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dee-rob

Any advice for a victim of a cruel world?

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Sorry, "your own stupidity" did refer to a person.
With respect, it did not. It was a reference to the earlier mentioned unwise lack of reduncancy. The words "your own" were used to emphasize that the root of the problem was on the poster's side, not SpamCop (as indicated by the ending of the sentence).

It wasn't so much the words as the ad-hominem attack of our guest's intelligence
No such attack was intended. Dee-rob, if you understood my words in this way, I very much apologize.

a reasoned discussion of her hosting provider's lack of fault-tolerance in MX records.  http://www.dnsreport.com/tools/dnsreport.c...ain=dee-rob.com puts it much more kindly: "WARNING: You only have 1 MX record. If your primary mail server is down or unreachable, there is a chance that mail may have troubles reaching you."
I was talking about her lack of reduncancy with respect to outgoing (SMTP) mail. You point out that she has a similar problem with incoming mail (MX). While this is nice of you to mention, this is simply not what I was talking about.

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By the way, forgive my ignorance and over simplification, but one question: It's a good thing, right, that I receive any email with incorrect addressing, but still my domain, right?

The bouncing is the bad thing, right?

I don't have a server so I don't know much about it, but I think that it is ok to accept anything though some people no longer do because of the amount of spam. I am not exactly sure how they do it.

And yes, the bouncing is the bad thing after acceptance of the email because almost all spam (and worms, viruses) now forge the return path (usually with a name on their spam list) so that some really innocent person is getting their spam plus all the spam sent to addresses that bounce after acceptance. (and is really scary to a lot of them particularly if they get dozens, even hundreds).

Miss Betsy

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OK, cool and thanks.

24846[/snapback]

You're welcome.
By the way, forgive my ignorance and over simplification, but one question:  It's a good thing, right, that I receive any email with incorrect addressing, but still my domain, right?

24846[/snapback]

Yes, it's a good thing until it bites you - then it'll be a bad thing. :) As I may have alluded to here in the past, I have the same thing for one of my domains, and it hasn't bitten me. Yet. :) I really like having the flexibility to say that "I have more email addresses than you can count", plus it's less expensive for me to host that way (I'd have to pony up an extra $20/yr just to cover Postmaster and the RFC 2142 addresses. You, on the other hand, could have a large number of misspellings and still not hit the 500 addresses offered as part of ipowerweb's most basic hosting package, and that's not even counting their "Forwarding Accounts", which are actually forwarding of existing accounts, not aliasing.
The bouncing is the bad thing, right?

24846[/snapback]

Right.

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This information is more for those out there, like me, who are victims of Spamcop, rather than its vocal boosters on this board.

Since reporting this issue both here and to my hosting service, I've done additional research. Apart from feeling quite frustrated, I realize that there is not much I can do except (1) create my own workarounds and (2) warn people about Spamcop and blocklisting and how it is used. I'm also monitoring my listing, and we shall see if I am on again/off again as often as last week.

The chief issue, I think, is that as Spamcop's own site states, the blocklisting information is meant to be used as a tool to make a determination on spam not as an outright blacklist/IP block.

The SCBL is aggressive and often errs on the side of blocking mail. When implementing the SCBL, provide users with the information about how the SCBL and your mail system filter their email. Ideally, they should have a choice of filtering options. Many mailservers operate with blacklists in a "tag only" mode, which is preferable in many situations.

If, however, this warning is ignored and the IP lists are used to block mail outright, it becomes like a chainsaw being used as a hedgetrimmer, i.e. complete overkill.

What exacerbated the situation for me, and I know for others, because I have heard from them, is the "take no prisoners" rhetoric often used within these forums. Telling folks there neighborhoods are "spammy" and they should move is as obnoxious as it would be in the real world if someone asked for help regarding inner city crime. It's not as simple as the simplistic notion that we should all live in the virtual suburbs.

(As a related, and illustrative, side note, I found another thread justifying your service as comparable to a cabdriver refusing to go to a bad neighborhood as one of life's unfortunate inconveniences, where one should pay extra money or find another workaround. As someone who lives in a mixed income, diverse neighborhood and a medium-sized city, I found that example wonderful. It's exactly what is wrong with Spamcop. Most cities recognize the racial overtones often part of the "bad neighborhood" label and do not condone licensed drivers "profiling" based only on skin color or location. Blocklisting IP addresses is as elegant a solution to spam as avoiding minorities is to managing inner-city crime. To us who have been "profiled," it is NOT the cost of doing business in an unfair world, It's wrong-minded vigilanteism disguised as law and order.)

For what it's worth, I realize that this reply may just fan flames. I'm OK with that, though, since I think it's a service for anyone doing a Google search to see the irrational rhetoric themselves.

I grant you that Jeff G. and Steve Underwood both were respectful and helpful in their responses, and for that I say, "Thank You." I almost wish that Jeff G. hadn't edited or requested edits for some of the other posts. Seeing the vitriol of calling me "stupid," for example (and, yes, it was clear that was the original statement regardless of subsequent retraction/backpedaling), provides others insight into Spamcop's "service."

Also, for what it's worth, I had dinner with someone tonight who is a computer professional who works for a company solely offering solutions for managing spam in email. His initial response to my merely mentioning Spamcop without yet telling my story was "terrible." Within the industry the blocklists are NOT respected as effective in and of themselves.

I'll stop, but I do hope that perhaps a few people who are part of this community will see that the negative risks inherent in blocklists should prompt a dialogue on this board that includes respect for us who are outside of that group.

Cheers,

D.

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Computer professionals will tell you that blocklisting is not the only way to handle spam, at this time, mostly because netizens, like you, do not want to think about it how it is handled and want email to work without their involvement at all - including choosing a reliable provider. The argument of those who advocate blocklists is that end users, like drivers on a highway, need to be responsible for their driving and the safety of their vehicle.

The example about the cab driver is not 'profiling' since it is the neighborhood, not the individual who wants to go there in a taxi, which is being targeted and for good reasons. I don't know about your neighborhood, but I doubt that you would be living there if cab drivers refused to go there because it would be too unsafe.

A better example is the businessman who doesn't go to the public zoning board hearing and his family store is all of a sudden next to an adult bookstore and he starts losing business. For individuals who are not doing business on the internet, it is like using an offline carrier who not only delivers your package, but also dirty boxes crawling with bugs. Most offline people would be horrified and immediately change carriers.

Spamcop is an aggressive blocklist, as you point out. But there are other blocklists. And if you research the subject, the internet is built entirely on netiquette. There are no civil laws that can be enforced because of international boundaries and laws based on content (the other spam solution of filtering on content) carry the possibilities of censorship. The offline etiquette solution to undesirable behavior is to give the 'cold shoulder' - the internet equivalent is to blocklist. It 'fits' the character of the internet and allows the freedom and independence of the original internet as no other solution does. It also allows for notification of unreceived emails which content filters do not (one of the original concepts of email that is being eroded because of content filters and the spammer use of forged return paths).

The concept of spamcop in notifying the ISP who sends the email and is the only person who can stop the spam sender would work like a charm if all ISPs were community minded. The amount of time that an IP address would be blocked would be minimal and only protect others from receiving spam since the ISP would immediately stop the sender from sending any more spam. It would not inconvenience very many people for very long and probably not nearly as many who are also completely innocent and are harassed by spam. The reason that 'innocent' people are blocked is because they are using an ISP who is either ignorant of how to control spammers or who prefers the money that they pay. Spamcop also is a 'public' blocklist. There are many, many private blocklists where there is no way to get yourself removed.

Blocklists would work to eliminate spam, except for those who are willing to receive it, if those using the internet were responsible netizens. Unlike the citizens in the inner city neighborhoods who use violence which cannot be avoided if you are there, the undesirable citizens of the internet cannot 'harm' you if you ignore them. And unlike inner city neighborhoods, moving to the virtual suburbs is possible for anyone. Only those who /choose/ to live in undesirable neighborhoods need live there.

There are those who propose different ways of controlling spam. There is a thread somewhere of someone who is advocating SPF (or STP or some acronym with an S in it. Like you, I am not technically fluent so I don't remember the names). The gist is that this system would identify those who are 'reliable'. There are others who think that server operators should be licensed. However, both systems rely on blocklisting those who don't comply.

The problem is that, unlike drivers, individual end users usually don't drive their own vehicles; they essentially ride in a bus or an airplane where someone else does the driving. Offline, responsible consumers would not choose a reckless bus driver. Consumers can change corporate policy if they are vocal enough.

Spamcop now acts like an early warning system for many servers where there are end users who have allowed their computers to be infected. If the warning is ignored, other not so aggressive blocklists start to take notice.

You have chosen not to take responsibility for your part in the continuation of spam from the servers you use. That's your decision. This reply is to allow those users of Google to see a reasoned rebuttal to your statements.

Miss Betsy

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D.,

The only thing you're right about is that ISP's shouldn't use the SpamCop DNS BL as a way to simply reject mail. They should use it in combination with other tools to filter and/or tag suspected spam.

The rest of your post is simply rubbish. Your "computer professional" friend is ignorant, as is anyone who can't see that considering the reputation of the source IP is currently one of the most effective methods of combatting spam. SpamCop provides a wonderful service, and I'll bet you that I've been dealing with junk email issues a lot longer that this "computer professional" you cited.

Sure, some of the people who post on this board are occasionally a bit rude or too quick to pass judgement, but that's easily outweighed by the many truly helpful, polite people who make this one of the best user-to-user help systems online. Go through some of my replies and you'll probably note that I'm one who has offered help on numerous occasions. However, you don't seem particularly receptive to that kind of assistance, being convinced that SpamCop must be in the wrong, so I think you've burned a lot of potential bridges. Just my opinion, FWIW.

DT

Edited by DavidT

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Wow, that was a great post Miss Betsey “almost new user to the internet”, full of passion and emotion. But time to grow up.

When my problem seemed to be solved and I saw my post was beginning to start to become a forum for political rhetoric like this, I chose to stop it and get on with my business. But you have inspired me to take a little time this morning. You see, I’m am not a “almost new user to the internet” and a very busy person. I was active duty military stationed at a government research lab when DARPA issued the report that it was better for national defense to develop an networked system based on the phone system than to spend billions for a proprietary hard line dedicated system that would be vulnerable to single point failure. I have been a user of it before it was available to the public and it is now a valuable part of my everyday professional and private life. I share the total disdain for those that would disrupt it for their own personal gain, whether it be hackers, virus implementers or spammers. And recently I’ll have to add, overly aggressive anti-spammers.

When I say time to grow up, I don’t mean you personally Miss Betsey. I don’t really know who you are, please forgive the personal reference. I mean SpamCop in general. You are a business. Iron Port must have thought you were valuable or they would not have bought you. Please stop acting like a self-appointed vigilante group. When the west was wild and lawless, as the internet is today, groups like you sprang up to offer protection to the innocent and deal with outlaws. For the most part that was a good thing: citizens banding together to help each other out. Once they became organized and began to take money, as you do now, they had to become a part of the establishment or the establishment would cease to tolerate them. You see the difference in a vigilante group and a legitimate law enforcement agency is, the police wear uniforms and have official places of business where the public can talk with them. You are still hiding behind façades like this forum where you can pose as SpamCop enthusiasts and flame any one you wish and spout venom like “some innocents must die” or “there no innocents”. Words like these are the mark of a vigilante group gone bad. If there are no innocents, what is it you’re so passionate about? Could it be – making money. Well welcome to capitalism. If you want to be a player, you must accept your customers as you find them.

Ok enough philosophy, I don’t expect to change the minds of the true believer, but I do want to offer some suggestions:

1. While hosting a forum is a good idea for a business, you need to establish an official face to the public. I know there is no way you could deal with every complaint, but at least you could post FAQs, success stories, top 10 spammers, suggest clean ISPs, issue official apologies when you make a mistake etc.

2. Invest in selection and training of your “face to the public” personnel. Good sys administrators are not always the best public relations personnel.

3. Realize you’re a business and that your success depends on public perception of your usefulness. Us Internet consumers hate spam but we hate being blocked while doing business even more. Every time you interfere with legitimate internet use, you hurt your worth.

4. Stop trying to make money from reporters of spam by making them waste their time by soliciting donations from them while they try to make a report. Make your money by being a useful, sought after service.

5. I know that finding the right balance of aggressiveness in a spam blocking algorithm is an art rather than a science, but consider backing off a little; It only takes a couple of important missed emails that cost one of your customers money, for them to decide you are part of the problem and not the cure. Of course, I understand this is a business decision and yours to make, not mine.

6. Stop bad mouthing competitors and ISPs. Just try to be the best at what you do. If you choose to be one of the more aggressive blockers, go with that strength. Let the consumer know what they are buying.

In closing let me say that private services such as SpamCop may prove to be the only thing that keeps the internet viable. Unbridled spam could clog the system so badly that it becomes much like CB radio became in the 80s: almost unusable. Barring a UN with teeth, which scares me more than all the Internet hoodlums combined, there is no and can’t be any official police function to control all this. In summary, I beseech you SpamCop, admit your mistakes when you make them, provide a good service, make money, have fun, act like the business that you are, and welcome to the capitalistic establishment.

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I think your post is off track, in that almost nobody posting here is making money from SpamCop. This is a "collective," a "commune," a user-to-user support venue. That's all clear in the FAQ's posted on this site, isn't it?

As a paying SpamCop customer, I don't want SpamCop to consider "backing off" or I'll wind up seeing a lot more spam get through to my inbox. I say this even while today, the shared outgoing IP of the server hosting one of my domains is on the SpamCop BL, and messages routed through that server are winding up in my Held Mail. It seems that some traffic generated by one of the clients on the server is hitting the SC spam traps, most likely a "blowback effect" of autoresponders or delivery error messages sent after the fact. That's why we're going to move our domain to a server that is better managed, but it doesn't cause me to be upset one bit with SpamCop.

As for a "UN with teeth," we could sure use one, when it comes to Internet traffic. The lack of a unified front in combatting/preventing spam and punishing spammers is aggravating. I'd be very happy if the ISP's in China, Korea, South America and elsewhere were forced into being as careful as those here in the US. But then, I remember being happy upon moving from one high school to another to find that the new school had a "World Federalist" club. ;-)

DT

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In summary, I beseech you SpamCop, admit your mistakes when you make them, provide a good service, make money, have fun, act like the business that you are, and welcome to the capitalistic establishment.

Actually, I am in complete agreement with you on the above, although IMHO, spamcop would work better if it were a non-profit cooperative than a for-profit business. I tried to point out that I was defending blocklists in general rather than spamcop specifically. I did point out the niche that spamcop holds in the general use of blocklists.

In closing let me say that private services such as SpamCop may prove to be the only thing that keeps the internet viable. Unbridled spam could clog the system so badly that it becomes much like CB radio became in the 80s: almost unusable.

IMHO, the only way that blocklists are, at all, useful is to block spam and to notify the sender that the email has been blocked and why. And the only way that will be effective is if it is consistent. So that those with important emails that get blocked have an incentive to *do* something about the reliability of their email supplier. Sure there will be people who think that 'their' email should be exempt. There are always people who try to throw their weight around and yell at the clerks. There are whole courses on how to handle difficult customers.

So I don't see the importance of

Us Internet consumers hate spam but we hate being blocked while doing business even more. Every time you interfere with legitimate internet use, you hurt your worth. OR It only takes a couple of important missed emails that cost one of your customers money, for them to decide you are part of the problem and not the cure.

The whole point of blocklists is to prevent unmannerly, selfish people from interfering with our reception of email. Unmannerly, selfish people are who are causing the problems - either by sending spam or by refusing to cooperate with those who are, in a mannerly way, refusing to accept email from incompetent, ignorant, careless, or greedy server operators. If they prefer to support those server operators who allow spam to deluge the internet, that's their business. Vigilante implies 'taking the law into one's own hands' There is nothing vigilante about using blocklists. I am not insisting that you change your way of doing business. I am simply stating that I do not accept email from questionable sources.

Miss Betsy

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I was active duty military stationed at a government research lab when DARPA issued the report

Not that it matters, but I am retired U.S.Army. Also spent many years at a little place once known as Vint Hill Farm to tie in with your 'research lab' environment.

Please stop acting like a self-appointed vigilante group.

Ignoring the collective "you" in your reply, as there is no collective presence 'here' ... I recently added a line that should be showing at the top of every Forum section .. 99%+ of support here is by other users. The SpamCop parsing and reporting toolset is nothing more than a tool. What it is, how it is (to be) used, results, actions, etc. are in fact offered up in at leats a couple of places.

You are still hiding behind façades like this forum where you can pose as SpamCop enthusiasts and flame any one you wish and spout venom like "some innocents must die" or "there no innocents". Words like these are the mark of a vigilante group gone bad. If there are no innocents, what is it you’re so passionate about?

I would hardly call this Forum a facade. Looking at the number of registered users, the typical number of "Guests" (though noting that search engine bots also fit into this catagory), it's not as if there's any hiding going on. Several search engines have this support Forum indexed. After all the dialog even in this specific discussion, I'm at a loss on your "innocents" characterizations. Yes, there are innocents. Yet, there is also information available all over the place to educate these innocents, even including this place. That the spam issue has made newspaper headlines, magazine covers, radio shows, television news, advertising done by a large proportion of ISPs as one of their service offerings, etc, etc., there just doesn't seem to be any good qualification for one of those "I never heard of it" scenarios. This is the basis for the "there are no innocents" phrase. Noting that there are some users out there that don't see the problem in its entirety due to using ISPs that simply delete a tonload of incoming e-mail (without the user's knowledge)

Could it be - making money. Well welcome to capitalism. If you want to be a player, you must accept your customers as you find them.

4. Stop trying to make money from reporters of spam by making them waste their time by soliciting donations from them while they try to make a report. Make your money by being a useful, sought after service.

With the majority of the SpamCop toolset being available for free, I'm not really following your logic at all. On one hand, the money expended to provide this thing is actually pretty massive. That it grew from a system at Julian's house to the current world-wide accessible networked monster is pretty amazing as compared to your perceived ideas.

1. While hosting a forum is a good idea for a business, you need to establish an official face to the public. I know there is no way you could deal with every complaint, but at least you could post FAQs, success stories, top 10 spammers, suggest clean ISPs, issue official apologies when you make a mistake etc.

Try www.spamcop.net ... hit the "Help" button. Try the Forum FAQ here, which includes the data found via the Help button on the spamcop.net page. Try hitting the "Statistucs" page on your www.spamcop.net page ( http://www.spamcop.net/spamstats.shtml if you don't yet have even a free reporting account) Try pointing your newsreader to news://news.spamcop.net for another source of data. Your lack of research is showing.

2. Invest in selection and training of your "face to the public" personnel. Good sys administrators are not always the best public relations personnel.

With a paid staff of less than a half-dozen folks, let me again point you to the "99%+ of support offered is by other users" ... and most of the issues brought up here are caused by the sys administrators of other ISPs and their implementation of anti-spam tools, lack of spam control, misconfiguration of servers, etc.

3. Realize you’re a business and that your success depends on public perception of your usefulness. Us Internet consumers hate spam but we hate being blocked while doing business even more. Every time you interfere with legitimate internet use, you hurt your worth.

Though can't argue with the inconvenience of ending up on a BL, this is also one of those "can't see the forest for the trees" type of remark. The SpamCopDNSBL is one of the most non-disruptive BLs out there, and even noting further that the suggested use of the SpamCopDNSBL isn't for blocking and/or deleting e-mail. Again, the sys administrators of other ISPs being the primary issue.

5. I know that finding the right balance of aggressiveness in a spam blocking algorithm is an art rather than a science, but consider backing off a little

Again, the SpamCopDNSBL is based on an automatic algorithym ... once again, a FAQ item.

6. Stop bad mouthing competitors and ISPs. Just try to be the best at what you do. If you choose to be one of the more aggressive blockers, go with that strength. Let the consumer know what they are buying.

What competitors? Bad mouthing ISPs? You mean the ones that won't handle their spam spew problems? You mean the ones that can't read/understand the configuration settings on their e-mail handling applications, even the part about deleting unused default accounts or changing passwords for them?

In closing let me say that private services such as SpamCop may prove to be the only thing that keeps the internet viable....... Unbridled spam could clog the system so badly that it becomes much like CB radio became in the 80s: almost unusable.

"Private" ...??? If it was "private" you'd have never come across the name. Will have to assume you were going with privately owned?

That's what it's all about. With reported statistucs of 60 to 85% of all e-mail being spam these days, solutions are few and far between. At present, the IP address of the sending source is still the only real (and anywhere near accurate) target available, reminding you of the source of the "internet" ... in the day of ensuring a viable communications network, that someone would actually want to hide their source/identity in the passing on of U.S. Government data just wasn't a real thought.

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<snip>

5. I know that finding the right balance of aggressiveness in a spam blocking algorithm is an art rather than a science, but consider backing off a little
Again, the SpamCopDNSBL is based on an automatic algorithym ... once again, a FAQ item.

25130[/snapback]

...Whoa ... gotta disagree with your answer to bill j's point, there, Wazoo. As you mention earlier in your same post:
the suggested use of the SpamCopDNSBL isn't for blocking and/or deleting e-mail. Again, the sys administrators of other ISPs being the primary issue.

25130[/snapback]

<snip>

6. Stop bad mouthing competitors and ISPs. <snip>
What competitors?.

25130[/snapback]

...Perhaps bill j is referring to:
There are many, many private blocklists where there is no way to get yourself removed.
IMHO, that's not bad-mouthing a competitor because (1) SpamCop and other blocklists don't compete in the sense most competitors do, that is, for limited customer dollars and (2) what she says is, from what (little) I have (indirectly) learned, simple truth.

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