[Mailman-Users] AOL redacts user addresses even with VERP and full personalization enabled

Lindsay Haisley fmouse at fmp.com
Sun Jun 17 06:58:46 CEST 2012

I have no idea why AOL wants to make it difficult for list
administrators to unsubscribe people who don't want to be subscribed and
who complain to AOL about list posts being spam.  The only explanations
that come to mind are very sinister ones, but given the way things are
going these days, it may indeed be that AOL is truly trying to break the
Internet mail system so that they and their ilk can try to rebuild it
according to their own (for profit) model.

As of April 4, I was still receiving AOL's Email Feedback Reports with
the sender and return-path addresses improperly redacted in included
subject emails so that I could parse out the complaining subscriber.

Return-Path: <redacted-bounces+johndoe=aol.com at lists.local-list.com>

These reports are fairly rare these days, and I haven't received any of
them from AOL since then, although I'm subscribed to their reports for
both of my servers.  If AOL is now fully redacting subscriber
information then indeed perhaps the only way to identify the complaining
subscriber is by tracing the Message ID through the mail log files.
Another alternative might be to add a header to outgoing messages to
include the subscriber address as a hash in an X-something header.
Assuming the management of AOL complaining subscribers via their Email
Feedback Reports is automated at the list server (as it is here) it
should be relatively fast and simple to extract the salt chars from the
hash and run a crypt on each subscriber address to see if it matches.

Is there anyone with the Mailman project with sufficiently informed
inside contacts at AOL who could find out exactly what's going on with
AOL (and Earthlink, which I believe uses the same system) and why
they're doing this?

It might be worth noting that one of the several lists I host will not
accept subscriptions from AOL addresses because of their problem
policies.  What with gmail accounts being free and easy to get, AOL is
simply cutting themselves out of the loop in the long run with their
policies.  No loss there!

On Sat, 2012-06-16 at 20:14 -0600, Terry Earley wrote:
> We are getting pretty frustrated with AOL. Their feedback report redacts
> addresses, so we enabled VERP and full personalization so the "envelope"
> can send us the actual address. No good:
> Return-Path: <all-bounces+redacted=aol.com at discuss.fiteyes.com>
> To: redacted at aol.com
> Errors-To: all-bounces+redacted=aol.com at discuss.fiteyes.com
> Sender: all-bounces+redacted=aol.com at discuss.fiteyes.com
> Terry
> fiteyes.com
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Lindsay Haisley       | "Never expect the people who caused a problem
FMP Computer Services |  to solve it." - Albert Einstein
512-259-1190          |        
http://www.fmp.com    |

Lindsay Haisley       | "Everything works if you let it"
FMP Computer Services |
512-259-1190          |          --- The Roadie
http://www.fmp.com    |

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