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Re: sigh, and double oops

2001-06-08 08:24:42
On  7 Jun, David W. Tamkin wrote:
| Well, that was a waste of time.  Kuszaj screwed up his procmail recipes and
| managd to bounce his copy of my correction of my earlier advice for him with
| a "you dirty spammer" autoreply to me, so he never saw it.  Probably everyone
| else who has posted to this list has gotten one of his nastygrams.
| So he won't get any benefit from my attempt to help him [perhaps someone else
| here will and it won't have been a total waste] and frankly, I feel that any-
| one who uses procmail to autoreply that mail is spam doesn't deserve help. 
| It's all right to use it to shunt mail that seems to be spam out of the way
| of other mail; it's all right to use it to delete mail that reeks of spam-
| mishness [just don't be too aggressive, because all automated methods have
| false positives]; but autoreplying to mail that might be spam is guaranteed
| to do the wrong thing almost every time.

This response is with some anticipated regret for the can of worms it
can open. The merits (or lack thereof) of bounces and auto-replys to
spam have been beaten to death, and probably without ever changing a
single mind. I just want to point out that David doesn't even need to
draw a "moral" conclusion here about autoreplying to spam to condemn
this behavior. Autoresponses to lists and, by obvious extension,
directly to list respondents are *always* indefensible.  Period.  There
are arguments against this behavior on so many levels, and nary a one
in favor. People who do so should be thrown off the list after a *very*
limited number of warnings. I find it more offensive than list spammers
because at least list spammers aren't pretending to be part of the

David is also right in his conclusion that autoresponses to spam are
"guaranteed to do the wrong thing almost every time". Bounces might be
debatable, but not autoresponses AFAICT. There is virtually no chance
that an autoresponse gets to the spammer unless they're a total moron.
It either goes to someone unintended and undeserving as in this case, or
it bounces because the recipient (i.e. From: in the original spam)
doesn't exist, or it goes to a true innocent bystander because From: in
the spam is a real person who had *nothing* to do with it. Autoresponses
to spam are fairly obviously *not* part of any solution.

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