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tooangry

This is a help desk

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This forum is effectively the only help service available to people affected by Spamcop. It should be treated as such, and not as a chat room or soap box.

Many people come to the web site because they are unable to send e-mails and want to find out why and what to do about it. Spamcop provides no contact information for support or technical assistance (which I actually think is a disgrace, but that is another topic). This is it. There is no proper FAQ - have you ever tried to make sense of the pinned threads?

And what happens when people get here seeking help? If they are not technically sophisticated they are patronised by some participants (not all, but enough to be offensive), lectured by others (trying to organise a class reunion by email is spam? get real) and find their thread hijacked by people just wanting to socialise or looking for another opportunity to bore the general community (even if it entertains them and a couple of friends).

This is a HELP forum, and that is what it should provide.

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This forum is effectively the only help service available to people affected by Spamcop. It should be treated as such, and not as a chat room or soap box.

Many people come to the web site because they are unable to send e-mails and want to find out why and what to do about it. Spamcop provides no contact information for support or technical assistance (which I actually think is a disgrace, but that is another topic). This is it. There is no proper FAQ - have you ever tried to make sense of the pinned threads?

And what happens when people get here seeking help? If they are not technically sophisticated they are patronised by some participants (not all, but enough to be offensive), lectured by others (trying to organise a class reunion by email is spam? get real) and find their thread hijacked by people just wanting to socialise or looking for another opportunity to bore the general community (even if it entertains them and a couple of friends).

This is a HELP forum, and that is what it should provide.

Hi, tooangry!

...Your opinion is noted (and I sympathize). Note, however, that the other side of the coin is that a number of people coming here looking for help aren't able to provide enough information to allow those of us with more experience than they to help them, then they get huffy over being asked for that additional information.

...This is the place SpamCop provides for support and technical assistance. Those of us who are users but know a bit about how SpamCop works do some triage; more involved problems go to Deputies; the problems needing the most serious attention go (via the Deputies) up to Julian.

...Yes, I have tried to make sense of the pinned threads. In some cases, they're very easy to understand; in others, far too technical for my little mind. That's why there's more than just pinned threads -- there's also this forum!

...If some people are turned off by those of us trying to help, that's not good (and, for my part, if I offend someone unintentionally, I try to apologize and explain) and I'm pleased that most of the others who try to offer help do as well as they do with as little patronizing or lecturing.

...Sorry you don't agree, but, yes, trying to organize a class reunion can IMHO reasonably be considered spam.

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Yes, I have tried to make sense of the pinned threads. In some cases, they're very easy to understand; in others, far too technical for my little mind

It's not just that they're technical. The "Why am I Blocked FAQ" thread, which must be the most needed by newcomers to this forum, consists of twenty two messages! That is unhelpful, to put it mildly.

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Yes, I have tried to make sense of the pinned threads. In some cases, they're very easy to understand; in others, far too technical for my little mind

It's not just that they're technical. The "Why am I Blocked FAQ" thread, which must be the most needed by newcomers to this forum, consists of twenty two messages! That is unhelpful, to put it mildly.

...But there are others, and this forum. :)

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QUOTE (tooangry [at] Apr 6 2004, 09:08 PM)

QUOTE 

Yes, I have tried to make sense of the pinned threads. In some cases, they're very easy to understand; in others, far too technical for my little mind

It's not just that they're technical. The "Why am I Blocked FAQ" thread, which must be the most needed by newcomers to this forum, consists of twenty two messages! That is unhelpful, to put it mildly.

...But there are others, and this forum.

But why not make it easier for people?

Spamcop is hard to navigate and highly intimidating for newcomers. If you want it to be widely accepted as an anti-spam mechanism then you have to ensure that it is a professionally run operation. An FAQ that extends over 22 messages and nearly 5,000 words with no structure or indication how to approach it is not professional.

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QUOTE (tooangry [at] Apr 6 2004, 09:08 PM)

QUOTE 

Yes, I have tried to make sense of the pinned threads. In some cases, they're very easy to understand; in others, far too technical for my little mind

It's not just that they're technical. The "Why am I Blocked FAQ" thread, which must be the most needed by newcomers to this forum, consists of twenty two messages! That is unhelpful, to put it mildly.

...But there are others, and this forum.

But why not make it easier for people?

Spamcop is hard to navigate and highly intimidating for newcomers. If you want it to be widely accepted as an anti-spam mechanism then you have to ensure that it is a professionally run operation. An FAQ that extends over 22 messages and nearly 5,000 words with no structure or indication how to approach it is not professional.

...This help forum is not INTENDED to look professional -- we who provide most of the first-level support are not professional Help Desk support people, after all!

...If you believe it can be improved then, by all means, make suggestions -- most of us will be most grateful! :)

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This help forum is not INTENDED to look professional

Well why ever not? Thousands of ISPs use Spamcop to block emails and as a result many users end up here tring to understand what is going on. And you say that there is not even an intention to make the ony accessible help service look professional?

That seems to me the most astounding admission. Is is a generally held view, I wonder?

If so, it explains a huge amount about the attitude of those who provide assistance here.

Perhaps the underlying issue is that Spamcom is still run mainly by volunteers, many of whom have their own priorities, approaches and agendas. It is, in fact, run like a non-profit organisation where we are supposed to be grateful that it exists at all. It is widely used, however, by major commercial organisations who are used to a somewhat higher level of commitment and service.

Something will have to change.

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This forum is effectively the only help service available to people affected by Spamcop. It should be treated as such, and not as a chat room or soap box.

Many people come to the web site because they are unable to send e-mails and want to find out why and what to do about it. Spamcop provides no contact information for support or technical assistance (which I actually think is a disgrace, but that is another topic). This is it. There is no proper FAQ - have you ever tried to make sense of the pinned threads?

And what happens when people get here seeking help? If they are not technically sophisticated they are patronised by some participants (not all, but enough to be offensive), lectured by others (trying to organise a class reunion by email is spam? get real) and find their thread hijacked by people just wanting to socialise or looking for another opportunity to bore the general community (even if it entertains them and a couple of friends).

This is a HELP forum, and that is what it should provide.

OK! So what brought you here?

Just a troll down the street?

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OK! So what brought you here?

Just a troll down the street?

This is a public help forum. Where is the call for personal abuse?

This is exactly the type of attitude I was complaining about, and which is hardly designed to make the forum a constructive and professional environment.

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I don't know why the "Why Am I blocked" FAQ includes all the messages that were posted in editing and creating it. It really shouldn't, but most of the people involved here are volunteers and don't always have the time to do it properly.

If the directions were clearer, your post should have gone in the discussion forum, instead of the help forum. In fact, perhaps a moderator will move it.

The help forum should be a place where questions are asked and answered. There may a number of posts if the person is non-technical in order to get the information that is needed or if the problem is complicated. But when it gets into a discussion, people should move the discussion to the Lounge.

Re: trying to set up a reunion is spam - IMHO, it was more of a warning! Because of the spammers and viruses, any unexpected email is likely to be deleted without reading. And unless they intend to email each individual one at a time, it will be bulk email. Even by the spamhaus definition, it would be spam. I doubt that any ISP would cancel them - no, I take that back, there are some clueless ones who would.

And if you have suggestions about how to improve the help forum, start a thread in the Lounge. It has definitely not evolved the way it should have.

Miss Betsy

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...Please note, these are all my own opinions, from what I've gleaned from being a nonpaying, reporting-only user for several months.

This help forum is not INTENDED to look professional

Well why ever not?

...Because the reporting side of the house essentially has one and only one paid employee -- Julian. I'm not certain about the e-mail and forum side -- I think it's also just one -- JT (aka jefft).

Thousands of ISPs use Spamcop to block emails and as a result many users end up here tring to understand what is going on. And you say that there is not even an intention to make the ony accessible help service look professional?

That seems to me the most astounding admission. Is is a generally held view, I wonder?

If so, it explains a huge amount about the attitude of those who provide assistance here.

...Actually, I did not state that quite right -- I'm sure there's every intention to make these forums look professional, and I believe it has succeeded. What is not (necessarily) intended to look professional are the individual posts by members, such as the pinned FAQ to which you refer. Professional-looking is secondary to a broad-based, multi-user approach to first-level support.

Perhaps the underlying issue is that Spamcom is still run mainly by volunteers, many of whom have their own priorities, approaches and agendas. It is, in fact, run like a non-profit organisation where we are supposed to be grateful that it exists at all.

...It is not really "run" by volunteers; rather, it relies on volunteers for much of its end-user support. And this support is swifter and surer than many professional help desks with many full-time support people that I have seen....

It is widely used, however, by major commercial organisations who are used to a somewhat higher level of commitment and service.

...The blocklist is offered as a service to any organization that wishes to use it, with certain caveats. Generally speaking (perhaps fully speaking), SpamCop.net e-mail service itself does not use it to block e-mails entirely, but rather to direct them to a "suspicious mail" [that isn't SpamCop's name for it, just what I've chosen to use] bucket for the end user to review. The fact that some organizations choose to use it to block e-mails is entirely a matter for those organizations and their clients to decide, not SpamCop, you, or I.

Something will have to change.

...What has to change is that spam needs to become less of a burden on our networks and e-mail inboxes. SpamCop.net helps to promote that.

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most of the people involved here are volunteers and don't always have the time to do it properly.

I know that there are a lot of vounteers here, and that many of them give a lot of time, energy and expertise to the forum. My concern about this is why Spamcop is unable to have someone spend a little time tidying up the FAQ and presenting the information there, much of which is very useful, in an accessible way. Again, Spamcop is widely used, but doesn't act in a way that suggests that this is understood.

My apologies if this si the wrong place for the discussion. I understood that the The Lounge was for everything except spam fighting and Spamcop - and this was about Spamcop. I certainly have no objection to its being moved if a moderator thinks it appropriate

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This is actually a step in that direction. Many volunteers have placed a lot of time into doing everything you are asking. As you know you can not please everyone at the same time and when you start talking about help in dealing why email is being blocked or reported there could actually be hundreds of answers.

Many fall into the "Your Server is Spewing spam 24 hours a day" but there are also others that are hijacked, open proxy's, Open Relays, some do not understand how to run a list, some believe it is their constitutional right to send anything they want to anyone they want.

This "Forum" and the FAQ's behind it are a work in progress and it will be evolving all the time.

HTH HAND.

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most of the people involved here are volunteers and don't always have the time to do it properly.

I know that there are a lot of vounteers here, and that many of them give a lot of time, energy and expertise to the forum. My concern about this is why Spamcop is unable to have someone spend a little time tidying up the FAQ and presenting the information there, much of which is very useful, in an accessible way.

<snip>

...The short answer to your question is, IIUC, that there are essentially two people running the show -- Julian and JT -- and they are busy doing what they (and others) consider to be higher priority things. In the meantime, it's up to the rest of us volunteers to make the improvements we think are necessary in those areas we are permitted (such as the pinned messages, via the Moderators). Again, I'm sure we all would welcome any specific improvements you might care to suggest (I certainly would)!

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This "Forum" and the FAQ's behind it are a work in progress and it will be evolving all the time.
Well said, Merlyn. Meanwhile, back at the ranch ... the postings that were apparently the "straw that broke the camel's back" for tooangry Please help! seem to have wandered on and off track and eventually included a useful body of information.

But the attitude in the process! Way too judgemental, too much baggage to unload on a poor first-post newbie, surely?

trying to organize a class reunion can IMHO reasonably be considered spam.
Well maybe, but that technically depends on the answer to the pertinent question in that other topic -
where did you get all their email addresses from?
(unanswered, last time I looked). Even so, school reunions are (mostly) good - to treat a round-up as spam reveals a fortress mentality that is plain unhealthy IMO (course that depends on what the classmates were like, but generally ...)

Anyone who smells in the slightest of spam gets to run the gauntlet and that's not going to change anytime soon but the innocent until proven guilty rule should apply when it comes to the gratuitous comments and "observations"

I can't help but contrast the courtesy, focus, helpfulness and immense patience I received in response to my first postings with the treatment some get. But no matter what, you have to admit it is a rapid response! And where else but in these for/ums/a can you have the purely exixtential experience of occasionally seeing:

0 User(s) are reading this topic (0 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)

0 Members:

??

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My suggestions, all of which are intended to be positive, are as follows:

1. Tidy up the FAQ for the help forum. There are 12 pinned topics in the forum, and several of them have multiple messages. The purpose of some is unclear from their titles.

2. Provide a reference to the FAQ and the help forum from the overall FAQ for the site.

3. Provide a link from the Spamcop home page to the help forum.

4. Consider splitting the help forum for those who are being blocked from the help forum for those with Spamcop reporting problems.

5. Encourage moderators to take a more agressive stance in keeping discussions civil and on-track. In particular posters who arrive from outside with a problem should not be subject to sarcasm or abuse and deserve to be able to locate the information concerning their own issues without ploughing through unrelated debate and personal asides. Yes many of those who arrive here are unhappy. That is the inevitable result of running a system with a very agressive approach to spam. There needs to be a more positive approach to deeling with ths.

More generally, I think that there should be an effort to formalise a definition of what spam is for the purpose of Spamcop reporting. At the moment, as far as I can see, this is largely up to the individual reporter. With some active participants clearly taking a very strong line indeed I suggest that clarification of this issue is needed if Spamcop is not going to slip from "agressive" to "rabid".

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spam is different for everyone. spam is an invasion of ones privacy. What is spam for one person is not spam for another. This has been discussed too many times and if you want this to go in that direction then this topic should be moved.

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This forum is effectively the only help service available to people affected by Spamcop.

Not true. At http://www.spamcop.net (and I must note that I might be lying a bit here, as I don't happen to have a computer turned on here that doesn't already have my actual account logon in place, so the actual link I'm looking at is http://www.spamcop.net/?code=stringof characters) you'll find the following under Site Map;

Questions and Comments

Search the FAQ and forum

FAQ index

Help/discussion forum - let your voice be heard

http://www.spamcop.net/forum.shtml

Quick newsgroup links:

( General Help . Email Accounts . Geeks . Social . spam lab)

Low-volume SpamCop news digest

actual links;

news://news.spamcop.net/spamcop.help

news://news.spamcop.net/spamcop.mail

news://news.spamcop.net/spamcop.geeks

news://news.spamcop.net/spamcop.social

news://news.spamcop.net/spamcop.spam

http://news.spamcop.net/mailman/listinfo/spamcop-digest

http://www.spamcop.net/forum.shtml contains the text;

Web-based forums (link - http://www.spamcop.net/help.shtml)

New web-based forums are now the primary method for getting help.

For more advanced users, we still offer traditional NNTP (usenet style) forums for more advanced discussion and ongoing conversation:

The SpamCop forum has grown to deal with several sub-topics. NNTP links will launch your configured news-reader and subscribe to the group indicated. WebTV users should use the WebTv links instead.

If the links above don't work for you, you can try configuring your news reader manually: NNTP news server: news.spamcop.net

These Forums are but a few months old, on the second software application (and I'm not sure that JT has yet made the final decision on this app) .. so there's a bit of learning going on by all involved. There's a large majority of "long-time" SpamCop users that have made it clear that this web-based type of thing is not their cup of tea, thus there's a large bit of institutional knowledge and experience not available here. There's but a few of "us" that frequent both sides of the house.

This web-based thing was supposed to be an easier format to get help on the basic issues of dealing with the SpamCop interface. Raed that as problems would be simple, and answers even easier <g> The heavy duty stuff would continue on over in the newsgroups. Unfortunatley, not all users have fallen for this scenario, so lot of the questions asked here do tend to take a lot more screen space and dancing around, as compared to things done over in the NNTP side of things. Jeeze, look at this response, and that's only to your first line of a single post of yours.

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All the first set of links you refer to are part of these discussion forums. Agreed there are also the newsgroups, but for most people those are harder to use and certainly not really a suitable first port of call for someone arriving here with a blocking problem.

As for the idea that heavy-duty stuff would be on the newsgroups, where on the web site does it say this? I'm back to my issue that this is run too much like a private chat room, and not enough in a way that helps visitors.

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spam is different for everyone. spam is an invasion of ones privacy. What is spam for one person is not spam for another.

You are welcome to set whatever criteria you like for your own personal spam filter. I just don't impose your views on me by reporting to Spamcop messages that most reasonable people would not regard as spam. Where should the line be drawn? That is the issue that I believe needs careful discussion, followed by an imposed decision (not an attempt to please everyone) about what the rules for reporting should be.

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If you ask for help you get it. Everyone does.

I do not understand what you want????????

We answered your questions, concerns about this forum.

You are keeping this going. There is a name for that.

What do you want? We heard your issue. We answered your issue, do you have more issues?

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The "Why am I Blocked FAQ" thread, which must be the most needed by newcomers to this forum, consists of twenty two messages! That is unhelpful, to put it mildly.

Had you read all those posts, I'm wondering how you missed that it's a work-in-progess and input had been requested to improve it. You say it was unhelpful, I'll ask "what was missed?" .. What additional data needs to be there? What information was incorrect in your eyes?

Spamcop is hard to navigate

?? The "basic" SpamCop web page has a big box to paste-your-spam-in-here with a "Submit button below it ... what's to navigate? The webmail experience I can't talk to as I don't use that side of the house. I can't see how an IMAP account would be "hard to navigate" .. though setting it up may be an experience?

An FAQ that extends over 22 messages and nearly 5,000 words with no structure or indication how to approach it

Other than scrolling down the screen, how else would one "approach" what's displayed? And again, as the text is "how's this, what else needs to be done?" ... I'm not quite understanding your ire.

make the ony accessible help service

Again, not an actually valid statement. Please see my last post. Newsgroups are still available and they don't have the colors, blocks, sections, etc.

run like a non-profit organisation

Until a number of months ago, it was. I actually don't know what today's situation is with IronPort's money involved. None of my business anyway.

Spamcop provides no contact information for support or technical assistance

Again, see my last post.

your post should have gone in the discussion forum, instead of the help forum

Agreed, and shall be done when this is posted.

Because the reporting side of the house essentially has one and only one paid employee -- Julian. I'm not certain about the e-mail and forum side -- I think it's also just one -- JT (aka jefft).

Technically, not true .. there's Don, "hired" way back to handle some of the Admin stuff .. and Ellen was brought on as a "paid" employee sometime around/after the Ironport deal .... the e-mail side of the house, I can only say that JT is the only contact point that I know of <g>

This post is getting way too long .. hitting the button to post and move this thing <g>

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All the first set of links you refer to are part of these discussion forums.

??? news://anything has nothing to do with these Forums. Perhpas you're going with the "names" ??? Trust me, content here and content there is not the same.

Agreed there are also the newsgroups, but for most people those are harder to use and certainly not really a suitable first port of call for someone arriving here with a blocking problem.

Which again, is why JT decided to go this route. In mu opinion, part of this decision was based on the fact that he's doing the e-mail side of things, and it was seen as an easier way to deal with the support of the e-mail side of the house. As he also provides the NNTP servers, he made the decision to kill off the NNTP spamcop.mail newsgroup, as this web-based thing was to be the only place for that support to be offered. The rest of the newsgroups remain and are still active. And it is a bit disturbing to see some user posting their issues in both places, leaving one to wonder just where the best place for a response actually is ... especially when some of the facts change between the different posts <g>

As for the idea that heavy-duty stuff would be on the newsgroups, where on the web site does it say this? I'm back to my issue that this is run too much like a private chat room, and not enough in a way that helps visitors.

Provided in my first post in this Topc/thread .. as copied from the page (content) that I porvided ... here it is again;

For more advanced users, we still offer traditional NNTP (usenet style) forums for more advanced discussion and ongoing conversation:

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why Spamcop is unable to have someone spend a little time tidying up the FAQ

Came home a while back, came across a posting by Merlyn about Spammer Rules .. suggesting it be added to the Pinned item list ... of you look at it, it took a bit of effort on his part to type it up, add some color, format it, etc. ... Heck yes, all it took was a bit of a menu option, and Pinned it was. I recall Pinning something myself recently that was basically snippets of a question from one user and an answer from JT on how things worked and it has already recieved "favorable" responses for its content (and placement)

If you look at the "Moderators list", you'll note that there aren't a lot of "them" ... JT is the head honcho here, but he's normally occupied with keeping the e-mail (and newsgroup) servers humming along ... the SpamCOp Staff folks are basically the "Deputy" crew, and they have their hands full doing the Admin stuff, dealing with ISPs, handling specific issues for / with some users .... so the rest of what you see here, as has been pointed out several times, is the attempt at helping others with what knowledge "we" have ... and admittedly, sometimes "we" don't have the answers ... heck, there's an issue or two that I'm not happy with either <g>

Now, to do your off-topic and chatty bit ... today I replaced a sink and faucet for a lady down on the corner, helped my Dad and a brother swap tires from a car headed to the junk yard to a trailer, tore the door apart on my Ford van with the intention of fixing the crank mechanism so the window would roll all the way up and jerking the door lock out to get it re-key'd (got as far as tearing it apart <g>), jump-started a car for a guy across the street, worked on three web pages for some of my clients, fielded over 40 phone calls for help (most being about the fact that the "local" cable company lost some servers and my first call to them related something like 30 cities were knocked off-line due to no DHCP service) ... I'm suspecting that I've already forgotten the more mundane stuff, but just now thinking that I haven't eaten anything since (now yesterday) "this" morning ...

I don't have a clue how many answers / comments I've typed in since sitting down here, but this is one of the reasons that I haven't had time to "fix the Pinned items"

Having just mentioned food, just finished the coffee I made like 16 hours ago (good thermos <g>) .. I'm off to go get something to stoke up on. Hope this helps answer some of your issues.

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An FAQ that extends over 22 messages and nearly 5,000 words with no structure or indication how to approach it 

Other than scrolling down the screen, how else would one "approach" what's displayed? And again, as the text is "how's this, what else needs to be done?" ... I'm not quite understanding your ire.

How about a single message, structured in a Q&A form (as Miss Betty's orriginal post was) that contains the final version of all the relevant information. Why should any new user have to trawl through all the disussions, rather than getting straight to the final conclusion?

 

make the ony accessible help service

Again, not an actually valid statement. Please see my last post. Newsgroups are still available and they don't have the colors, blocks, sections, etc.

But for non-techie users they are still very much harder-going than a web-based forum. When I first posted on Spamcop they were the only help options, and as I struggled with them I found I was being shouted at for my failure to obey the appropriate etiquette, as well as for being a friend of spammers because I actually wanted to understand what I needed to do to get my messages through. Baptism by fire to put it mildly.

 

run like a non-profit organisation 

Until a number of months ago, it was. I actually don't know what today's situation is with IronPort's money involved. None of my business anyway.

Firstly it IS now a commercial organisation, like it or not. Secondly, Spamcop promotes itself as a service for IPS and other major commercial organisations. They incorporate its service into their offering. Spamcop cannot then just refuse to deal with the resultant increase in demand for support.

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