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Vanguard

[Resolved] news.spamcop.net is now whining about From header

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I've been using the news.spamcop.net NNTP server for awhile. I didn't need to specify an e-mail address, especially since I never take any discussions offline to disconnect them from other group participants. There's no point to specify an e-mail address or even require one since everyone knows that it will be bogus to avoid the spambots from harvesting them. Even SpamCop's own help pages regarding the forum says to use a bogus e-mail address.

When I attempt to submit a post, the news server now looks for a validly syntaxed e-mail address in the From header. Okay, so why won't it accept one? Currently I am using "reply2group[at]email.invalid" but only for those NNTP servers that demand that there be something in the From header. That *is* a validly syntaxed e-mail address. If SpamCop's news server won't accept .invalid as a top-level domain than it is screwed up. One of the easiest ways to munge an e-mail address is to use .invalid or example.com.

So why the recent change in the server's handling of the From header and why won't it take validly syntaxed e-mail addresses? I get the following error messsage from OE:

Outlook Express could not post your message. Subject '<subjectheader>', Account: 'Newsgroups - Spamcop', Server: 'news.spamcop.net', Protocol: NNTP, Server Response: '441 From: address not in Internet syntax', Port: 119, Secure(SSL): No, Server Error: 441, Error Number: 0x800CCCA9

I enabled the OE troubleshooting log (show below) but it didn't provide any more details regarding why the Spamcop NNTP server is bitching about the From header's value.

Microsoft Internet Messaging API 6.00.2900.2527 (xpsp_sp2_gdr.040919-1056)

NNTP Log started at 05/25/2005 20:17:30

NNTP: 20:17:30 [db] Connecting to 'news.spamcop.net' on port 119.

NNTP: 20:17:30 [rx] 200 news.spamcop.net InterNetNews NNRP server INN 2.3.2 ready (posting ok).

NNTP: 20:17:30 [tx] MODE READER

NNTP: 20:17:30 [rx] 200 news.spamcop.net InterNetNews NNRP server INN 2.3.2 ready (posting ok).

NNTP: 20:17:30 [tx] POST

NNTP: 20:17:30 [rx] 340 Ok, recommended ID <d7383a$u1m$1[at]news.spamcop.net>

NNTP: 20:17:30 [tx]

.

NNTP: 20:17:31 [rx] 441 From: address not in Internet syntax

NNTP: 20:17:31 [db] Connection to 'news.spamcop.net' closed.

Something changed (and the change was wrong). I've tried several e-mail addresses (none of which are my own but all of which use valid e-mail syntax) and I get the same error. I don't have the problem with any of the other NNTP servers that I use (Giganews' and Microsoft's), and this just was noticed today. Well, the last time that I tried to post was back on the 20th so it could've happened anytime in the last 5 days for this particular NNTP server.

I can read but I just cannot post, and the error is bogus since the syntax is valid for the e-mail address in the From header.

Edited by Vanguard

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If you feel that strongly, per SpamCop.net - Help:

Please use "nobody[at]devnull.spamcop.net" if you use a fake address.
Thanks!

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Even SpamCop's own help pages regarding the forum says to use a bogus e-mail address. 

28557[/snapback]

I have not been to the newsgroups since this app came online but I would think Wazoo would have mentioned this problem as he monitors over there quite a bit.

Have you tried the suggested nobody[at]devnull.spamcop.net address?

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If you feel that strongly, per SpamCop.net - Help:Thanks!

28559[/snapback]

That should be considered ONLY a suggestion. It would be utterly stupid for every poster to use the same e-mail address in the From header. Why? Well, say you have a puerile malcontent that wants to troll or flame in the groups provided by the SpamCop NNTP poster. How can you killfile (plonk) that poster if he/she uses the same e-mail as everyone else. What a wonderful concept. Have everyone use the same e-mail address to render completely unusable the ability to killfile any undersirable posters, or killfile the one troll and end up killfiling everyone (so why bother visiting the group if you're not going to see anyone's posts?).

Why do posters [hopefully] use different monikers to identify themself when they post? So you get used to who is posting and can differentiate who is submitting the post and who is replying to it. The e-mail address should also be unique (but munged) *if* it is supplied at all. If you have absolutely no desire to disconnect the conversation by taking if offline via e-mail then why even bother providing a munged e-mail address? Yeah, some NNTP servers still require something in the From header but then you end up just putting in a completely bogus e-mail address or one that directs to a null service (so obviously there was no point in providing an e-mail address in the first place). If you do want to provide an e-mail address as an additional part of your identity then you should be able to munge your e-mail address, and using the .invalid TLD is perfectly legitimate not only for munging but as the e-mail value in the From header.

Telling every poster to use the same e-mail address is stupid. It is more likely that posters (that use e-mail values) will have different e-mail addresses than they for having different monikers. In fact, the ploy of a malcontent is to impersonate someone else by using their moniker AND their e-mail address, so when someone plonks them then they also plonk the impersonated user.

Also, the fact remains that something has changed. If you look at my prior posts to the spamcop group on the news.spamcop.net server, I used "vanguard[at]domain.invalid". Obviously that was accepted because my posts are there. Something has recently changed that won't accept that or any other validly syntaxed e-mail address. I even tried vanguard[at]example.com and it won't accept that one, either!

And to add, using a valid domain that then sinks e-mails sent to that hostname still wastes resources at the recieving mail server. I munge the domain to deliberately specify a domain that doesn't exist. That way, the sending mail server can't even connect to a receiving mail server. It dies immediately when trying to send, not sometime later after sending and the receiving mail server has to waste CPU cycles and resources to auto-delete or reject it on delivery.

Edited by Vanguard

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Currently I am using "reply2group[at]email.invalid" but only for those NNTP servers that demand that there be something in the From header.  That *is* a validly syntaxed e-mail address.  If SpamCop's news server won't accept .invalid as a top-level domain than it is screwed up.  One of the easiest ways to munge an e-mail address is to use .invalid or example.com.

Suggest your problem may be some where else besides SpamCop.

Just noted nobody[at]nowhere.invalid has no problem posting to spamcop.geeks, Subject: Re: Boot Managers for NTFS partitions? Posted today (25 May) at 4:47PM

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Suggest your problem may be some where else besides SpamCop.

Just noted nobody[at]nowhere.invalid has no problem posting to spamcop.geeks, Subject: Re: Boot Managers for NTFS partitions?  Posted today (25 May) at 4:47PM

28563[/snapback]

I just tried "vanguard[at]nixnntp.com" (after first checking that nixnntp.com was not a registered domain so it couldn't be inuse somewhere) and it still didn't like that one. I don't want to using a registered domain because I'm not interested in energizing spam at some innocent.

The line from the troubleshooting log that says:

NNTP: 20:17:31 [rx] 441 From: address not in Internet syntax

The "[rx]" means that status line was *received* from the news.spamcop.net server. So it was the NNTP server that rejected the From header's value. Right now it is rejecting whatever I put in that header. Since the value of the From header can be seen whenever I post to other NNTP servers, I know that what I am specifying in OE for the From header (for the Name and E-mail address fields in the account definition) is getting sent to the NNTP server. By seeing my posts sent to the other NNTP servers, I can see what the value was in the From header that it got from my NNTP client. Since Spamcop's message doesn't specify what it got for the From header that it is complaining about, I cannot guarantee what value it received. However, since it works for all the other NNTP servers then the finger pointing is directed at the SpamCop server.

I don't know why you could get it to work, especially since you did not use the "recommended" fake e-mail address (I was thinking that maybe someone screwed up and was forcing everyone to use the same fake one, but not even a legit one got accepted). However, you did post to a different group than I am trying to use. It would seem weird and silly that the NNTP server would have one set of rules regarding the From header depending into which group the message got posted.

-- UPDATE --

Oops. See that you simply *found* a post from earlier today that was from someone using nobody[at]nowhere.invalid. My last post was back on the 20th so all I could claim is that something changed since then and when I tried posting about an hour ago (and ever since then). So maybe the "change" occurred sometime after 5PM today (which was for the post that you noted).

Edited by Vanguard

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Okay, now it gets strange. When trying to submit my prior reply post, SpamCop's NNTP server would spew back its 441 error saying it didn't like my From header. So I tried replying to another post and that one got accepted. Huh? It didn't like my From header before (or now) for replying to that other message, but my From header is okay when replying to a different message?

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However, you did post to a different group than I am trying to use.  It would seem weird and silly that the NNTP server would have one set of rules regarding the From header depending into which group the message got posted.

-- UPDATE --

So maybe the "change" occurred sometime after 5PM today (which was for the post that you noted).

28565[/snapback]

You didn't say which group you were using. Check spamcop.test. All the From: you suggest seem to work for me.

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spamcop.test just accepted my attempted posting using your originally suggested reply2group[at]email.invalid address.?? (but will note that this really is an invalid construct)

You've covered a lot of ground. There has been an individual forging indentities, performing rouge cancels. JT removed the 'cancel' capability.

In the attempt at complaining about (believe the same) individual routing recent posts through the webTV-spamcop newsgroup feed, the fine folks at HotMail terminated my ancient account "for spamming" ..

I have no knowledge of JT being in the area and making changes, so can't rule that out ... but hard to troubleshoot it when it's working <g>

Error Number: 0x800CCCA9 shows as an OE error condition of

0x800CCCA9 NNTP_POST_FAILED ..... Unable to post to server.

Yes, multile posters has caused issues .... there's a discussion here that i recall asking if that poster had been keeping up with the same item up for discussion 'over there ... and it turned out that just as you stated, blocking on that 'common' address had caused posts by both myself and Ellen to go unnoticed /unseen 'there' ....

Didn't solve anything, but couldn't find anything broken either .. sorry ...

(note: the actual posting of this was much delayed, phone call, hospital, family, all that stuff ...)

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Posting with an address at example.com or localhost.com should be allowed.

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Turns out the e-mail address in the submitted message was invalid but I had changed it, or so I thought. I had decided not to bother specifying an e-mail address for newsgroup posts. I wanted to keep all replies in the newsgroup and prevent anyone from disconnecting it via e-mail (i.e., share with others or don't bother to post). I would no longer bother to maintain an e-mail account for newsgroup replies since I don't want and will no longer accept e-mails for newsgroup discussions. An e-mail account is not mandatory to actually use NNTP. The e-mail address will be fake or munged. Since I wasn't going to maintain an e-mail account that might allow for disconnecting the discussion via e-mail, there would be not point in munging an e-mail address. Instead the e-mail address would be fake. What is the difference between a fake e-mail address (to which you cannot send e-mail) and no e-mail address (so, again, you cannot send e-mail)? One difference is that the potential respondent might send off the e-mail to the fake e-mail address, if permitted, and not realize why there was no response. However, trying to send to an invalid e-mail address would immediately alert the user that was impossible, so it would prod the user to put their reply back in the thread in the newsgroup. Another difference is RFC compliance, but NNTP doesn't actually go through an e-mail account so an e-mail account was and is never actually required, and we already know that many of the RFCs are outdated and don't reflect current real-world conditions.

As a result, and after deleting the e-mail account previously assigned for any newsgroup replies sent via e-mail (which I didn't want and rarely received), I configured my news accounts to *not* specify an e-mail address. I've done that before with other NNTP servers, like my old ATT/Comcast NNTP server (now defunct) and with Giganews and Microsoft that I'm use now. It was several days later that I then attempted to post to the SpamCop NNTP when it complained about the From header. When trying to figure out what it got that it was complaining about, and because I was used to other NNTP servers accepting my values, I just didn't hit on what to look at last night (I was exhausted and got stuck focusing on why *that* message generated the "441 invalid From syntax" error). After some sleep and some coffee, I did what I should've done last night: look in raw mode to see what it was that I was sending since the troubleshooting logfile didn't tell me and the error message sent back from the SpamCop NNTP server didn't mention what value it got that it was complaining about.

The problem was ... (drumroll) ... the copy of the message in the Outbox is static. That is, once composed and moved into the Outbox, any changes to your accounts are not reflected in your pending outbound messages. I had sent the message so it was in my Outbox, the send got rejected, and it sat in my Outbox. I changed my settings according to SpamCop's complaint but that didn't resolve the problem because messages in the Outbox don't get updated. Messages in your Drafts folder will get updated if you change your account settings before sending those messages. However, messages in the Outbox are static: their headers remain fixed to whatever were the settings in your account at the time you composed the message (rather than add or update those headers to match your account settings during the SMTP or NNTP session). So, yeah, I was changing to a validly syntaxed e-mail address in my account settings but that did nothing to update the message sitting in my Outbox. Argh! Time to add something stronger to my coffee.

A test this morning clued me in. I sent a new post and it worked because there was a validly syntaxed From header used in the message. Then it dawned at me to use raw mode to look inside the message rather than rely on looking at what the UI presented to me. Seeing "Vanguard" in the From header shown in the UI version of the message doesn't help because that is what I always see (it doesn't show the e-mail address, only the name that I use to identify myself). Silly me for thinking the application would use whatever values were currently configured for an account when I send a message. The way to get around the problem is to reopen the message in the Outbox and then send it. Opening it makes it sync up with the new settings because there is an implicit Save operation which causes an update to the message to reflect the current account settings; i.e., an implicit Save after opening and resending (or a manual Save followed by a resend) gets the current account settings used in that message's headers.

Server: Your From header isn't a valid e-mail address.

Me: Okay, so I'll change it just for special little you. Here it is again.

Server: Your From header isn't a valid e-mail address.

Me: Yes, it is.

Server: No, it isn't.

Me: Okay, then try this one which is valid.

Server: Nope, won't take that one, either.

Me: What?! Well, how about this one? Others say they can use it.

Server: Nope, don't care, yours is invalid.

Me: But it works for others.

Server: Don't care. Not valid.

Me: What the fu..?!

Server: I don't do requests, and you're not my type, anyway.

Me: (Get some sleep.)

Me: (Next morning, send a *new* message.)

Server: That one has a valid From header.

Me: But it's the same one for the other message.

Server: Nope, but I'm still not going to tell you what *is* the value that I don't like.

Me: But the From header does have a ... hmm, wait a minute ... what if ... (looks in raw mode)

Me: Hey, that still has the original invalid e-mail address that I changed. What gives?

Me: (Opens old message and resends it okay.)

Me: Huh, now that From header that was invalid before is okay now?

Server: Well, what you sent now is okay.

Me: (Do a couple more tests.)

Me: Okay, looks like the old message still had the old bad value. It updated when I *opened* it again instead of just resending it.

Server: See, I was right. User error.

Me: Oh, shut up! You're the only one that bitched in the first place. No one else complains.

Now you know why I felt like I was on the wrong end of a comedy skit.

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