September 20th, 2007

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11:26 am - if I could declare a national event, it would be
... national spam awareness day.

I am so freaking sick of users who first do stupid shit and then want to argue with you about it though they haven't got the slightest idea of what running a mailserver is like. The same user that gets 50x the volume of spam of any other user on that domain is the user that whines to you because, hey, surprise surprise, s/he gets spam. More often than not, that is also the same user that whines to you when their idiot friends who use mail clients that embed advertisements at the bottom of every email get their shit blocked. And don't think that same user won't argue with you about whether or not Vipul's Razor is what blocked one particular worthless email somebody sent them, despite the fact that until the beginning of the conversation they never heard the term and ten minutes later they'll have forgotten it again. Oh no. That user will immediately tell you how a collaborative filtering agent triggering from embedded ads can't be the problem because their OTHER idiot friend with the half-page sig block is also getting their mail bounced. Um, yes, genius, that's exactly right. Your idiot friend is sending one line of content and twenty lines of boilerplate non-information; what exactly do you think filtering agents are designed to DETECT in the first place? Large quantities of mass communicated non-information. Hello?

And, finally, that same user is going to be the user who thinks that the five spams a day that make it to their inbox are just awful and appalling and can't understand why you can't just "do something about it." Yeah my heart fucking bleeds for you having to look at those five fat pill spams, after my server had to invest all the work in automatically filtering 83 more that also arrived for you this morning. But of course those five you saw are the only ones that happened. And of course the fact that you sign up for EVERY GODDAMN WEIGHT LOSS NEWSLETTER IN THE WORLD regardless of how fly-by-night and shady it is has nothing to do with anything. Neither does you registering using your unobfuscated email address on ten different fat forums with the address displayed on every single post you ever make. No, obviously it is something *I* am doing wrong that makes OMG FIVE SPAMS JUST TODAY make it into your inbox whereas your coworkers got none and neither did I, even though I've been using the same email address for ten fucking years now.

Odds are even pretty good that that same user actually BUYS fatass pills from some of the spam s/he gets. But, you know, again it's not his/her fault. Why doesn't my email just goddamn work. Why do I get so much spam. Why do I sometimes not get mail from people. Email is simple, how come the people who run it never get it right. Woe.

So, yes, in my perfect world I'd like to just have every single mailserver admin turn off all spam filtering and just deliver EVERYTHING right to the inbox for a day.

Since midnight on one of my mailservers:

48,969 SMTP connections blocked by rblsmtpd
4,374 spam mails filtered by spamassassin
1,329 phishing/malware mails filtered by clamav
2,661 messages delivered to local users

Welcome to my fucking world.

Current Mood: angry

(9 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture] From: lauracroft
Date: September 20th, 2007 - 05:46 pm
HA! Jimbo! You're basically saying you wish for users not to be users. Fat chance!!!

At Hopkins, I had a user, a very sweet but somewhat dimwitted church-type lady, plead to me to give her a completely different email address because of all the spam that got through to her that deeply offended her sensibilities. She wasn't being a jerk about it - the spam, much of which was quite obscene, really offended her. I explained to her about signing up for ANYTHING with her work address and she insists, no, no, she never gave her work email address out to any web site, never... oh, wait, she says, ' well.....I did sign up for publisher's clearing house' (and then getting excited) 'I thought I was going to win a million dollars!' (laughs). Hm. Good job lady. So about giving out your work address.....

I explained to her that anyone outside the hospital with her previous contact information would not be able to reach her if we changed it and does she have a full and complete rolodex of all her contacts that may need it, which of course she doesn't. So defeated, she accepts it. A few weeks later I get the same call - I think we had this conversation 3 or 4 times.....

And yes, organizations spend astronomical amounts of money and man hours on SPAM filtering. It's crazy! Those users just don't know...

From: (Anonymous)
Date: September 20th, 2007 - 06:39 pm

[User Picture] From: discogravy
Date: September 21st, 2007 - 12:19 am

From: (Anonymous)
Date: September 21st, 2007 - 02:22 pm

[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: September 21st, 2007 - 02:34 pm
spam isn't for eatin', spam is just for killin'.

[User Picture] From: scarlett723
Date: September 20th, 2007 - 10:25 pm
I hate it when my coworkers complain about the volume of spam in their junk box (how hard is it to hit the empty junk button) and that they get 3 messages in their inbox. I also feel bad when they call our sys admin (offsite who we pay hourly at $70/hr) to complain about it. And no, they don't believe me when I say, just delete it and deal with it. I can't tell you how many thousands this nonprofit has probably wasted on stupid computer problems.

[User Picture] From: marys_second
Date: September 21st, 2007 - 01:02 am
I wish it wouldn't be counterproductive to declare one day a year when the sysadmins could let all the spam through just to give users like her a truly graphic demonstration of how insignificant those few messages are.

[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: September 21st, 2007 - 05:16 am
Cry havoc! I say. I'm sick and fucking tired of people saying shit like "email is simple, why can't it just work" to me.

You'd be amazed how often I even hear people saying things like "spam isn't so bad" and "I don't understand why they put such harsh sentences on spammers". What the fuck.

Hate people.

[User Picture] From: handofme
Date: September 22nd, 2007 - 12:44 am
Oh come on we love your little users becose there squisse and nice and know much more about computers then us who acctualy work all day at fixing and maintaining them.

[User Picture] From: clme
Date: September 23rd, 2007 - 09:33 am
Ah... email. To most users the most important part of using a computer. Their billing system could be down, their web browser may crash, and their mother could be on fire but as long as they have email they'll cope and find a way to get through the day.

God help us all if that email doesn't work though.

A: "Hey I got a phone call about people not getting my emails!"
B: "Yeah... didn't you get the group voicemail message stating that internet would be down all day?"
A: "Right, but it didn't say ANYTHING about email!"
B: "Ok... who are you emailing? I'm leaving the office in a bit and I can send something on your behalf"
A: "Oh, nevermind... not that important after all..."

Oh yeah. I've learned when the average (non-management) user complains to me about something stupid I can normally just ask "Why" or "Who" and the problem suddenly goes away. Amazing! No one wants to tell I.T. that they're spending all day emailing their husband/wife/lover/spam list because they like to pretend no one sees their email but them. Besides, they can just turn their 2 hours a day of personal phone calls into three hours while the internet is down!


Anyway... here is a link to a story that a much, much earlier conversation with jim inspired me to record for prosperity:

[User Picture] From: clme
Date: September 28th, 2007 - 03:00 am
I like the idea of a spam awareness day...

I'm just scared that if it came to pass then there would be one day a year where there was 10 times the already insane amounts of spam in retaliation (or, alternately, in celebration of everyone having filters off).

Plus, can you imagine the spam emails from people that were telling people what to buy in preparation for spam day? "Spam day is coming! Be prepared! Click here!"

I'm a cynic, I know. I'm afraid spam awareness day is just going to have to have Hallmark-style mainstream backing in order to get out there without causing significantly more damage than it prevents.

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