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Greg

Hotmail, and nntp

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Executive summary: Hotmail seems to give connection errors when trying to set it up as a mailhost. Second, is this group not available thru nntp via news.spamcop.net?

I assume that the second question requires no amplification.

Please copy my email address on any responses. Thanks.

Trying to be a good casual user, I am entering my mailhosts set up. I, too, found the explanation a bit hard to follow. But having had four email account, two personal and two professional, ruined by spam, well, I hate spam, and am willing to help. Plus, the warnings regarding the need to do this seemed serious. Now, I have my spamcop account pull two other accounts, and that's about it. My only other account is with my ISP, and I only give it to people I know personally and trust, and it is essentially spam free, and not worth the trouble to pop thru spamcop. Frankly, the popping is now mostly a matter of convenience, since I get neglibible to no spam on the other two accounts. One of them is my throwaway hotmail account. The first several tries to add Hotmail as a host failed. I began to wonder if Hotmail was configured to somehow ignore this test. Finally, I started getting partially successful responses such as the one pasted below.

Sent test email to g9789279127 <at> hotmail.com through mx1.hotmail.com.

SpamCop has just sent you 1 test messages to g9789279127 <at> hotmail.com.

Please allow for up to an hour for those messages to reach you, and then follow the enclosed instructions.

Some errors were encountered sending test email, but other tests were sent without trouble. This is probably normal, but here is a detailed list of errors:

Detailed errors:

Connecting to mx2.hotmail.com.:

smtpSend:smtpOpen: smtpsend connection error from smtp server (550 No expected reply from SMTP)

Connecting to mx4.hotmail.com.:

smtpSend:smtpOpen: smtpsend connection error from smtp server (550 No expected reply from SMTP)

Connecting to mx3.hotmail.com.:

smtpSend:smtpOpen: smtpsend connection error from smtp server (550 No expected reply from SMTP)

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Executive summary: Hotmail seems to give connection errors when trying to set it up as a mailhost. Second, is this group not available thru nntp via news.spamcop.net?

I assume that the second question requires no amplification.

Please copy my email address on any responses. Thanks.

Trying to be a good casual user, I am entering my mailhosts set up. I, too, found the explanation a bit hard to follow. But having had four email account, two personal and two professional, ruined by spam, well, I hate spam, and am willing to help. Plus, the warnings regarding the need to do this seemed serious. Now, I have my spamcop account pull two other accounts, and that's about it. My only other account is with my ISP, and I only give it to people I know personally and trust, and it is essentially spam free, and not worth the trouble to pop thru spamcop. Frankly, the popping is now mostly a matter of convenience, since I get neglibible to no spam on the other two accounts. One of them is my throwaway hotmail account. The first several tries to add Hotmail as a host failed. I began to wonder if Hotmail was configured to somehow ignore this test. Finally, I started getting partially successful responses such as the one pasted below.

Sent test email to g9789279127 <at> hotmail.com through mx1.hotmail.com.

SpamCop has just sent you 1 test messages to g9789279127 <at> hotmail.com.

Please allow for up to an hour for those messages to reach you, and then follow the enclosed instructions.

Some errors were encountered sending test email, but other tests were sent without trouble. This is probably normal, but here is a detailed list of errors:

Detailed errors:

Connecting to mx2.hotmail.com.:

smtpSend:smtpOpen: smtpsend connection error from smtp server (550 No expected reply from SMTP)

Connecting to mx4.hotmail.com.:

smtpSend:smtpOpen: smtpsend connection error from smtp server (550 No expected reply from SMTP)

Connecting to mx3.hotmail.com.:

smtpSend:smtpOpen: smtpsend connection error from smtp server (550 No expected reply from SMTP)

Right now -- and actually for the last couple of weeks at least, there are problems with hotmail/man servers not accepting (4.x.x'ing) mail. hotmail/msn is aware of the problem and working on it -- it is not a SpamCop related issue, in various fora that I hang out in mail admins are complaining about mail destined to hotmail backlogging on their servers.

The SC outbound mailserver does not have an infinitely long timeout for connections -- I think it's about 20 seconds, and so it is timing out waiting for hotmail to accept the connection. I also do not think that if a connection is refused that the SC server queues the mail for retry. If you look at the 24 hour stats page you can see that the system is processing 1.7 million spams a day and sending probably 3.5 million reports a day plus all the "your spam is ready to process" mails and the summary mails for quick submit. So is pumping out a lot of mail.

That being the case you are going to have to keep trying -- reportedly nights and weekends are slightly less grim then during the week. I'm real sorry about that but there is nothing that I can do.

<p.s. if someone knows how to figure out the email address to send this to and how to do that on this system I would appreciate it if you would copy this toGretg's email>

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I am reporting my hotmail account manually, and that seemed to reduce the flow of spam somehow...Have you tested any of the e-mails yourself?

To do that you open the email in hotmail and type at the end of url: &raw=disk (no spaces) +[ENTER KEY], that takes you to the header/content page you can cut and paste in the reporting window... Works for me....

Edited by dra007

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That's a great tip, so, thank you for sharing it.

But my issue was adding hotmail as a mailhost. As I read the instructions, if I am having spamcop pop other accounts, I do need to add them as mailhosts. Ironically, the account on which I get spam is spamcop, since that is the one I use in public forums / fora. It's like the spammers are getting out of the safari jeep and kicking the lions, but that's why I pay for a spamcop account. I had originally acquired a free hotmail account for product registrations and webforms, thus the goofy handle: my first initial, 9, plus my home phone number, two things I would always remember and that no one else would already be using. For whatever reason, this address has not propogated from businesses to "internet marketers". So, it's not a reporting problem.

In fact, it is primarily for convenience that I still have spamcop "pop" this account (I know, hotmail does not actually use pop). Now, the only maintenance I have to do to stay within my 2MB limit is to copy Sent Mail out of the folder in Outlook Express, which is what I use instead of the webform. Same for the bu.edu address. I just got it, and don't actually use it for much, but the school uses it to send me info, so it is really convenient to have spamcop pop that for me, since spamcop is essentially my default or main email provider at this time.

Aren't you glad you asked?

Greg

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Between my two mailhosts, hotmail.com and bu.edu, I got thirteen "SpamCop account configuration email" email from spamcop. For two of them, I replied, since the reply address seemed to match the address to which I was to send my reply, and I deleted the original email from my reply, but attached the email spamcop sent me. I am using Outlook 2003 and Outlook Quote-fix (which removes the six line "Original Message" block and otherwise fixes email quoting); perhaps these are part of the problem? For the other eleven, I got lazy, and replied and attached, without bothering to delete the original email.

I got twenty-four replies with the subject "Spamcop account configuration: error". All twenty-four said "Sorry, but SpamCop has encountered errors:" Thirteen of the replies had "Source IP not found. Your email host does not appear to correctly identify the sending IP of the email you receive.". The other eleven had a blank line where the error should have been stated. This seems to correspond to thirteen total tests with attachments, and eleven replies that quoted the original email.

I expect that I am serving as a really good beta test, or a really bad one, and I have no idea which. Now, I do have spamcop pop both my hotmail and my bu.edu accounts. So, I should test both mailhosts, right?

While I will choose to "Enable email notification of replies", if you could please copy me at my gregstigers <at> spamcop <dot> net address, I will see it much sooner. Thanks.

Greg Stigers

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First post dealt with Hotmail issues. Ellen responded to Hotmail issues. Your next post includes Hotmail issues. Yes, I moved your "new" Topic once again to the same Topic .... and, yet again, because it's including a continuation of your HotMail issues ... you've got a problem, perhaps Ellen needs to note that her last answer wasn't the key, thus bringing your second post back into the context of your first post makes this clear.

And, just for added emphasis, let's try this one more time also .. please read the Pinned item Mailhost Issues - please read before posting

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First post dealt with Hotmail issues.  Ellen responded to Hotmail issues.  Your next post includes Hotmail issues.  Yes, I moved your "new" Topic once again to the same Topic ....  and, yet again, because it's including a continuation of your HotMail issues ... you've got a problem, perhaps Ellen needs to note that her last answer wasn't the key, thus bringing your second post back into the context of your first post makes this clear.

And, just for added emphasis, let's try this one more time also .. please read the Pinned item Mailhost Issues - please read before posting

OK I am now totally confused. If the original or subsequent question was about returning probes -- why not use the link in the probe and copy/paste the complete headers plus the probe body into the web form? This seems a whole lot easier to me and you know immediately if there is a problem. If the issue is one of getting the full headers from whatever email app is being used then that is another issue.

And yes you need to add all the mailhosts for accounts that you are having spamcop mail pop or from which you are forwarding mail to spamcop mail.

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Sorry for the confusion. I kept trying to start a new topic, and it kept getting moved to this topic. The subsequent question was about the resulting errors from returned probes, when I returned those probes as attachments.

You ask, "why not use the link in the probe and copy/paste the complete headers plus the probe body into the web form?" Because it's more work. Outlook has this nasty habit of keeping the header separate from the message body, so pasting a message is a two-step process, and the steps are not simple, single actions, that I would ordinarily want to repeat thirteen times. So, given the choice to return the probes as attachments, I took it. And for some reason, it did not work. Shouldn't it have worked?

Greg Stigers

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Outlook has this nasty habit of keeping the header separate from the message body

Haven't you answered your own question?

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And for some reason, it did not work. Shouldn't it have worked?

AFAIK, the same basic parser code that parses spam is also parsing the returned probes, so if you cannot do email submissons of spam, you cannot do email returns of the probe. Spamcop needs the same information: proper, complete headers and body, in a form the parser can read.

At least many Outlook configurations can not submit spam via email due to the way Outlook stores the header information and helper programs are needed to make it work.

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When I say that "Outlook has this nasty habit of keeping the header separate from the message body", I mean in the interface. I can get to the header from the menus, but get only the header, not the message body. And I can copy plain text body from the email, or "View Source" from the context menu in the body, but that's without the header. Does the parser not handle Microsoft's format for attached email? If not, that might be worth adding to the instructions.

Manually pasting the email into the web interface as Ellen wrote, works, but is more work. I had assumed that I was sharing information that was useful when I posted the description of the error reports I received. Perhaps I am just annoying people who knew that I would have this problem forwarding attachments, and expected that I would know better.

Other than this, I am a fairly happy customer. I have had two private and two professional email addresses ruined thanks to spam, and using a spamcop address as my public address has essentially alleviated that problem. I get almost no spam on these other mailhosts (and virtually none on my private address), and have just gotten used to the convenience of having spamcop pop them for me. And the spamcop filter trap almost all of the spam I get on my spamcop address. I gladly report what spam I get. I just wanted to follow the mailhost instructions, both to comply with the new system, and help in any way I could to beta test it. Sorry that my problem wasn't much of one. I was just trying to help identify a problem. Perhaps the instructions need some clarification, I'm not sure.

Greg Stigers <at> spamcop.net

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Does the parser not handle Microsoft's format for attached email? If not, that might be worth adding to the instructions.

It's been such a problem that there's a long-standing FAQ in place .. and had you ever gone to the web-based paste-it-in-here submittal form, you'd have seen a link for the "Outlook/Eudora Work-around" ... please see the FAQ at http://www.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/118.html

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I did go to the web-based submission form, and there is no "Outlook/Eudora Work-around" on that one. It simply provides to text areas, one that will handle both the header and body, and another for just the body, probably to accomodate Outlook users. I am a bit surprised to learn that this problem has proven so intractable, but apparently others have solved it. In fact, I bought a copy of spam Deputy for use at my last job. In any case, I would recommend updating the email instructions to mention that Outlook users cannot forward the probe emails as attachments.

I get the impression that I have touched a nerve. No offense intended, Wazoo.

Greg Stigers <at> spamcop.net

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The web-based submittal page for spam submittal I'm referring to is http://www.spamcop.net/?code=somelongnumbersandletters ... there will either be a "use two part work-around" link or the "use single form" as you've already switched to the 2-part form. I think you're referring to something dealing with the mail-host configuration.

this problem has proven so intractable

Outlook wasn't written for this environment. That's why it can't really be worked around gracefully. The catch is, somehoe one has to make a decision on whther the screwed up submittal was based on this issue of Outlook's manipulation of header/body data or whether the user screwed up in the copy/paste/forward operation .. and due to the 'missing' data, that's a hard call to make for the parsing tool. The loosening up of code over the years finally got to a point of bad parse results, Julian tightened up the code to a 'strict' RFC interpretation of the header/body data set, which then caused majoe issues for Outlook/Eudora users ... eventually, he came up with the two-part submittal page that essentially bypassed part of the above mentioned decision threshold (i.e., maybe the user didn't scew it up, maybe he/she is using Outlook/Eudora as the two-part form was used for subittal) ... so then the parser tries to work with what's remaining.

recommend updating the email instructions to mention that Outlook users cannot forward the probe emails as attachments

I'm thinking that this is why the paste-it-in box was created for the mail-host confirmation thing .. because of the issues with some of the e-mail apps. Based on other conversations, I believe the remarks are on that page to include full headers, so I'd interpret your suggestion as meaning that there's yet another location to add in yet another link to the "how to get full headers" FAQ?

I get the impression that I have touched a nerve. No offense intended, Wazoo.

Not sure where / when you did that .. maybe use a sharper stick next time? <g>

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But the subject at hand is mailhosts, not reporting spam. I only see the relevance of the web form for adding mailhosts.

My point about Outlook is that it is a known problem, and a problem that others have solved. If the webhosts configuration routines cannot handle Outlook attachments, well, OK, I'm sure I have no idea what all is involved, although Outlook is hardly a niche player. But if I don't like it, I should probably do something more constructive than complain, like contribute time and / or money to get it supported. But since it is not, please update the instructions so we Outlook (and Eudora?) users know that emailing probe emails as attachments from Outlook or Eudora is not supported. It seems like a relatively small thing I am asking for. I have no problem getting full headers, as evidenced by the web form approach working just fine, so do not need yet another link.

As for the sharper stick... I'm thinking a blunt 2 x 4... :o Apparently, I'm not the only one to find this less than intuitively obvious to the most casual user. I could probably chew my way thru a blunt 2 x 4 right about now. ;) I certainly have spent far, far more time on this than I expect to.

In fact, I have a tangential question. Why do I need to manually add mailhosts for accounts that I having spamcop pop? I can see needing to tell about any forwarding I have set up on other systems, sending to spamcop for me. But if spamcop is already getting email for me from other hosts, well, then spamcop already knows about those other hosts, right? Granted, you are then depending on me to interact with the resulting probe emails, although I think that could be handled with little or no intervention from me, perhaps even entirely hidden from me (do I really need to see email that spamcop is sending to itself on my accounts? Hard to say, either way of handling this will generate whining from some quarter).

Greg Stigers <at> spamcop.net

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please update the instructions so we Outlook (and Eudora?) users know that emailing probe emails as attachments from Outlook or Eudora is not supported.

The instructions state that they need the message forwarded "with complete headers". While they probably need to be worked on, there would need to be instructions for every piece of software (which there are in the FAQ) on how to do that since it is not a normal happening in most software packages. You possibly could email the result if you extracted the headers and pasted them into a new message then copy/pasted the body from the probe and sent that off.

It seems like a relatively small thing I am asking for. I have no problem getting full headers, as evidenced by the web form approach working just fine, so do not need yet another link.

Except you did have problems getting the full headers into the return email. Those instructions should be used by anyone returning the probe so that the parser gets the information it needs in the format it needs.

It is more than just Outlook and Eudora not being able to email the reply. If just about anyone does a simple reply, spamcop will not get the information it needs, as the headers are stripped off in most instances.

Edited by StevenUnderwood

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The emails I received stated:

Alternately, you may submit via email.  Forward the message as an attachment to this address.  Or create a new message and paste this email into it.  Either way, send it to to:

I chose to "forward the message as an attachment". There was no warning that this would fail for Outlook or Eudora users. Again, I did later manually return the probes by webform without error, so, I am not having any issue with getting the full email headers from Outlook. I did not "have problems getting the full headers into the return email". The parsers just do not handle Outlook's format. I happen to think that they could and should, but that's not the issue. I followed the given instructions correctly, and then got errors that gave me no hint as to why I got them. I then posted the question here, and unfortunately, the responses have been less than supportive, with the most helpful one being the equivalent of the punchline to the joke, doctor, it hurts when I turn my head this way. :o

I'm just recommending that the text of the email be changed to something like,

Alternately, you may submit via email. Create a new message and paste this email into it. Or, if you are using a client other than Outlook or Eudora, forward the message as an attachment to this address.

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I apologize as I configured mine before the web form was available and I believe the information was clearer, stating full headers and body were needed.

Actually, looking at the information prior to the part you quoted, it does still mention the need for full headers, just not in the part about email submission:

Please return this complete email, preserving full headers and the special

tracking codes below.  Visit this address:

http://www.spamcop.net/mcgi?action=mhreturn

Alternately, you may submit via email.  Forward the message as an

attachment to this address.  Or create a new message and paste this email

into it.  Either way, send it to to:

Perhaps the last part should read:

Alternately, you may submit via email.  Forward the message as an

attachment to this address.  If you are using Microsoft Outlook or Eudora,

create a new message and paste the full headers and this email body into it.

Either way, send it to:

as there are really only 2 major exceptions to the forward as attachment method. It should probably also have the link to the getting full headers from an email part of the FAQ, but I think they are trying to keep it simple.

Of course, documentation and instructions have never been a strong part of the spamcop "experience", which is one of the only problems I see with it.

Edited by StevenUnderwood

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as there are really only 2 major exceptions to the forward as attachment method

geeze, I wish <g> Maybe make it the "2 most famous exceptions" ... and that's even excluding all the off-the-beaten-track web-mail apps folks seem to keep finding and then wondering why there aren't any instructions offered "here" on how to use "those" ....

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As for the sharper stick... I'm thinking a blunt 2 x 4...  :o Apparently, I'm not the only one to find this less than intuitively obvious to the most casual user. I could probably chew my way thru a blunt 2 x 4 right about now.  ;) I certainly have spent far, far more time on this than I expect to.

In fact, I have a tangential question. Why do I need to manually add mailhosts for accounts that I having spamcop pop? I can see needing to tell about any forwarding I have set up on other systems, sending to spamcop for me. But if spamcop is already getting email for me from other hosts, well, then spamcop already knows about those other hosts, right? Granted, you are then depending on me to interact with the resulting probe emails, although I think that could be handled with little or no intervention from me, perhaps even entirely hidden from me (do I really need to see email that spamcop is sending to itself on my accounts? Hard to say, either way of handling this will generate whining from some quarter).

Greg Stigers <at> spamcop.net

One of the things -- among others -- that we are gathering information about is how easy or hard it is for the users to register hosts -- I guess we need to add a statement that you need to also see the directions for your email program to see how to reveal full headers and body text.

The email system knows about what a user pops but the parsing system doesn't -- two different systems. We still need to see the complete path that a probe follows and get those headers and body back so there would be user intervention required just as there is now. At best, if we could see the pop entries in the mail system, we would know if the user hadn't done a MH for some other account but we wouldn't know much more than that.

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Hi, Greg,

...Perhaps I'm missing something but it seems to me that all your points are addressed in the FAQs. :) <g>

But the subject at hand is mailhosts, not reporting spam. I only see the relevance of the web form for adding mailhosts.

...The rules for what the parser can handle is the same for the web form as for e-mail, whether it be reporting spam or sending a reply to the mailhosts probe. Pinned: Delays, Waivers, Explanations says, in part, "...full headers are still important. If you have to, save the config email in a text file, then attach it to an email. I know some users of eudora or lotus notes or both have issues with this stuff, but at some level, I just have to refuse submissions from people who can't get full standards-compliant headers. Part of this mailhost thing is that you have to prove your ability to submit unmangled email. Too many problems arise from users who can't do it, doing it anyway. This system should act as a barrier to entry for them."

My point about Outlook is that it is a known problem, and a problem that others have solved.

...Not for the stringent requirements of SpamCop.net which, because of its unique functionality and flexibility, requires certain information in a certain form (that is, true to the original spam message).

If the webhosts configuration routines cannot handle Outlook attachments, well, OK, I'm sure I have no idea what all is involved, although Outlook is hardly a niche player. But if I don't like it, I should probably do something more constructive than complain, like contribute time and  / or money to get it supported. But since it is not, please update the instructions so we Outlook (and Eudora?) users know that emailing probe emails as attachments from Outlook or Eudora is not supported. It seems like a relatively small thing I am asking for. I have no problem getting full headers, as evidenced by the web form approach working just fine, so do not need yet another link.

...See Pinned: Delays, Waivers, Explanations explanation of the importance of full headers, etc.

<snip> I certainly have spent far, far more time on this than I expect to.

...Pinned: MailHosts System Beta Test Invitation says, in part: "When? For now, this new system is optional." Yes, everyone is encouraged to use it but it's still optional. Spend as much or as little time on it as you wish. :) <g>

In fact, I have a tangential question. Why do I need to manually add mailhosts for accounts that I having spamcop pop? I can see needing to tell about any forwarding I have set up on other systems, sending to spamcop for me. But if spamcop is already getting email for me from other hosts, well, then spamcop already knows about those other hosts, right? Granted, you are then depending on me to interact with the resulting probe emails, although I think that could be handled with little or no intervention from me, perhaps even entirely hidden from me (do I really need to see email that spamcop is sending to itself on my accounts? Hard to say, either way of handling this will generate whining from some quarter).

......Pinned: MailHosts System Beta Test Invitation says, in part: "Why? This is being done because of ongoing problems - spammers have finally begun doing what we have known they could do all along - create really convincing mail header forgeries. These forgeries make SpamCop think spam is being sent from innocent sites where it is actually not. Clearly, this must be stopped. Currently, only a few spam forgeries cause serious problems for SpamCop, but if this problem is not solved, it will become much worse. Even now, a few mis-identified innocent sites are a big problem. This system promises to eliminate the forgery problem forever, while also avoiding problems caused by other less-drastic attempts to mitigate the forgeries. However, it does require more involvement from SpamCop users."

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