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DavidT

Opinions on "blocking list" vs. "blackhole list"?

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Currently, SpamCop maintains the SpamCop Blocking List, or SCBL for short. However, I contend that it's not really intended so much as a "blocklist" but rather more of a "blackhole list," which is much more standard Internet terminology (as in the original RBL, DSBL, and many others).

People show up here all the time complaining about being blocked, and the denizens here constantly point to the verbage on the SCBL page that contradicts the "blocking" purpose:

"SpamCop encourages SCBL users to tag and divert email, rather than block it outright."

In fact, for those of us with SpamCop Email accounts, that's exactly what happens...the list is used to tag and/or filter...not to block.

Therefore, I propose that SpamCop's list be renamed to the:

SpamCop Blackhole List

which better describes the purpose, removing the problematic word "blocking" from the title, but retaining the current SCBL initials.

Here are some online definitions that support this:

http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,...i840315,00.html

http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/R/RBL.html

Feel free to agree or disagree, or to be indifferent, but if you've got an opinion on this idea, kindly post it here (I'd have done a poll, but they never seem to work out all that well).

DT

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Arrrggghhh! ... OK, you changed the phrase from BlackList to skirt the McCarthy issue (this was in some previous PM folks <g>) ... but the "BlackHole List" gets too close to the old MAPS "RBL" (bought out and ran by someone else [though many of the same players remain] these days ... topic in the Lounge somewhere on this) ... there could be some fallout from that outfit, recalling some of the hot/cold relationships with some of the folks there.

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...the "BlackHole List" gets too close to the old MAPS "RBL"

There's more than one "blackhole list" on the Internet, Wazoo, so I don't think there would be any copyright/trademark restrictions involved.

For example, if the new owners of MAPS-RBL (Kelkea.com) objected to "blackhole list," then they'd certainly challenge this one:

http://dsbl.org

here's another:

http://www.uceb.org

and then there's this:

http://www.blackholes.us

I'm pretty sure that their trademark is "RBL" and/or "Realtime Blackhole List," but not any one or two of those words.

Here's another interesting tidbit....for those of us who are SpamCop Email customers, when we go into our webmail "Options," we find an option titled "select your email filtering blacklists," where we find a table in which the first item in the table is the "SpamCop Blacklist." Note that this is an entirely different name than found at the SpamCop website, so there's already sufficient internal confusion on the naming of the SCBL for me to call it into question and to suggest a new name:

SpamCop Blackhole List

DT

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There's more than one "blackhole list" on the Internet, Wazoo, so I don't think there would be any copyright/trademark restrictions involved.

I'm pretty sure that their trademark is "RBL" and/or "Realtime Blackhole List," but not any one or two of those words.

to suggest a new name: SpamCop Blackhole List

26266[/snapback]

I believe you are on the right track. I always try to refer to the list as our SpamCop Members List

It just sounds friendlier (Like the Words DON'T PANIC) and would avoid the complaints about those choosing to use this list. A few people forever try to reason that the SCBL because it is named a blocklist is designed to bit-bin email? While it can do this it is meant to sort email to a spam folder (Idealy for reporting), which I and a major majority find it accurately does

Edited by petzl

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I always thought 'blackhole' meant that the email was dropped/deleted whereas blocklists returned a message that said not accepted. 'blacklist' is the opposite of 'whitelist' and indicates which folder the accepted email goes to. At least that seems logical to me.

From what I have read here, the scbl is probably used all three ways. Although the spamcop email system uses the scbl as a 'blacklist', IMHO, it is intended to be used as either a blocklist or a blacklist depending on what the server admin wants to do.

The point that posters should be making is that it is not spamcop who is blocking them; it is the ISP of their correspondent who is trying to protect hir customers from spam. Their options are to talk to their ISP about the spam that is coming from the IP address that they are using or talk to their correspondent about whitelisting them (or if they are brash enough, suggest that their correspondent insist on getting spam by insisting that spamcop not be used so that s/he can also get email from them). There is a third alternative and that is to suggest that the ISP use spamcop to tag email or use a less aggressive spam filter.

It is merely nitpicking to say that the scbl is to be used only for tagging email and confuses the issue which is that the complainer is using an unreliable ISP who allows spam to be sent through their servers or that it is an unavoidable problem that happens occasionally when you use email depending on the severity of the problem. The ISP who is using spamcop should not have to be involved in any way.

Miss Betsy

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I always thought 'blackhole' meant that the email was dropped/deleted

The word does seem to imply that, but in practice, the lists have often been used as blacklists, blocklists, and blackhole lists, depending upon the desires of the system admins. Therefore, the name of a given resource isn't necessarily that meaningful. For example, there are both "blocking" and "blackhole" resouces on the list of blacklists in the Options for SpamCop Email users, but they are all used as blacklists for the purpose of redirecting to our Held Mail folders -- they are not used to block delivery.

'blacklist' is the opposite of 'whitelist' and indicates which folder the accepted email goes to.

Yes, so perhaps it would be best if the SC resource was named:

SpamCop Blacklist

This is indeed how it is referred to within the SpamCop Email interface. This is what I originally proposed to Wazoo in a PM. However, he pointed out that the term "blacklist" has some old, non-Internet baggage, specifically from the McCarthy era of American history. However, I don't think that people make that association with regard to blacklists of spammers. If the SCBL were changed to "blacklist," then the new initials would probably need to be: SCB

The point that posters should be making is that it is not spamcop who is blocking them

They do that, repeatedly. However, I think that the complainers see that the resource is called a "Blocking List" and therefore get the incorrect impression that it's sole purpose is for blocking (their) mail. That's *not* it's sole purpose. While it *can* be used (or misused) to block mail, it's better used as a blacklist.

DT

Edited by DavidT

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Should not this thread be in the lounge?

Maybe...maybe not. As mentioned earlier in this thread, I had a PM exchange with Wazoo and I asked him specifically about that issue. He didn't tell me to post it in the Lounge, so it's here, where potential "I've been blocked" complainers can see it, and perhaps see that a "blocking list" is not necessarily a "blocking list."

DT

Edited by DavidT

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I don't care what anyone calls it as long as I can keep using it to "block" on our servers ;)

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However, he pointed out that the term "blacklist" has some old, non-Internet baggage, specifically from the McCarthy era of American history. However, I don't think that people make that association with regard to blacklists of spammers.

There have been arguments within the last 2 years (before this forum was started, IIRC) in the newsgroups against calling it a blacklist for the very reason Wazoo mentions. Some people were very strongly opposed to any use of blacklist.

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There have been arguments within the last 2 years (before this forum was started, IIRC) in the newsgroups against calling it a blacklist for the very reason Wazoo mentions.

Thanks for the historical info...that helped me find some of those messages (from Feb. 2003). Here are some links:

First, I see that Merlyn expressed an opinion:

http://news.spamcop.net/pipermail/spamcop-...ary/032145.html

then "wayne" responded:

http://news.spamcop.net/pipermail/spamcop-...ary/032159.html

"spam Hater" chimed in:

http://news.spamcop.net/pipermail/spamcop-...ary/032214.html

as did "Tom:"

http://news.spamcop.net/pipermail/spamcop-...ary/032862.html

then "Spambo" stretched the definition of "blocking" a bit:

http://news.spamcop.net/pipermail/spamcop-...ary/032219.html

Some people were very strongly opposed to any use of blacklist.

I haven't found any older NNTP threads about it, and I'd like to see just how many people that was...perhaps they could get over it.

BTW, here's a table of Google search hits from "news.spamcop.net" (searched using the form on the spamcop.net Help site):

"spamcop block list" 131

"spamcop blocking list" 450

"spamcop blacklist" 676

"spamcop blocklist" 726

The official name is "blocking list," but people more often refer to it as either "blocklist" or "blacklist." Even Richard (RW) and Mike Easter have referred to it as a blacklist:

http://news.spamcop.net/pipermail/spamcop-...ary/034265.html

http://news.spamcop.net/pipermail/spamcop-...uly/008515.html

A little surfing in the Wayback Machine (archive.org) shows that it was originally linked in the Site Map on the home page of "www.spamcop.net" as a "DNS-based blacklist":

http://web.archive.org/web/20020602031623/spamcop.net/

Then, a year later, it's listed as the "SpamCop Blacklist":

http://web.archive.org/web/20030611215001/...ww.spamcop.net/

The name on the Home page kept flip-flopping back and forth between those two until the big interface change back in September '04, at which point a "Blocking List" tab showed up. I think the actual BL page has always used "SpamCop Blocking List," even when the Home page had it listed otherwise.

Even the name of this forum uses "Blocklist" instead of "Blocking List," so there's currently a bit of inconsistency, given that it's referred to as "SpamCop Blacklist" in the SC webmail interface.

DT

Edited by DavidT

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How about "SpamCop spam Sender List" or "SpamCop spam Source List", opening the way for a "SpamCop spam Advertised List"?

Edited by Jeff G.

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How about "SpamCop spam Sender List" or "SpamCop spam Source List"

I think I like the "Source List" name best. Then, whatever action is taken based on listings, whether it be tagging, redirecting to Held, blocking, dev/nulling, etc., the name isn't misleading.

DT

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I agree that spam Source List is more descriptive since it covers the different ways that it can be used.

However, some of the problem is that there are different philosophies about it. I am in the camp that blocklists (in the sense of rejecting at the server) is the best way to deal with spam. The use of blacklists and other kinds of spam filters are necessary for some people as a stopgap measure, but until email is blocked if it is unsolicited and unwanted, it is so much spitting in the wind as far as controlling spam. In fact, while I won't argue with a merchant who wants to sift through everything so they don't miss an unsolicited sale, IMHO, blacklists are just an automated form of JHD and do nothing whatsoever toward diminishing the flow of spam. Blackholes (or deleting it before anyone sees it) is almost as bad philosophically as spam.

Miss Betsy

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