123456789 or +44123456789 (sometimes with random extra punctuation/spaces but which doesn't mean anything; most websites strip it out from what users provide).

    At work, our signatures use +44 (0)1234 567890. Some poor sap has to go through and manually correct them all because tap-to-call doesn't work on Android, and running scripts against AD is frowned upon.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @timbstoke said:

    At work, our signatures use +44 (0)1234 567890. Some poor sap has to go through and manually correct them all because tap-to-call doesn't work on Android, and running scripts against AD is frowned upon.
    The usual fix for such bureaucratic stupidity is “Directory Services will allow running of a script against AD to fix this, or Directory Services will find the cost of hiring someone to fix it manually taken out of their budget.” Threatening a group with an effective budget cut virtually always makes them back down (and sometimes leads to a particularly obstructive lower-level member of staff getting the boot for disobeying a direct order from their line manager, which is all to the good).


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