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spam avoidance (was Re: cpu speed problem)

Aaron Konstam:
>>> I have a terrible urge to send replies to your private address even
>>> if they are rejected. 

>> You can go right ahead, but yahoo deletes mail sent to it without some
>> magic words in the subject line.  ;-)  I know nothing about the mail it
>> deletes.  I get zero spam from the list, that way.

Aaron Konstam:
> Spamassassin removes spam very effectively.

In my experience, it's rather bad.  I see quite a few false positives,
and a lot of spam getting through.  It can be trained better, but that's
hard for me to do if I run it where it needs to be run - on the (remote)
mailserver, hosted by someone else who only give me limited control.
Most of the un-marked spam that I see rarely has enough points to
qualify, so it's hard to train effectively, anyway.  I've yet to see a
hosted mail server doing spam assassin well.  There probably are some
expensive ones that manage it, but I'm not going to use an expensive
mail service.

This is a fundamental issue with using something like spam assassin:

It needs to be run on the SMTP server, as an INPUT filter, so that spam
gets refused before entry, with a notification as part of the SMTP
transaction.  That way, the sender (the actual sender, not just the
address in the "from" header) gets notified that the message wasn't
accepted, and a genuine sender can try again in a manner that doesn't
get rejected (e.g. without HTML, or an attachment, or other things).
Otherwise, if they're not told, they think you got their mail, and they
didn't.  That's a serious problem if you try to conduct any business
through e-mail.

If you run it locally, your external SMTP server has already accepted
the mail, it's too late to reject it.  People who mailed you and
accidentally got filtered out as spam have no idea.  And, you have to
filter a lot of mail yourself.  Not to mention having to check the junk
mailbox, yourself, which defeats the purpose of running an anti-spam

> In my fedora-list folder I have never seen a spam message. Your
> solution to my mind is overkill and somewhat impolite.

I take the usenet approach.  This is a list, reply to the list, in
general.  It's not personal mail, and I don't expect personal mail.
Well, not out of the blue.  Occasionally I get someone asking if they
can mail me privately, and I'll oblige unless I see no point in it.

I've used internet mailing lists for about ten years now, and BBS ones
before that.  Apart from the annoying spam, I found that you'd get
private mail from time to time from some cretin who'd got a bee in their
bonnet about something, and goes into a personal attack the likes of
which they'd never dare do in public.  It wouldn't have to be someone
that you'd had an argument with, some people go off their rope for no
apparent reason.

It was that sort of thing, even more than spam, that made me decide to
join this list in this manner.

There's a few other pains that are near the top of my mailing list
aggrevations, too:  People sending vacation auto-replies to lists with
hundreds of members.  People using a challenge/reponse anti-spam system
on their mailing list subscriptions.  Those who do those stupid things
deserve a few hundred replies back from the list members.  I belive the
traditional Unix response is a multi-megabyte core dump.

[tim bigblack ~]$ uname -ipr i686 i386

Using FC 4, 5, 6 & 7, plus CentOS 5.  Today, it's FC7.

Don't send private replies to my address, the mailbox is ignored.
I read messages from the public lists.

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