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Re: Last Call: Standard Electronic Mail Addresses For Internet Operations

1996-06-18 18:53:59

        I'm sending this to express very strong support for the draft
document, "Standard Electronic Mail Addresses For Internet Operations".  It
is about time someone codified email addresses for common use on the net
and it's great that Paul did the deed.  This document needs to be published.

        It needs to be published... after undergoing two kinds of changes:

1.      As the title of the document states, it is declaring a standard.
In particular, it specifies classic "protocol" details in that it defines a
basis for interoperability between end-users, namely the rendezvous
information needed to get that interoperability.  This is not merely a
matter of operations practise, but rather of formal, public, and rigorous
definition and registration of mailbox names to be used without special
arrangement.  Is Port 25 only a BCP?  I think not.

        As such, this document needs to be published as a full Internet
standard, not merely as a BCP.  Instead of simply listing a range of
addresses that exist around the net, it should put the imprimateur of
formal definition -- and formal expection and status -- on important
mailbox names.

2.      Unfortunately, some of the addresses in the current document do NOT
represent current practise or they have some (minor) problems.  Also, there
are redundant addresses, without a strong indication of their having
thoroughly entrenched installed bases.

        Some examples that I've noticed, so far are:

        a)  CERT is a (registered) service mark.  Has its use, here, been
authorized by the CERT?

        b)  The POSTMASTER address is for all Internet-accessible
destinations, not only for sites running SMTP.  The distinction is
important, since many sites do not run SMTP at all, but have highly
mediated access to Internet mail, even though their address appears direct,
via MX records.  While the document does cite MX records, elsewhere, it
appears to rely on some fairly subtle comprehension by the reader, to know
that the POSTMASTER support is expected for all sites accessible through
Internet mail.  The document needs to make this more explicit.

        c)  SUPPORT, HELP, INFO, and SALES are listed in a lower status.
In fact they are extremely important and popular to use of the Internet
today and it would be particularly helpful to stress the role of these
addresses (and consider adding a few more, perhaps) with respect to
user/customer interactions with service and business providers.

        d)  What is the requirement for FTP-Admin, redundant with the FTP
mailbox reference?


        I suggest a quick round of discussion to hone down and/or build up
the list, attempting to choose rather than merely list requisite addresses
and attempting to get explicit participation from the community in agreeing
to the choices.  There has been no discussion at all, perhaps because we've
gone so long without a formal standard.  The intent of pursuing formal
standardization is to make explicit the need and desire for open discussion
-- and approval.

        The goal should be for the document to give network administrators
explicit and formal direction as to the addresses they are expected to
implement, as opposed to the addresses that they merely might consider.

        If it will help, I'll offer to pursue this on Paul's behalf.  That
is, lead a month or so of discussion; do document modifications as needed;
but no change in authorship.  (No idealism here, I just figure that
suggesting more work requires offering to help do it.)


Dave Crocker                                              +1 408 246 8253
Internet Mail Consortium                              (f) +1 408 249 6205
127 Segré Place                                          
Santa Cruz, CA  95060 USA                    

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