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Subject: Administrivia


From: Walter Henry <consdist-request>
Date: Friday, November 5, 2004
With increasing regularity, sites with over-zealous spam/profanity
filters are rejecting DistList mailings, bouncing a (usually
useless) message back to me. When this happens I send a message to
the tech contact at that site, saying

    The message your system rejected was a Conservation DistList
    mailing, a professional communication concerning conservation of
    museum material. The Cc'd users have subscribed to this list.
    Can you tell me what triggered your filter? I will be happy to
    send you a copy of the mailing if one is not appended below

    Is it possible for you to whitelist Conservation DistList
    messages (I can provide headers for your filter to match on)? If
    not, I fear this will recur and I will have to remove all your
    users from the list.

In a few cases the tech people at these sites have been very
responsive and we've quickly worked out a solution to the problem.
However in far more cases, (a) the problem continues unabated, (b)
there is no response from the tech contact at all, or (c) the above
message itself is itself rejected, making it impossible even to
report the problem. Note that I'm not talking about forged messages
from virii/worms/trojans that pretend to be from the DistList (and
everybody else in creation; I'm talking about ordinary DistList
mailings that are being sent in the same way as they have been for
nearly 18 years. In the cases where we've been able to identify what
text triggered the filter, the causes have consistently been
ludicrous (my favourite examples of perfectly ordinary latin words
that the filters think are obscene--unfortunately I can't write them
here or the filters won't deliver this message!)

In any case, this situation is causing an inordinate--and
growing--amount of wasted work for me (which is reflected in the
lower frequency of DistList mailings that you've been seeing lately.

So, effective *immediately*, any site rejecting a DistList mailing
as spam will receive one and only one message (like the one above)
and if I don't receive a timely response, all the users from that
site will immediately be removed from the DistList.

If you are at a site that has a filtering system that is known to
produce a lot of false positives (Novell's GWAVA seems to one of the
worst), please speak with your technical staff about ways to avoid
this happening. I am always more than happy to work with postmasters
and others to help them in diagnosing and fixing problems like this,
but I can only do that if they respond.

Now, as is probably obvious, the current DistList instance will
probably not reach some group of registrants and they'll not see
this message. All I can hope they'll write to me or see this message
in the archives.


                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:21
                 Distributed: Tuesday, November 9, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-21-001
Received on Friday, 5 November, 2004

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