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Re: Holy Spam!

On Fri, Oct 03, 2003 at 02:21:20PM -0400, Dan Anderson wrote:
> > So, again, please don't send automatic replies.
> 	Although you may not personally approve of the method it is an accepted
> method of blocking spam.  YMMV and such.  

There certainly is software out there (virus software at least) that
does send automatic replies--my mail folders have ample evidence.  I
don't believe you're correct that this practice is "widely accepted",
but in any case, that's not the right question.  The question is whether
this practice (widely accepted or not) is beneficial.

In fact it is not, because it greatly increases the negative impact of
spam and virus mail (most of which is sent with forged "from" addresses)
by multiplying the amount of useless email that is sent.

It's also worth thinking about what would happen if I did implement the
sort of autoreply-to-unknown-from-addresses scheme you suggest, and if I
ever subsequently received an email with your "from" address.  (You
can't be sure this will never happen--all it takes is for a
correspondant with lax security to get infected with a virus that scans
their inbox for email addresses.)  In this case we'd end up with an
infinite loop.  If a lot of people start using such autoresponders, such
loops will become inevitable.

--Bruce Fields

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