[Mailman-Users] msg marked as spam 554 5.7.1 [P4]

Stephen J. Turnbull turnbull.stephen.fw at u.tsukuba.ac.jp
Sun Jan 5 23:21:51 EST 2020

Thanks for the update, Bruce!

Bruce  Johnson writes:

 > This was the actual bounce error from one of the offending messages:
 > A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
 > recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:
 > [redacted]@alaskan.com
 >     host 
 > inbound.gci.net
 >  []
 >     SMTP error from remote mail server after end of data:
 >     554 5.7.1 [P4] Message blocked due to spam content in the message.

Note to OP: This is different from the message mentioned by you ("550
illegal Unicode BOM in header" or similar).  I'd need to see that
message's full header to debug that fully, but it sounds like GCI is
generally not doing a great job here.

 > It’s being bounced by some spam rule on CGI.net; it’s a global one
 > so it’s something in their configuration, since none of the other
 > providers are bouncing it, it’s not really recognizable as spam.

Bruce, Looking at your "from" address, I wonder did your message mention
pharmaceuticals, conditions, or treatments by name?  I know that for a
long time my personal filter had an enormous variety of spellings of
erectile dysfunction treatments. :-/  Nevertheless, I would say very
probably GCI is responsible.  Recipient ISPs are very hard problems,
as such ISPs generally don't give anywhere near as many damns about
lost mail (which they invariably blame on senders and/or mailing
lists) as they do about any uptick in spam.

The list should start by opening an issue with GCI, if necessary by
mail to postmaster.  If they give you "you're not a customer" BS,
report that to their users, too (see below).  At the same time, I
would inform the sender of the mail that's systematically
misclassified and ask *them* to open an issue with GCI, and to inform
you of any response.  Since they're a governmental body according to
the OP, they may have more pull than a mailing list with a "mere"
X,000 members.  If they don't get a timely, responsive answer, or get
"not a customer", send a post to the list saying "GCI-based
subscribers *are provably* losing certain kinds of list mail on a
regular basis, and since it's an automated filter, *may* be losing
non-list mail as well.  GCI is not cooperating in resolving the
problem."  Cc: the help desk, or if necessary, postmaster at gci.

If that gets no action, the next step would be to suggest well-behaved
competitors to GCI. }:^}  (If postmaster@ bounces, this is the first
step. ;-)

I agree with Jayson Smith that it's quite possible that GCI is not
running its own spam filters, but that's too bad for them.
postmaster at GCI is responsible for the health of its mail system by
definition, and that includes getting timely action from outsourced
service vendors.

I don't think there's much the list can do about this (short of
unsubscribing GCI addresses, which is not recommended unless required
by law or applicable regulation ;-), as both the sender and the
recipients' providers are effectively sovereign in this area, and the
message content is apparently innocuous.


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