Wave of the Future (Spam)

From: Richard Erlacher <edick_at_idcomm.com>
Date: Thu Jun 21 11:06:02 2001

I agree with Tony here, in that there has to be a valid application for the
features of email that so many SPAMmers have exploited. However, if you want to
do away with bulk email, something's got to be done. This means somebody,
somewhere, will lose. Perhaps, if unsolicited bulk mailings were just easier to
recognize ...

One of the underlying facts in the way things have developed is that much of
this technology was developed in the U.S. where things simply aren't done much
if they're not simple and economical. Unfortunately, while simple methods are
easier to make and prove reliable they're not always the "right" way to do

I'd expect that application of some eastern European methodology, based on the
notion that if one guy spends enough man-decades working on something
tremendously complicated, but consistent and clean because there have been few
committees or meetings required to get the job done, will yield a
difficult-to-defeat mail tracing scheme.

Unfortunately, it's like curing some diseases ... the money's in the treatment
of the ailment, not in the cure/prevention. Who's to pay for this? The guys
who might pay, presently, benefit from it as is. I don't find the SPAM so
offensive that it interferes with productivity by much, and even I have found a
good source once or twice by reading SPAM.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Tony Duell" <ard_at_p850ug1.demon.co.uk>
To: <classiccmp_at_classiccmp.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2001 12:34 PM
Subject: Re: Wave of the Future (Spam)

> >
> > I'm not sure why this continues to be the problem that it is. I agree that
> > is terribly annoying, but can't comprehend why it can't be dealt with from
> > INSIDE, i.e. simply rewrite the SMTP/POP protocol rules such that mail only
> > allows a single addressee, and that any server that sees more than one
> > either in the "to" field or the CC field, it simply pitches it in the bit
> > bucket. Spammers love the current situation, because their own bandwidth
> > even consumed by the wide distribution of some bit of nonsense advertising.
> >
> > If I ever want to send several people the same email, which I've not yet
> > after about 10 years of internetting, I'd simply write a script to do that.
> I think this is a pretty daft idea...
> I often _do_ want to send the same e-mail to several people. Not as SPAM
> (of course), but people who share a mutual interest in something (perhaps
> we're arranging a time for a meeting, perhaps we're discussing some
> repair methods for a classic computer, etc). It's not worth setting up a
> proper mailing list for this of course.
> So I send out the message with multiple addresses in the To: field.
> People reply using the Group Reply feature of their mailers (heck, even
> my anceint version of elm has that...) so we all know what is going on,
> and so a discussion can be maintained.
> Now, it's certainly not beyond me to write a script to send the same
> message <n> times to the <n> people (but of course that increases the
> amount of outgoing data from my machine to the mail machine at my isp).
> But then I'd have to start each message with a line of the form
> 'Please send all replys to me, and <foo> and <bar> and <baz> and...' You
> can bet some people wouldn't manage to do that.
> Sorry, I'd rather stick with the current system. Yes, I get spam, but
> that seems better than being unable to use e-mail in a useful way.
> FWIW, I have never sent an anonymous message, or posted anywhere (usenet,
> web discussion forums (fora?), etc) with a mangled e-mail address (at
> least not deliberately -- I might have mistyped it sometimes, I guess). I
> don't get _that_ much spam....
> >
> > The fact that the internet community or its governing bodies haven't figured
> > this out is a symptom of the fact that they WANT people to be able to SPAM
> > anonymously. At the risk of offending the purists, I'd say it's up to us to
> A lot of the internet (and for that matter unix) is based on the idea
> that we don't prevent people doing silly things (like spamming) because
> that would also prevent them doing useful things (like setting up trivial
> 'mailing lists'). Of course I am also fully in favour of punishing those
> who act in a stupid way (I would like to suggest that the penalty for
> spamming should be being lowered into a pot of molten solder, feet first!).
> -tony
Received on Thu Jun 21 2001 - 11:06:02 BST

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