Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(October 1995)

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Subject: Re: Mailinglist spamming countermeasures
From: Elizabeth Thomsen <et @ clsn1102 . noble . mass . edu>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 1995 19:11:55 -0400 (EDT)
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <9510242000 . AA09470 @ shadowfx>

I agree that we need to balance convenience against security, but I know 
that my list members *really* hate the spamming, and often lack the 
experience to understand what's happening.  When the first magazine 
subscription one hit recently, there was the spam itself, followed by 
several messages to the group from members raging against the off-topic 
message (thinking, I presume, that it had been sent by someone on the 
list) plus a few messages misaddressed to the list that were apparently 
meant just for the sender, plus a few messages from more experienced 
listies, explaining spam and suggesting various actions (writing to 
postmaster, etc.) plus messages from me explaining spam...all in all, a 
major disruption to the discussion.  I also got a number of messages sent 
to me personally, demanding that I take action, etc.

The Olga message was even worse-- on my Bronte group, someone sent an 
angry tirade to the list saying that advertising mail order Russian 
brides was contrary to everything the Brontes believed, etc.

I have taken a few steps, such as adding a section on spamming to the 
Welcome/Info file for my groups, and will probably soon make the lists 
private, since there are few circumstances in which there is a benefit to 
having nonmembers post to the group.  I realize this will increase my 
list maintenance with people whose form of e-mail address changes.  I 
know I get a lot of bounced unsubscribe messages that are 
user @
 thismachine .
 foobar .
 edu vs. user @
 foobar .
 edu .
   But I think it may be 
worth it if this continues.

I have also made the who command private, since I worry about someone 
getting the list to send spammish messages that look like they were sent 
to individuals rather than coming from the group.

What a pain these people are!

Elizabeth Thomsen

On Tue, 24 Oct 1995, Roy Rapoport wrote:
[lines deleted]
> So, if we look at spammers, is it possible that we might be discussing
> measures that in the end would be more hassle than the spammers themselves?
> How horrid is this problem anyway? I'm afraid I don't have a representative
> exposure to mailing lists -- I'm only on, say, 5-10 of them at any given
> time -- but personally, the two letters from Olga were far less annoying
> than the clueless newbies subscribing on mailing lists, and we're
> certainly not going to stop *them* with anti-spamming measures ...
> -roy
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Roy S. Rapoport                               UNIX/Mac System Administrator
> rsr @
 ide .
 com                              I do not, of course, speak for IDE
> Phone: 415-543-1314 ext. 280                              Fax: 415-543-0145

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