I don't like this mailing list spammer any more than anybody else.
I expect I'll take some heat for some of the comments here, but it's been
a very long week. Being a person that has had about 100 lists hit by this
bozo, he really ticks me off. After having a couple days to look back
at the overall situation though, I'm finding it rather funny.
I'm not saying I like, agree with, or anything else that might make
anyone think this is OK, but...
1. Consider what people get almost every day in their snail mail box.
What is the percentage of stuff that you keep vs the stuff
that hits the circular file?
The amount of energy and resources used by this are
substantially smaller. Hitting the "d" key vs burning trees.
How many people complaining are as vocal about getting yet another
piece of junk paper mail.
2. Sit back and read some of the replies that people have sent to this spam.
I have quite a number of mailing lists that are made up of non-computer
literate people. Some of their expectations and replies are off the
wall. I've considered a few for rec.humor, but decided against it
since those of us involved probably all have similar messages.
3. Look at what the years and mega-dollars of testing and building the
internet have brought us. If the founding groups would have imagined
the green-card lawyers, romance.in.russia, and 17th floor as
possibilities when they started, where would we be now. Their view
and current reality are quite different.
Let's face it. The form and function of the net as we knew it has and is
continuing to change. We are currently in a position where there are tons
of things still operating from the "old-school" of the net. The "old-school"
being when there were not groups of people at every major site specializing
in network or computer security. That sort of stuff was left to the "bankers".
Now, anybody with access to a PC can be on the net. We are not just a
research project any more, but something that can be accessed by kids,
spammers, grandparents, mechanics, gang-members, laywers, you name it. No
longer is there an understanding of respect for others at the fingertips of
every user connected. Now for a few dollars people feel they have bought the
"right" to do what they want. I'm not saying that this spammer is in that
class, but I sure there is a copy-cat lined up that will.
Now is the time when many things that we are taking for granted are needing to
change. List restrictions, user verification/identification, etc. In many
cases we still need to support the old while attempting to move on to newer
things. For example, there are still mailers out there that reformat into 80
column data, live with bang-path addresses, or have 7 character restrictions on
list or file names. How can we expect to implement form and function changes
and still be backwards compatible. It's going to take time and enough backing
from the community that makes it be a standard to the point where we can
be unconcerned with the minority that is left. The problem is that WE are
still changing as well. We move from version 1 to 2 to 3 rather quickly.
At some point, we need to say that version 1 is no longer acceptable as
a minimum, but how LONG till that time comes. The machine I bought just
a couple years ago isn't even capable of running several of the current
systems that I'd like it to. It still does what I wanted it to do at that
time, but I don't like being left behind. I also don't like being in debt
to the hardware vendor.
I guess after saying all of that, what I think we need to do is work on
getting some new standards in place, implementing the tools to make use
of those standards, and then hope that they will be put into practice
before our kids are dealing with these same problems. These are going to
need to be standards that will work. We have seen several attempts at
these in the past, but they have not become part of everyday system
installs. Until the minimum becomes a level that will prevent this type of
spammer from getting though, I think we will continue to see this problem.
For another example of spamming, take a look in usenet now. Someone
determined that the anti-spammers could be circumvented by changing the
posting info for each message. Same content in each message, just a different
(garbage)message-id string, from line, and subject.