[freetds] spam control
Lowden, James K
LowdenJK at bernstein.com
Tue Jan 27 12:11:50 EST 2004
One of the lesser joys of administering a mailing list is dealing with bogus mail. I'll be working with the mail filters this weekend to prevent machine-generated anti-virus messages from spamming the list. Sorry for the noise.
The basic problem on my end is that the messages have no standard form. Obviously, they follow a pattern and aren't hard to recognize, but they're hard to *predict*, so it's impossible to implement the filters before the messages start arriving.
The basic problem on the sender's end is sending the messages in the first place.
A little rant follows. If you don't care about spam, you can stop here.
<rant> It looks like I'm going to be writing to practically every postmaster on the list, to explain why it's STUPID to generate mail to the *sender* on receipt of a virus/whatever. Any feedback to the sender should be given at delivery time, using the SMTP protocol. If you're going to redirect the mail to another mailbox, label it spam/virus/blah, fine, do that. Then tell the *recipient*. He's the one who needs to know what happened.
In principle, feedback messages emitted by a program should be interpretable by the agent submitting the input. If the agent is a machine, the message should be machine-interpretable. Only if the agent is human should the message be formatted for human consumption.
In FreeTDS, for example, neither the library nor the server writes messages to the user's screen. They generate messages and return codes that the UI (isql/sqsh/perl/PHP) interprets. The UI decides how to present the information to the user.
Many (all?) antispamvirus outfits have failed to observe this basic principle, as have the administrators of the systems that use them. They are now as much contributing to the virus/spam problem as controlling it. </rant>
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