[Mailman-Developers] Fwd: suggested improvement for Mailman's bounce processing

Brad Knowles brad at stop.mail-abuse.org
Tue Aug 15 20:22:49 CEST 2006

At 8:19 AM -0400 2006-08-15, Barry Warsaw wrote:

>  I tend to be more sanguine about things.  I'm younger than you but
>  I've been around for long enough to have heard about the death of the
>  internet/arpanet for 25 years.  It hasn't happened yet and I don't
>  think email and SMTP is going away any time soon.

We're certainly getting there for some people.  I found out the other 
night that my Mom no longer bothers doing e-mail.  Okay, she's 62, 
retired six months early due to medical problems (terminal cancer), 
but she's still got a few good months left and she doesn't want to 
waste them trying to fight spam in her mailbox.  So, she just reads 
most of the time.

My own spam load is around 90-99%, depending on how bad the day is. 
My ISP routes all their mail for their customers through Postini, and 
they catch 90% of that, but that still leaves a lot for the ISP to 
deal with.  So, they set up their own secondary anti-spam handling 
system, which is still as large or larger than the entire rest of the 
mail system put together.  And I still get an annoying amount of spam 
that gets through to my client, which also has anti-spam features 

I can certainly see why many people would get to the point where they 
start feeling like e-mail no longer has any real value.  I certainly 
feel that way about most USENET newsgroups I know of, and for the 
same reasons.

>  Maybe all the kids will gravitate toward other modes of communication
>  and leave us dinosaurs to our spam riddled 20th century telegraphs.

They already have.  It's called IM, chat, or txtng -- depending on 
the exact platform.

Many times I've said that e-mail is the only universal 
mission-critical platform, but I've also said that each organization 
may have their own mission-critical applications on top of that.  AOL 
is no different.

When I was the Sr. Internet Mail Administrator for AOL, we had only 
two mission-critical applications -- e-mail and chat.  If they 
weren't available, then most customers would just leave, because 
there wasn't much of anything else that they wanted to do.

And "spim" is already a major problem, or so I hear.  I haven't heard 
of "spat" or "sptxt" being much of an issue, but I'm sure that 
they'll figure out a way to abuse those systems as well.

Thanks to Dateline NBC and Stone Phillips, we have certainly seen way 
more than we ever wanted to know about how predators use IM to lure 
kids into abusive situations, and I guess that would probably be the 
worst form of "spim".

>  Or maybe we'll stay just barely ahead of the spammers enough to eek
>  out the benefits of email and mailing lists for another 20 years.

I think we'll try, and for some people we will succeed, but my fear 
is that more and more people are going to start giving up on e-mail 
and will switch to alternative communication methods.

Those methods are likely to be less convenient because if it's too 
convenient for us then it will probably be much too convenient for 

Brad Knowles, <brad at stop.mail-abuse.org>

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

     -- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania
     Assembly to the Governor, November 11, 1755

  Founding Individual Sponsor of LOPSA.  See <http://www.lopsa.org/>.

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