Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(February 2003)

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Subject: Re: [Fwd: EFF Mailing List Query]
From: JC Dill <inet-list @ vo . cnchost . com>
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 09:40:06 -0800
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <20030223142626 . GA20724 @ gsp . org>
References: <3E583DD9 . 8030705 @ vo . cnchost . com> <20030223142626 . GA20724 @ gsp . org>
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Win98; en-US; rv:1.3a) Gecko/20021212

Rich Kulawiec wrote:
On Sat, Feb 22, 2003 at 07:19:53PM -0800, JC Dill wrote:

From the latest EFF mailer...

-------------------- snip snip --------------------
* Mailing List Headaches? Contact us.

Unfortunately, we've lately learned that more and more opt-in mailing
lists are being mislabeled as spam and wrongly blocked.

FUD.  I'm unaware of any properly-run opt-in mailing lists that have
been mislabeled as spam and "wrongly blocked".

It happened to the inet-access list when some dofus subscriber accidentally/mistakenly/ignorantly (your pick) sent a list post to SpamCop.

I've read about *many* legitimate opt-in discussion lists that have been blocked at AOL, and the onerous contract AOL wants list owners to sign to be unblocked. In one case, the contract stated that if you signed it you couldn't disclose it. A list owner discussed this *proposed* contract with his lawyer and they determined that if he *didn't* sign it, he *could* disclose the terms of the contract, and that's what he did. It's out there on the web somewhere. It is a very depressing story, he had to let his AOL subscribers lose so that the rest of us could know what AOL was up to (and may still be up to, who knows?).

I am aware of a number of improperly-run mailing list which are either not
opt-in (but claim to be -- a common spammer lie) or which are improperly
run (without closed-loop confirmation) that are blocked.  This is an
entirely good thing, and should be encouraged in order to prod list-owners
into behaving as responsible members of the Internet community.

In neither of the above cases were these improperly run mailing lists. They were being *improperly blocked* by bone-headed ISP admins. List owners should not have to continually jump thru these hoops because those ISP admins who seek to block spam keep on throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Of course, individual users may forget that they've signed up for
something and report it as spam: but that's easily fixed simply by hanging
onto all subscribe/unsubscribe logs permanently.  (I've got mine, or at
least I think/hope I do.  They compress nicely. ;-) )

JC: perhaps you might want to share here the information that you sent
to spam-l about the link between the EFF and well-known spamhaus Topica.

I didn't "share the information" with spam-l, I corrected a mispost that implied that the information was new, or the relationship startling. Anyone who knows Brad Templeton or the EFF knows what both are about, (and if they don't know, there's Google to find out). Brad's involvement with Topica goes back 4 years (and is openly disclosed on both Topica's site and in Brad's bio) and his involvement with EFF issues goes back more than 10 years (per There's nothing new here.

For many of us, it IS possible to support a single project (such as ensuring that legitimate opt-in discussion lists are not blocked) even when other goals of the organization (or its members, even the Chairman of its Board) are not perfectly aligned with one's own goals or views. If this isn't possible for you Rich, please don't try to limit the rest of us and insist that we see the world thru your murky colored glasses, OK?


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