Newbie: Choosing a user ID questions

David Shaw dshaw at
Sat Jan 31 20:48:59 CET 2004

Hash: SHA1

On Sat, Jan 31, 2004 at 11:05:45PM +0100, Peter Valdemar Mørch wrote:
> A couple of newbie questions regarding chosing a user ID:
> 1) Avoiding spam _and_ including the email address in user ID
> I get too much spam, so I'd like to use a userID such as:
> Peter Valdemar Mørch <peterRemoveThis at>
> But obviously that is not my correct  email address. Is this "A Good 
> Thing"? Should I rather omit email address altogether? (Especially if I 
> later will ask others to sign it?)

Some people may refuse to sign it if the email address is invalid.
The main reason not to do it is that it will break many mail programs
that use the mail address to find a key.

There haven't been any cases of spam harvesters hitting keyservers,
probably because keyservers are not particularly interesting for a
spammer.  They have to do a lot of work to get addresses since the
keyservers don't let people download names in bulk, plus there very
few addresses there compared to what a spammer could find on the web.
It's just not worth it, when for the same effort a spammer could get
significantly more addresses by scraping the web.

> 2) Why is the user ID "hidden"/embedded with --export --armor?
>        and
>    How to extract the user ID from such an armored key without changing
>    my keyring?
> I'm just wondering why the ASCII armored output from --export --armor 
> doesn't contain the userID in clear text, so it is human readable.

Because it's not human readable.  It's machine readable ;)

The easiest way to see what keys are in an armored file is to simply

   gpg the_file

This will print out a human readable list of keys.

Version: GnuPG v1.3.5-cvs (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Key available at


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