Subject: Re: spam to my list address
To: Ignatios Souvatzis <email@example.com>
From: Ted Lemon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 09/10/2000 11:36:56
There's also the cross-posting problem, but of course that's easily
solvable (e.g., someone might post to freebsd-current and
netbsd-current, and we want to support that). The solution is to
have the mailing list software have a list of mailing lists where if
this is a cross-post to one of those lists, it's allowed. A clever
spammer could figure this out, but I think they mostly do things
automatically, so they probably wouldn't figure it out.
Personally, I think that a person who wants help and isn't willing to
subscribe to the mailing list has a lot in common with a person who
wants to be fed but doesn't want to have to pay, even thought they
have the money. I get this once in a while with DHCP users - they
want to send me private email rather than querying the list, because
it's more convenient for them. They are ignoring the unfortunate fact
that if I have to act for the collective convenience of all the users
who feel this way, the impact on me is much greater than the impact on
any one of them if they simply subscribed and depended on *all* the
readers of the mailing list for help.
I think it's an important goal to be able to make people like this
happy, but that's the sort of goal that you can only achieve if you
have the ability to do thousands of things at once, effortlessly,
which is something that perhaps some of us do not (unfortunately, I
don't seem to have this ability).
In this case, helping one person who is demanding special treatment at
the expense of perhaps hundreds of people who are not seems like it's
harmful for that person, not helpful - it's teaching them that it's
okay to inconvenience lots of others, not even to give them something
they need, but just to help them to avoid getting something that
causes them a very small inconvenience. In this case, the hundreds
are being inconvenienced by receiving spam so that one person can not
receive a small amount of mail that was written with (hopefully!)
useful intent, for some short period of time.
On the third hand (sometimes I wish I had six, like some of those
Indian deities), it's not at all clear to me that it's actually
possible to get this result - as long as the mailing list is scannable
on web pages, people can harvest addresses that way. :'( At the
ISC, we mask email addresses in the web archive to solve this problem,
but I haven't looked to see what the NetBSD archives do.