SPAM from Usenet


#1

It seems the gateway is passing a lot more spam these days.

Looking at my mail headers I see:

Received: from Usenet via a Usenet to mail gateway located at
comp.lang.ruby. This service provided as a courtesy
to the ruby-talk mailing list. If this message is SPAM, its
ultimate origin is Usenet, not this gateway program. All
subscribers to the ruby-talk mailing list agree to receive the
Usenet postings made to comp.lang.ruby via this gateway. Please
see http://www.ruby-lang.org/ruby-talk-usenet-policy.html.

That URL is 404.


#2

On Jun 5, 2009, at 4:30 PM, Eric H. wrote:

It seems the gateway is passing a lot more spam these days.

Yeah, I’m leery to do any detection because I suspect it would become
a maintenance nightmare as posters ask, why was my message blocked?
So, if we want to go that route, we probably need to pass it to a
maintainer with more time to watch over it first.

If we all agree it’s become more of a hinderance than it’s worth, I
can certainly shut it down.

I’m also open to other options.

That URL is 404.
Yeah, that notice has been there since the dawn of time. The link has
never worked on my watch. I’ve just never touched it due to not
knowing the history of it or what is suppose to be there.

James Edward G. II


#3

On Jun 5, 2009, at 14:42, James G. wrote:

On Jun 5, 2009, at 4:30 PM, Eric H. wrote:

It seems the gateway is passing a lot more spam these days.

Yeah, I’m leery to do any detection because I suspect it would
become a maintenance nightmare as posters ask, why was my message
blocked? So, if we want to go that route, we probably need to pass
it to a maintainer with more time to watch over it first.

If we all agree it’s become more of a hinderance than it’s worth, I
can certainly shut it down.

For the record, I wasn’t even considering suggesting this.

see http://www.ruby-lang.org/ruby-talk-usenet-policy.html.

That URL is 404.

Yeah, that notice has been there since the dawn of time. The link
has never worked on my watch. I’ve just never touched it due to not
knowing the history of it or what is suppose to be there.

Could you replace the URL with a contact address, even if it’s just
“Please email removed_email_address@domain.invalid for gateway support”?


#4

On Jun 5, 2009, at 5:17 PM, John W Higgins wrote:

Yeah, I’m leery to do any detection because I suspect it would

ultimate origin is Usenet, not this gateway program. All
never worked on my watch. I’ve just never touched it due to not
to
complain about the spam we all just received? (This email being
Exhibit
A…)

The gateway is a community resource. If they can’t come to us, the
community, for help, where should they go?

I think Eric’s request seems totally reasonable.

If the spam we are getting here increases because users and emailing
us about problems, well that tells us something: the gateway is
annoying people. When that happens, we will need to agree on a
solution to that problem. Right?

James Edward G. II


#5

On Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 3:13 PM, Eric H. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

time to watch over it first.

Yeah, that notice has been there since the dawn of time. The link has
never worked on my watch. I’ve just never touched it due to not knowing the
history of it or what is suppose to be there.

Could you replace the URL with a contact address, even if it’s just “Please
email removed_email_address@domain.invalid for gateway support”?

I have to ask why would we want people sending more spam to the list to
complain about the spam we all just received? (This email being Exhibit
A…)

John


#6

On Jun 5, 6:52 pm, James G. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

If the spam we are getting here increases because users and emailing
us about problems, well that tells us something: the gateway is
annoying people. When that happens, we will need to agree on a
solution to that problem. Right?

I wonder how many people are using Usenet to interface with this list?
If it is few, I wonder if they might be encouraged to use another
service to do so. I know of at least three other interfaces besides
the standard email method, namely Google G., Gmane and Ruby Forum.
Is there some advantage to using Usenet over these other methods?

I manage the Google Group and I try to delete all the SPAM I come
across, so anything that can reduce it is helpful to me.

T.


#7

On Jun 5, 2009, at 5:56 PM, Aaron T. wrote:

maintenance nightmare as posters ask, why was my message blocked?

Well I’ll be the bad guy then. I’d totally suggest that.

Personally, I’m about -> <- close to just sending all email from the
gateway into my trash folder. This is the only list I subscribe to
(about 25) which allows non-members to post without any authentication
or moderator approval. The result is I get much more spam via
ruby-talk then all my other lists combined.

The gateway has been around for many years. It joins the two
communities as one.

I imagine that was more important in the past when there were a much
smaller number of people on both sides. Still, I know some of our
Usenet friends very well by now and would really miss their posts.

Of course, this is obviously a tradeoff. We get some spam due to the
gateway and it seems to be going up. We obviously need to weight
these issues and decide what is important to us.

James Edward G. II


#8

On Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 3:13 PM, Eric H.removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

If we all agree it’s become more of a hinderance than it’s worth, I can
certainly shut it down.

For the record, I wasn’t even considering suggesting this.

Well I’ll be the bad guy then. I’d totally suggest that.

Personally, I’m about -> <- close to just sending all email from the
gateway into my trash folder. This is the only list I subscribe to
(about 25) which allows non-members to post without any authentication
or moderator approval. The result is I get much more spam via
ruby-talk then all my other lists combined.


#9

On Jun 5, 2009, at 5:13 PM, Eric H. wrote:

see http://www.ruby-lang.org/ruby-talk-usenet-policy.html.

That URL is 404.

Yeah, that notice has been there since the dawn of time. The link
has never worked on my watch. I’ve just never touched it due to
not knowing the history of it or what is suppose to be there.

Could you replace the URL with a contact address, even if it’s just
“Please email removed_email_address@domain.invalid for gateway support”?

I’ve made this change as a stop-gap fix while we discuss. See [ruby-
talk: 338535].

James Edward G. II


#10

On Jun 5, 2009, at 7:21 PM, Joshua C. wrote:

Yes, there is a bit of spam getting through, but it is not enough to
annoy me. I just hit ‘report spam’ in my Gmail account and I do not
get any more mail from that user.

Please never do this!

Gateway messages come from a address I setup for the purpose. You are
not reporting the spammer. Instead you are reporting me. Our host
has already threatened to shut the gateway down once due to these
complaints. If the complaint volume increases, we will be forcefully
terminated.

The headers of gated messages point out this detail:

Received: from Usenet via a Usenet to mail gateway located at
comp.lang.ruby. This service provided as a courtesy
to the ruby-talk mailing list. If this message is SPAM, its
ultimate origin is Usenet, not this gateway program. All
subscribers to the ruby-talk mailing list agree to receive the
Usenet postings made to comp.lang.ruby via this gateway. Please
email removed_email_address@domain.invalid for gateway support.

Thanks.

James Edward G. II


#11

Ah, I did not realize that James.

Knowing that, the spam is an issue with me.


#12

Yes, there is a bit of spam getting through, but it is not enough to
annoy
me. I just hit ‘report spam’ in my Gmail account and I do not get any
more
mail from that user.

If I happen to come home one day and I have 25 spam emails due to the
gateway, then I might unsubscribe and use google groups or some other
means
to interact with the community.

Until then, I will just use the spam tools my email provider has. There
are
many more emails I get that are quality than are spam :wink:

JC


#13

On Jun 5, 2009, at 18:49, James G. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

host has already threatened to shut the gateway down once due to
these complaints. If the complaint volume increases, we will be
forcefully terminated.

Is it possible to include the usenet Received headers in gateway
messages? They don’t seem to be there now. (maybe I’m mis-remembering
Usenet.) This might help my spam filter block these messages for me.


#14

On Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 10:24 PM, Eric H.removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Gateway messages come from a address I setup for the purpose. You are not
reporting the spammer. Instead you are reporting me. Our host has already
threatened to shut the gateway down once due to these complaints. If the
complaint volume increases, we will be forcefully terminated.

Is it possible to include the usenet Received headers in gateway messages?
They don’t seem to be there now. (maybe I’m mis-remembering Usenet.) This
might help my spam filter block these messages for me.

I think you can use the “Newsgroups: comp.lang.ruby” header, but
unfortunately, I can’t get gmail to filter on misc headers. :frowning:


#15

On Jun 5, 2009, at 16:19 , James G. wrote:

The gateway has been around for many years. It joins the two
communities as one.

I imagine that was more important in the past when there were a much
smaller number of people on both sides. Still, I know some of our
Usenet friends very well by now and would really miss their posts.

I think it is an unfair assumption that we’ll lose those people’s
posts to the list if we drop the gateway. (most) People are adaptable.


#16

From: “Aaron T.” removed_email_address@domain.invalid

Personally, I’m about -> <- close to just sending all email from the
gateway into my trash folder. This is the only list I subscribe to
(about 25) which allows non-members to post without any authentication
or moderator approval. The result is I get much more spam via
ruby-talk then all my other lists combined.

Hmm.

This is starting to sound partly like a gmail problem.

I’ve used the same email address for 22 years, and I’ve
never made much attempt to shroud the address in any
online posting. As one might expect, I receive a TON
of spam.

But, I proxy all my POP3 email boxes through a local
spam filter, POPFile. ( http://getpopfile.org/ )

Last month, May 2009, I received 50,361 spam emails.
334 got past the filter. (10.77 per day)

Not perfect, but 11 per day is a lot better than 1625
per day. I’m on about 30 different mailing lists,
several POP3 inboxes, etc.

The ruby-talk spam is a drop in the bucket. I suggest
it’s partly a gmail problem, because (apparently)
gmail doesn’t allow any kind of local filtering (being
web-based.)

I.e. go back to POP3 as Al Gore intended! ;D

. . .

As an aside, here’s an idea for a ruby quiz. Start
with a pre-existing Bayesian spam classifier and a
huge corpus of spam messages, and have quiz participants
augment the existing classifier by inventing new methods
of analyzing the kinds of messages that slip through
(such as ones that play HTML/CSS tricks to hide verbiage
intended to fool Bayesian filters, etc.)

Regards,

Bill


#17

On 06.06.2009 08:23, Bill K. wrote:

This is starting to sound partly like a gmail problem.

I think rather not.

I’ve used the same email address for 22 years, and I’ve
never made much attempt to shroud the address in any
online posting. As one might expect, I receive a TON
of spam.

Hehe, sounds as if someone is paying you as a honeypot provider. :slight_smile:

The ruby-talk spam is a drop in the bucket. I suggest
it’s partly a gmail problem, because (apparently)
gmail doesn’t allow any kind of local filtering (being
web-based.)

Actually, IMHO this is wrong for two reasons: first, you can read GMail
via POP or IMAP. Second, GMail’s spam filtering is pretty good and I
believe your spam marks train the filter. I believe at least in theory
a spam filter of a mail provider with web access can be much better than
a local filter because there is more training input.

As an aside, here’s an idea for a ruby quiz. Start
with a pre-existing Bayesian spam classifier and a
huge corpus of spam messages, and have quiz participants
augment the existing classifier by inventing new methods
of analyzing the kinds of messages that slip through
(such as ones that play HTML/CSS tricks to hide verbiage
intended to fool Bayesian filters, etc.)

That sounds more like a competition than a quiz, doesn’t it? The winner
will be the software with least false positives and most identified ham.
:slight_smile:

Cheers

robert


#18

On 06.06.2009 01:06, trans wrote:

On Jun 5, 6:52 pm, James G. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

If the spam we are getting here increases because users and emailing
us about problems, well that tells us something: the gateway is
annoying people. When that happens, we will need to agree on a
solution to that problem. Right?

I wonder how many people are using Usenet to interface with this list?

+1

If it is few, I wonder if they might be encouraged to use another
service to do so. I know of at least three other interfaces besides
the standard email method, namely Google G., Gmane and Ruby Forum.
Is there some advantage to using Usenet over these other methods?

Yes, with NNTP you do not have to download all messages - just those
which you are interested in. Also, my non web based news reader
presents threads much nicer than any web based mail client I am using.
And Google G. does not have a nice interface IMHO (especially for
posting code with indentation).

Having said that I do participate via the email gateway when I don’t
have my mail client with me or when there are access restrictions. But
my preferred gateway to the community is usenet.

Btw, the amount of spam has increased but my NNTP provider as well as
GMail both do a pretty good job at filtering so I am not (yet) annoyed
by the volume.

Kind regards

robert


#19

Actually, IMHO this is wrong for two reasons: first, you can read GMail via
POP or IMAP. Second, GMail’s spam filtering is pretty good and I believe
your spam marks train the filter. I believe at least in theory a spam
filter of a mail provider with web access can be much better than a local
filter because there is more training input.

Additionally you can use the number of people a message is sent to …

Hadley


#20

Le 6 juin 2009 à 11:05, Ryan D. a écrit :

posts to the list if we drop the gateway. (most) People are adaptable.
Well, for my part, I don’t think I could follow and participate to the
list with a mail client (event if I’m very satisfied of my client).

Not that I post that much, mind you, but… :slight_smile:

Fred