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(January 2003)

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Subject: Re: Looking for explanatory for Precedence line
From: "Tatum, Rich" <rich @ ChristianityToday . com>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003 12:25:16 -0600
To: <list-managers @ greatcircle . com>
Importance: Normal

My understanding is that the Precedence header is an arbitrary
convention and IS NOT required as defined by any RFC. Apparently,
Eric Allman (author of Sendmail and the original *nix vacation
program) created it as a means of identifying which messages his
vacation autoresponder should not respond to.

As with many things good and wonderful, SPAM broadcasters are
ruining the usefulness of such a header comment. (What spammer in
their right mind willingly identifies their spam as spam?) Many
anti-spam filters automatically flag anything with the following

   Precedence: list
   Precedence: bulk
   Precedence: junk

So, if it weren't for spam, these would be useful. But some list
sending applications, like Listserv, haven't implemented this as
a feature because they are non-standard. Lyris doesn't require
the precedence header, but you can add it if you want.

This is the only relevant comment I could find from the RFCs:

    Precedence: Non-standard, controversial.

    Sometimes used as a priority value which can influence
    transmission speed and delivery. Common values are "bulk" and
    "first-class". Other uses is to control automatic replies and
    to control return-of-content facilities, and to stop mailing
    list loops.

   RFC 2076
   Common Internet Message Header Fields


Richard Tatum
Website manager for Christianity Today International
   email:  rich @
 christianitytoday .
   aol im: richtatum

             «The flood of careless, unconsidered, cheap words, is the
              greatest enemy of the profound word» —Stephen L. Talbott

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