Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 2002)

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Subject: Re: large ISPs blocking mailing lists
From: "Bernie Cosell" <bernie @ fantasyfarm . com>
Organization: Fantasy Farm Fibers
Date: Fri, 17 May 2002 12:33:17 -0400
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <3CE4D4A6 . 16956 . DD97262 @ localhost>
References: <5 . 1 . 0 . 14 . 0 . 20020517035804 . 029bb8d0 @ listhost . net>

On 17 May 2002, at 10:00, Mike Avery wrote:

> Moreover, you don't have to block the email.  You can 
> send it to the intended recipient with text added to the 
> subject line.  Something like, "*** SPAM SUSPECT ***, 
> which allows the recipient to deal with it.

We tried that and found it wholly unacceptable --- basically, every false 
positive involves, in essence, trashing a legitimate message.  [consider 
doing a 'reply' to such a message.. it'll be a constant pain that you 
have to remember to edit the subject line].  We currently have our filter 
set up to add an additional header line, basically something like:
   X-this-looks-like-spam:  WHY
where the 'WHY' is whatever triggered the detection [so that users that 
have trouble with particular heuristics can 'tune' which 'WHY's they like 
and which they choose to ignore].  BUT -- we then discovered that OE 
[that cursed piece of crap] cannot filter on anything but the 'normal' 
headers...  After a lot of screwing around, we eventually decided that 
putting a comment after the 'To' address was about the least obtrusive, 
but still-OE-filterable, place to put the spam-notice [we also still add 
the X-header for folk with non-crippled mail clients, of course].

>..  Some people don't mind missing some legitimate 
> emails as well.

I was *astounded* to learn this.  I get regular bounces from world, 
thanks to their dumb, overaggressive filtering system, and when I 
informed the on-world listmembers that they were losing about 5% of the 
contributions to the list (and presumably also lord-only-knows how much 
other email) they just said they don't care.  For my part, the moment I 
learned that world was "helping me" [sic] by blocking some of my incoming 
email, I was *out*of*there*...

I wonder how many folk really DO have that attitude [that is, not caring 
if some percentage of their incoming email is just trashed and vanishes].

Just think how easy it would be: you could cut spam in half for those 
folk just by discarding half of their incoming email at random, sight 
unseen...:o)  What's scary is that they might think that's OK and only 
complain that it didn't bag ALL of their spam... [at which point, you 
just dump ALL of their incoming email and make them happy campers..:o)]


Bernie Cosell                     Fantasy Farm Fibers
mailto:bernie @
 fantasyfarm .
 com     Pearisburg, VA
    -->  Too many people, too few sheep  <--          

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