[Baypiggies] Challenge/Response email systems

Marilyn Davis marilyn at deliberate.com
Fri Jun 16 01:07:32 CEST 2006

------- On Thursday, June 15, 2006 guido at python.org wrote:

> On 6/15/06, Marilyn Davis  wrote:
>> ----- On Thursday, June 15, 2006 guido at python.org wrote:
>> > Yuck.
>> Yuck?  Because private mail gets a challenge?
> Yes.
>> Please explain.
> This antispam solution simply doesn't scale. As a matter of principle
> I never respond to these challenges. Your loss.

You did answer the challenge, Guido.  So I got that email twice.  Maybe you couldn't resist because it said door.py in the url?

I guess, if someone wants to write to me, they should be willing to answer a challenge once.  If I write to someone first, or if I put them in my address book, of course they never see a challenge.

It feels bad to displease our benevolent dictator, and I'm very sorry you feel this way, Guido.

"Doesn't scale"?  You mean that, if everyone sent a challenge for personal mail from an unknown address, that the amount of email would almost double, actually almost triple because usually the challenge bounces, and then the mail moves to the user's Junk folder -- all lovely Python code.

Even so, mail transfer is a small resource compared to web traffic.  And I can't give consideration to processing and network connection time when I'm comparing with time and aggravation for humans.  IMHO, computers are here to save us time and aggravation.

And, if everyone did Challenge/Response (C/R), computer-generated spam would simply be locked out of business.

I know that most mail administrators, who have their lives and careers centered around spam filtering, are adamantly and blindly against C/R.  But a careful discussion about their list of complaints leaves an intelligently-designed challenge/response system in a good light.

Therefore, it exists at Maildance.com -- pre-alpha.  I just love it.  

When I filtered spam, there would be false-positives, which I consider unacceptible, and/or spam leaking through.  It was an unending and ugly battle.  Even then, when my filter rated an email as spam, I'd send an error message suggesting ways to get the mail through to me.  And people I liked would get that message and feel bad that they were accused of being spammers, no matter how nice I tried to word it.

I hope people give it a fresh thought.  In any case, I'm very willing to discuss it if people care to.


>> Marilyn
>> >
>> > ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> > From: marilyn at deliberate.com
>> > Date: Jun 15, 2006 2:55 PM
>> > Subject: Re: Re: [Baypiggies] Wow! An Optimizing Python-to-C++
>> > Compiler
> --
> --Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)

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