[Mailman-Users] what constitutes spam?

Brad Knowles brad at shub-internet.org
Sat May 19 04:33:03 CEST 2012

On May 18, 2012, at 5:14 PM, Anne Wainwright wrote:

> For the record the following URL is of interest
> http://www.spamhaus.org/consumer/definition/
> This clearly makes the point that spam is defined by two factors
> "A message is Spam only if it is both Unsolicited and Bulk"
> and being who they are their definition must carry some weight. In terms
> of their definition my mailing was not spam. Still, and I think Stephen
> made the point, there is also the consideration of good business
> practice to be considered.

Actually, if you go back to Mark's message where he said:

	As an additional FYI in this thread, Mailman sends invitations
	with a "Precedence: bulk" header. This can only be changed by
	modifying code.

Then you will note that the message you sent does actually qualify on both counts -- it was most definitely unsolicited (by your own account), and unless you modified the source code then Mailman definitely marked those invitations as "bulk".

Even if Mailman hadn't marked the messages as bulk per se, if you sent out invitations to more than one person, then that could also be classified as essentially being "bulk".

There are features in Mailman that can be misused and abused in a wide variety of ways, and it is the responsibility of the Site Administrator(s) and the List Administrator(s) to make sure that they operate the software in an appropriate manner.

For example, if you were using Mailman internally to your company and could guarantee that no one could ever get on any list unless they were an employee, then by the terms of the employment contract you might be able to do things that might otherwise be considered of a "spammy nature", like requiring that all employees be subscribed to certain lists that they can't unsubscribe from, sending out invitations to join mailing lists that they did not request, etc….

We have to allow for these kinds of things because not everyone uses Mailman in the same way for the same user community.  And some types of actions are appropriate for certain user communities but not for others.  We can't just disable or remove features simply because they are not appropriate for a particular user community.

In essence, you're asking us to protect you against yourself, and there is a limit to how much of that we can do.  At least, there is a limit to how much we can do if we want to keep the software usable for other people.

Brad Knowles <brad at shub-internet.org>
LinkedIn Profile: <http://tinyurl.com/y8kpxu>

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