W3Gate - use and abuse
W3Gate is an e-mail-based access method to the World Wide Web. It was developed by the German National Research Center for Information Technology for people with restricted access to the Internet, be it through a poor connectivity or security measures hindering them from accessing the Internet freely from an Intranet. W3Gate also offers everybody a possibility for asynchronous communication and cooperation with the Web. A regular W3Gate service has been in production since the end of 1995, offered on a voluntary and free-of-charge basis. Since that time its usage by end users has grown rapidly. We have suffered from occasional attempts by networked maniacs to deliberately abuse this service, or from misuse by end users who did not understand our documentation and help files. All this finally led to a redesign of the software and to enhanced quality management tools. This paper surveys our experiences running W3Gate and current developments to improve security and the quality of service. It presents our latest results together with our newest ideas about the future of W3Gate.