[Nottingham] Tux Games Antispam - Your message is being held

Andy Smith andy at lug.org.uk
Tue Dec 11 13:40:45 GMT 2007

Hi Duncan,

On Tue, Dec 11, 2007 at 11:01:01AM +0000, Duncan John Fyfe wrote:
> On Mon, 2007-12-10 at 16:19 +0000, Andy Smith wrote: 
> > But expecting the world to do your antispam work for you and not
> > giving a toss when your software backscatters onto uninvolved
> > parties is something that should be allowed to pass unchallenged?
> What you sent was abuse.  It was not a challenge.

We'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

> > Have you ever heard the phrase "think globally, act locally"?  
> > 
> > 
> > On
> > the Internet you *cannot* just do "what works for you", 
> Obviously you failed to think of this when you sent your first response.
> Sending abusive spam may have helped you vent your spleen but the result
> of your selfish act was shit that sticks on all of us as a community.

Can we stick to the subject of C/R?

> >   It isn't the things that C/R does inside the
> > recipient's system that are objectionable, it's the fact that it
> > then sends automated mail back out in abusive ways.  It's not
> > something you can just shrug and say "his system, his rules".
> Actually, yes I can.  It is part of freedom.  If I wish freedom for
> myself then I have to give it to others.  That means people making
> decisions and taking actions I disagree with.   It is "his system, his
> rules", it is not a democracy where we get to vote on how he runs it.
> Just as on "my system, my rules" and I decide how I react to his
> response.

If you truly believe that a "my system, my rules" policies extends
to allowing someone to send mails out to uninvolved persons with C/R
challenges in them, then why does the same "my system, my rules"
policy not allow a spammer to send mail in the first place?

> Whether what he has done is "selfish, abusive and clueless" is a
> question of social acceptability amongst the people he is interacting
> with.

Agreed; that body of people is in fact the entire email-using
Internet since he has no control over who will receive his
C/R challenges.  The spammers control that by choosing whose
addresses they forge when sending spam to him.

> That community is larger than you and this LUG.


> Who knows, maybe amongst his community as a whole what he is doing
> is perfectly acceptable.  I'll certainly throw in my 2p worth but
> I'm not arrogant enough to presume I can speak on their behalf.

Logic dictates the answer.

> > I'm not avoiding the fact that internet email has severe problems.
> > I also don't see how that fact means you can set up something else
> > which is selfish, abusive and clueless and then throw your hands up
> > saying "they're both as bad as each other!" (which they aren't, but
> > even if they were, where's the logic?)
> Just because a system has flaws does not make it broken beyond use.

When they are this serious I argue that it does, and I am not alone.

> The degree to which we tolerate the use and consequences of flawed
> and broken systems does not revolve around technical or logical
> arguments but around social and economic issues.
> You have decided C/R is the devil incarnate and devised a religious
> mantra to strengthen your resolve - chanting "C/R is selfish, abusive and 
> clueless" is not a reasoned or logical argument.  It is an emotive 
> response.

Nope they're just facts, which have already been elaborated on.
Whether you accept them or not is up to you.

> You have also decided that email works well enough for you to 
> tolerate the problems inherent in the system without attaching the same 
> emotive baggage.
> Michael has decided C/R has some merit despite the problems it poses.
> His use case, his decision.

"Spammers have decided that their trade has merit, despite the
obvious downsides.  Their use case, their decision."

There are plenty of ideas that are just wrong, on technical and/or
ethical basis.

> > > To convince someone like Michael (Simms) to move away from a C/R system
> > > (or away from windows, outlook or any other "bad" system) someone is
> > > going to have to be able to demonstrate an alternative (better) system
> > > that solves *their* problem - not the problem you think they have.
> > 
> > He wrote it!  If he did that and then watched it backfire onto the
> > list, and presumably watches his logs as it sends out crap to people
> > who never even contacted him and *still* isn't going to change his
> > view then what real hope is there?
> ROTFL.  His system misfires once in three years and you want it declared
> a failure ?

Are you sure you understand technically how C/R works?  It fails
every time he receives spam from a forged address that happens to
belong to a real person, since then the real person receives his
challenge.  If that person was unlucky enough to be forged into a
whole spam run instead of one email then they may be receiving a
great deal of C/R challenges all in different formats from all the
different C/R vendors.

Sending challenges to mailing lists on list mail is just one
failing of this particular piece of software, but C/R in general
cannot avoid the one I described in the previous paragraph.  Cannot.
As in there is no way to ever avoid it no matter how good a coder
you are.  That's what I've meant by "inherent".

> Anyone with an open mind recognises the value of other opinions 
> even if one cannot understand how they reached them from the same evidence.

I have yet to see evidence of how this particular implementation of
C/R fixes the inherent problems of C/R.  As far as I and a lot of
other people are aware, they are impossible to fix.  If the author
thinks differently, he should publish because it will shock a large
number of people.

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