Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(November 1997)

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Subject: netcom bogus email addresses [user@[internal]]
From: Ken Dykes <kgdykes @ Thinkage . On . CA>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 1997 11:51:15 -0500 (EST)
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com

the answer netcom customer support gave you about your address showing
up in the form of username@[internal-machine-name] is so
full of bullshit, i'm amazed such a tall pile of crap hasnt toppled on them.

i'm going to forward this discussion to the Mailing-List Managers discussion
list to see what they think.  Perhaps i'm naively out-to-lunch in believing
that email addresses should be consistent and replyable.

ask her (Lucy) to spell out "which headers" rather than saying obliquely
"the headers" such vague non-specific answers are the bastion
of help desks that know not what is going on.

my software will give priority to "Reply-To" over "From".   but your messages
do not have Reply-To (or at least your message today did not).
and if it happens to be the "Return-Path:" header she refers, then she
is smoking good shit. That is not a header for client software to use.

Her implication that it is the mailing-list software at fault is
nasty at best. standard unix berkeley Mail and other mail client programs
will use that same *useless* address from netcom if you do a 'reply' email

secondly her implication that there is 'nothing they can do' about it is
shear raving bunny doodoo.  address rewriting at the gateway is done commonly
all over the world to make addresses conform to a company-standard rather than
reflect the internal topology of a private network.

thirdly, they are in violation of an RFC or two about email and the internet.
those very same random internal-machine addresses are NOT REPLYABLE and get
bounced emails if they are used for replies.  All email injected into
the internet is supposed to have a replyable address.

And to put the ONUS onto the innocent naive users of their service to
configure a proper "Reply-To" address is also fecal. their software should
test for the presence of the Reply-To, and if it is not there, then their
gateway software should add/generate a valid one -- assuming their
claim/belief that such a header is *so* necessary has any basis in reality.

leave netcom. their incompetence is overshadowing AOL.
hell, i'll even suspend my ban on aol subscriptions if you wish
to use aol.


>Message-ID: <>
>Date: Mon, 03 Nov 1997 19:15:21 -0800
>From: Some User <>
>MIME-Version: 1.0
>To: Ken Dykes - Immoderator <hogreq>
>Subject: Ken - Care to comment on this?
>Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="------------34126ED74F67"
>This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
>I have been bitching at Netcom to try and get them to straighten out
>their problems with return addresses.  I received this today.  Thought
>you might like to comment on this.  Feel free to respond direct to
>Netcom as well.
>Content-Type: message/rfc822
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
>Content-Disposition: inline
>Return-Path: <>
>Message-Id: <>
>Subject: Re: NETCOM announcement
>To: (Some User)
>Date: Mon, 3 Nov 1997 21:18:43 -0800 (PST)
>In-Reply-To: <> from "Some User" at Nov 2, 97 06:49:54 pm
>From: (NETCOM Technical Support)
>Some User writes:
>> Return-Path: <>
>> Message-ID: <>
>> Date: Sun, 02 Nov 1997 18:49:54 -0800
>> From: Some User <>
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: NETCOM announcement
>> References: <>
>> wrote:
>> > 
>> > 
>> > Dear Netcom Customer,
>> > 
>> > We are pleased to inform you that Netcom has entered into a merger
>> > agreement with ICG Communications, Inc...
>> Great, now tell me when you're going to fix the problem with outgoing
>> email addresses and I'll care.
>> or
>> or
>> or
>> or
>> ?  which is it today?
>Dear Some,
>Thank you for contacting NETCOM Technical Support. 
>Your email address should be as you listed above:
>Some mailing lists have a problem with the NETCOMplete account system. 
>This stems from how the mailing list attributes a message to a subscribed
>The NETCOMplete mail server is actually a collection of several different
>machines.  This means that in the headers, it will list one of the
>machines which actually sent the message.  All mail messages are still
>listed with a return address of, though.
>The problem comes with how the mailing list check the sender's address. 
>Rather than looking at the return path of the message which would be the
>, the list may take the actual name of the system
>that sent the message and attributes this to the senders username making
>The is different then the member list for
>authorization to send the message out.  As a result, it will bounce the
>message back.  NETCOM cannot correct this in any way.  It is typically
>necessary for the mailing list administrator to adjust how it reads the
>senders email address. 
>This problem can also occur in some third party email applications when a
>return address is not specified by the sender. Please check to be sure
>that you have a return address specified in your preferences area of your
>mail client.
>If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to
>contact us again.
>- Lucy 
>           _     _
>          |_|_  |_|   Email Technical Support 
>         _  |_|_      NETCOM On-Line Communication Services, Inc.
>        |_|  _|_|  
>            |_|       
>                      24-Hour Technical Support:  (408) 881-1810

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