The recent SPAM messages, and a suggested solution

skip at pobox.com skip at pobox.com
Mon Oct 6 17:36:16 CEST 2008


    Ron> I think most of us are annoyed by the recent SPAM messages that
    Ron> crept onto our list.  I'd like to suggest a possible solution, and
    Ron> maybe start a thread that eventually will rid us of this
    Ron> unpleasantness.

    Ron> My idea:

    Ron> Once every few messages from the list owners, they would send a new
    Ron> numerical string that will have to be included in members' list
    Ron> submission.  A message being submitted without this numeric string
    Ron> will be re-routed to /dev/null.  The current string will be
    Ron> announced on the messages being send to new members upon
    Ron> registration.

    Ron> Since SPAM is sent in bulk, this may be a rather complete solution.

Those of us who manage the the python.org mailing lists are overloaded
enough as it is.  We don't have time to add extra tasks to our daily
checklists.  In addition, ad hoc solutions frequently don't scale well.
Check http://mail.python.org/ for the full scope of the management problem.
We run a single SpamBayes instance on mail.python.org which scans for spam
in almost all those mailing lists.  A couple are unfiltered for various
reasons.

If you read python-list via Usenet (comp.lang.python in its various guises)
there's not much we can do to help you.  If someone posts crap via Usenet
you will see it before it reaches the spam filter on mail.python.org.  Some
Usenet servers may provide decent spam filtering.  Google Groups appears not
to, and their spam reporting process requires several steps on your part.
If you are reading python-list at python.org please feel free to mail me
(skip at pobox.com) any spam which sneaks through SpamBayes.  I will train them
as I can, generally about once a day.  It would really help if you could
attach a zip'd or gzip'd copy of the message.  Don't just paste a spam
message into any mail you send me.

If you read email you get spam.  That is an unfortunate fact of life today.
You should run some sort of spam filter on your system and not rely on
sysadmins or mailing list admins to filter your mail.  My email goes through
Gmail and I run SpamBayes on my laptop as well.  That presents its own set
of issues (I have to poke around in both filters' traps to find spams which
sneak through the mail.python.org filters for example), but I generally see
very little spam.  You can get SpamBayes (it's free and written in Python)
from <http://www.spambayes.org/>.  There are a number of ways to use it,
including an Outlook plugin and several more Unix-oriented apps.  All use
the same core classifier.  There is a Thunderbird plugin available (google
for ThunderBayes) which is currently unsupported but which we would like to
incorporate into the SpamBayes code base.  Unfortunately, we are short of
round tuits.  If you'd like to help we can always use more brainpower.

-- 
Skip Montanaro - skip at pobox.com - http://www.webfast.com/~skip/



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