Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 1999)
 

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Subject: Re: Useless NDRs [Was: Nondeliverable mail]
From: Jeffrey Goldberg <J . Goldberg @ Cranfield . ac . uk>
Organization: Cranfield University Computer Centre
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 00:04:23 +0100 (BST)
To: Nick Simicich <njs @ scifi . squawk . com>
Cc: Ken Bourbeau <bourbeau @ worldpath . net>, list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <3 . 0 . 5 . 32 . 19990823184650 . 033c2760 @ 127 . 0 . 0 . 1>
Reply-to: Jeffrey Goldberg <J . Goldberg @ Cranfield . ac . uk>

On Mon, 23 Aug 1999, Nick Simicich wrote:

> I did someting else.  I hacked on bulk-mailer until it can do what
> I've heard referred to as VERP, which I learned about here.

I agree that we should all be implementing VERP schemes.  It is certainly
on my ever growing "to-do" list here.  But while VERP solve the
headache of useless NDRs and of tracing out forwardings, etc, it does not
absolve mail managers from having systems with useful NDRs.  VERP-ing
itself is not costless in terms of server resources, and it is a pitty
that it is needed.

> Pretty much every bounce will bounce to the MAIL FROM address, so I
> then can sort them out automatically.  I think sites are getting
> better about at least sending bounces back to RFC821 MAIL FROM.  

> Since I have done this, I've only encountered one site that is trying
> to send bounces to my mailing list to reply-to and will not fix their
> software.

Take a look at

  http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/docs/email/badbounce.html

for a document to refer the people at that site to.  It used to be a more
common problem, but is thankfully becoming rarer.

> I also find that there are three or four autoresponder patterns that I
> grep context for and bounce for manual review that get 95% of the bad
> autoresponders that reply to lists.  Probably simply checking for "out
> of the office" gets 90% of them.  Very few false positives (but this
> is likely to be one) :-).

Yes.  We can try to play catch up and keep our filters up-to-date, but
still we should apply pressure to those sites which host bad
autoresponders.  So, I hope that you at least complain to the site manager
when you do catch one of those.

-j

-- 
Jeffrey Goldberg                +44 (0)1234 750 111 x 2826
 Cranfield Computer Centre      FAX         751 814
 J .
 Goldberg @
 Cranfield .
 ac .
 uk     http://WWW.Cranfield.ac.uk/public/cc/cc047/
Relativism is the triumph of authority over truth, convention over justice.



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