Spam and sieve vacation

Janne Peltonen janne.peltonen at
Mon Aug 27 03:56:20 EDT 2007

On Fri, Aug 24, 2007 at 11:54:38AM -0400, Jorey Bump wrote:
> In my opinion, no amount of backscatter is acceptable, so I don't allow 
> user-configurable autoresponders or forwarding. My antispam measures 
> have reduced the amount that makes it to the user's inbox to about 
> 5/week, so I will make a rare exception, but only if I configure it 
> myself.

5/week? Whee. We might achieve something remotely approaching that with
personalized bayesian filtering (a multi-discipline, internationaly
connected university receives quite a lot of ham that looks very much
like spam, so we are a bit paranoid about false positives).

> Forwarding has proven to be more risky than autoresponses, 
> because agressive ESPs can create a temporary DoS to their sites for the 
> entire server. This is particularly frustrating when the cause is your 
> own user marking a forwarded message as spam.
> On systems that I use but don't manage, autoresponders and forwarding do 
> cause problems, and servers get publicly blacklisted regularly. There is 
> also an increase in volume caused by the backscatter from autoresponses, 
> affecting both bandwidth and storage needs.
> That said, both features can be useful and even justifiable, but have 
> fallen into disfavor due to the problems they cause. RFC 3834 compliance 
> and continual evaluation of your antispam measures will help. 
> Unfortunately, demand for these features often has a political component 
> that can affect you professionally, so only you can decide what's best.

I'm trying to battle the political component. ;) I don't have much to
fear, though, since this appears to be one professor against the IT
department, university board, and so on. That is: my boss understands
that this is a trade-off between a useful feature and a risk of getting
blacklisted... ;)

Thanks for your insight again.

Janne Peltonen <janne.peltonen at>

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