At 04:25 PM 7/30/98 -0700, Ronald F. Guilmette wrote:
>Speaking of ``probes'', I have just been dealing with a problem on my end
>that is rather annoying and which seems to be due to some rather glaring
>stupidity on the part of those folks who developed the Listserv package.
>(Is that Lsoft, Inc.?)
Yup (and I'm not speaking for them, but I'm "owner" of a LISTSERV list).
>The problem is that 9apparently) Listserv cane be told (by the list owner)
>to perform some sort of a ``probe'' on a given address which may be bad,
>and it will then go and try to do that.
It can also be told to do this routinely (at least recent versions).
>Now get this... if the probe FAILS... which is to say if the address is
>in fact bad... then it appears that Listserv then tries to send a ``probe
>failed'' message TO THE ADDRESS THAT JUST FAILED!
I think this give the subscriber's system one last chance to have recovered
from one of those "transient permanent" errors.
>No, I'm not making this up.
>That doesn't bother me so much as the WAY in which these idiotic ``probe
>failed'' messages are sent... They appear to be sent with a null/empty
>envelope return address, thus making them (in some ways related to spam
>filtering) indistinguishable from ordinary Mailer-Daemon bounces for mail
>which was sent *from* my system to someplace else.
>It seems to me that this is beyond moronic. Up till now I really believed
>that there were only two uses for null envelope return addresses, i.e. for
>sending back E-mail bounce messages and for spamming.
>If anybody wants to explain to me why my criticisms of Listserv are unfound-
>ed, I'm all ears.
Well, the null envelope return address just means that there is nobody
who cares if the message can be delivered; it can be silently trashed.
It is you who CHOSE to examine mail that said "discard if undeliverable."
Its use predates spamming by decades. True, the most COMMON use is to
avoid "bounce loops."
When LISTSERV probes, it needs the bounce so it can remove the subscriber,
so the probe itself has a non-null envelope return address. Once it has
removed the subscriber, there is nothing more LISTSERV can do unless
the subscriber rejoins by the normal process--so why tell the other system
to generate another bounce, and then discard the bounce? Waste of traffic
on both sides.
LISTSERV generates null envelope return addresses for other messages as well.
I believe an example of this may be a request to search an archive. If the
search results can't reach the requestor, LISTSERV can do nothing with
bounced search results.
Maybe you disagree with the probe process or the "probe failed" message
or the fact that it now happens to fall in your "mis-addressed spam" pile...
but it hardly seems deserving of the term "beyond moronic."
That's my opinion, anyway.