Email System Model
I'm splitting this off as a separate topic, so we don't distract from
the discussion on email-arch. In this thread, I welcome discussion of
the validity of the model at http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Email_system.
This model is focused on what happens at the administrative level in one
transit through the Mail Handling System, but it can easily extend to
systems involving multiple transits. To model the situation Austin
describes, I would put two "one-transit" models in series.
Author ==> MSA/Transmitter --> / --> Receiver/MDA ==> Mediator
Mediator ==> MSA/Transmitter --> / --> Receiver/MDA ==> Author
The Mediator is a separate user-level Actor, even if it is automated.
The final Recipient is the original Author.
I'm not sure if I fully understand Austin's concern, so I don't know if
more elaboration of the model will help. A model is only as good as its
ability to clarify real-world systems, helping with questions like "What
happens if ...", or "How should I ...".
Cheney, Austin wrote:
One difference that I see is an inferred conceptual implementation that
is explicitly not presumed in your model, while being completely
unmentioned or challenged in David Crocker's models. This inferred
conceptual implementation is that a mail server is a mediator in the
communication process between author and intended recipient, but a mail
server can become an participant if were acting as an application
Let me demonstrate this in the model of software as a service. Suppose
I were communicating with a known destination, such as a retailer, who
receives and replies to mail as an automated application system. At the
same time another content application system is installed on the local
mail server of this intended recipient that is capable of intercepting
communications, making decisions upon those communication, and sending
automated responses that beg further communication from the initial
author. In this model application programming and scripting can be
running in response to human supplied communications from the
originating author, while those same applications can also be relaying
data relevant only to the distant end to the intended recipient for
status responses and session content details.
In that model the mail server of the distant end transforms from a
mediator to an intermediate responding agent. Such a model could allow
things such as cloud computing or ecommerce. It is not practiced by
anybody, because a definable characteristic that is uniformly described
and universally understood would have to exist in the content to provide
such a hook for application engagement.
So, in summary, a mail transfer agent MUST NOT be presumed to be
separate from a designated point of intended receipt. Crocker's models
do not mention or challenge this concept, but your model does imply such