[Mailman-Developers] Opening up a few can o' worms here...

Chuq Von Rospach chuqui@plaidworks.com
Tue, 16 Jul 2002 20:11:43 -0700

On 7/16/02 5:57 PM, "Jay R. Ashworth" <jra@baylink.com> wrote:

>> But without rules, you can't teach the recipient what's right (with a cattle
>> prod, if necessary), and without rules, the lynch mob has no binding
>> authority.
> Where, by "rules", here, we mean "rules about what it acceptable mail"?

Well, we're talking past each other a little bit, but at the same time, not.
Because I think there's still a responsibility on the list admin, because
when someone signs up for a list, they're delegating some responsibility
over who can access their mailbox to the owner of the list, and the
agreement between the two are the rules set up about acceptable content. So
you can't duck some responsibility here.

Oh, by the way, there's few ways guaranteed to PISS ME OFF more than someone
who signs up for a mailing list, and then starts bouncing selected pieces of
the mail because of filtering systems. Which usually happens because their
admin installs stupid filters... (I don't care if you throw them away, but I
hate showing up in the morning to 50 bounce messages because of some flakey
content filter...)

Right now, for instance, one of the lists at apple is having a discussion
about coding problems. And the user starting it served up a code fragment
that included:

    int xxx = 0

You can imagine the chaos that ensues among the STUPID IS FILTER IDIOTS who
do overly simplistic filtering and assume it actually does something useful.

But I'm not bitter.

(and I'll be curious to see just how many bounces that I or barry see from
THAT simple notation.....)

> That sentence seems to assume that the majority of the people *falling
> in* the tarpits are people doing it by accident.  I don' think that
> and I don't think *you* think that.

Yes, I do. Since I (for the most part, most of the time) have the felons
locked out of the system pretty well, most of the people who cause problems
on my systems aren't trying to f--k with the system, they're people who are
oblivious, confused, or misguided. Even the spammer over the weekend meant
no harm, which doesn't mean harm wasn't caused. It was a classiv case of "my
cause is so important it justifies doing this" -- which, he found out the
hard way, a few hundred people disagreed with him over.

> By which I meant, "sigs of people in your address book."  No, this
> doesn't solve the "stupid user" problem... but you don't *solve* that
> with technology.
> You solve it with a LART.

Sometimes, the best solution is a public flogging, to teach everyone else to
be more careful next time. But if you overdo it, people tune you out, too.

> Stipulated, but they're 80-90% of the market.  I think even skewing for
> "non-Windoze users send more mail, you would still be about 70%,
> intuitively.

We're working on that (a quiet voice whispers: "but a f---ing mac already!
It has unix inside for all you geeks, too!")

> Chasing people who directly harvest your listmanagement machine in
> person seems quite another.
> *That* you can't do on a case by case basis?  Are you getting harvested
> every 5 minutes?

You want to find out? Create a honeypot. Put some email addresses on it.
Attach it to your home page. See how quickly you start getting e-mail to
those addresses.

You'll usually find the answer is "days". Once in a while, it's "hours".

> No, I mean in other cases.  You're using webharvesting, it seems, as
> your major motivation here; it doesn't seem to me -- please don't take
> this wrong -- that there's evidence that it's really a big enough
> problem to solve (for people who don't send 40M pieces of email an
> hour).

I don't think you're looking close enough. Run a few honeypot tests and see
how often people sneak a peek at YOUR system. On mine, it's a few days.

Chuq Von Rospach, Architech
chuqui@plaidworks.com -- http://www.chuqui.com/

Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties
are largely ceremonial.