In response to my having written,
T> An AOL customer can now block an address in its Mail Controls and then send
T> honest-sounding questions or file server requests to people or daemons that
T> never previously wrote to it and would not be writing to it now except to
T> reply to correspondence initiated by the AOL customer. Then the responses
T> are bounced as rejected. Fun-NEE. I see a lot of potential for abuse here.
Stan Ryckman replied,
R> Well, note that procmail users can do the same thing. It just happens
R> that AOL probably makes it easier to do this (although I've never used the
R> interface, so I can't be sure).
There are *great* difference, and the degree of ease is only the first of
them. Procmail makes it possible to send back rejection notices, but it
takes some effort; it is much easier in procmail just to drop unwanted mail
into /dev/null than to draft a canned rejection notice and fake a bounce.
If a rejection letter is sent by procmail routines, and if there is unneces-
sarily rude language in it, all of that was designed and composed by the end
recipient as an individual, not set up as a whole convenient package and
touted as a service by the recipient's ISP!
Moreover, you are not likely to get into the reject routines (whether they
return your mail or silently dump it into the bit bucket) of a procmail user
when you've never before in your life sent anything to that person and are
merely responding politely to correspondence that he or she initiated. Al-
most all the time the person deciding to bounce or trash your mail will have
told you at least once to stop writing.
But when an AOL customer sets Mail Controls to reject mail from you and then
requests something from your email server or writes to you with what sounds
like an honest question, AOL tells you that YOU made the mistake of sending
unwanted email to their customer ... not caring that their customer initiated
the correspondence and you might never even have written to him or her before.
R> Also, on average (or, more to the point,
R> in the lowest percentiles of cluefulness) AOL users probably are far more
R> clueless than procmail users.
No freaking kidding. AOL is more likely to have people playing with their
Mail Controls settings just because they *can*, not because they have good
reasons to set them a particular way.
I stand by my earlier suggestion: AOL should not permit sending mail to which
replies will be rejected.