[Molvis-list] Drop in use of this list

Dan Bolser dmb at mrc-dunn.cam.ac.uk
Thu Sep 7 19:41:06 EDT 2006

Timothy Driscoll wrote:
> On Sep 7, 2006, at 12:09 PM, Dan Bolser wrote:
>> Timothy Driscoll wrote:
>>> On Sep 7, 2006, at 10:58 AM, Dan Bolser wrote:
>>>> How much spam gets through the members list? (Or is this an  
>>>> 'anyone  can post' list?)
>>> howdy,
>>> this list is live-moderated (which means a moderator must approve   
>>> every message before it is broadcast, and every subscription  
>>> request  before it is activated). our policy is that only  
>>> subscribers are  allowed to post. occasionally, we will allow a  
>>> relevant post from a  non-subscriber; however, this is strongly  
>>> discouraged because it is  extra work for the moderators.   
>>> especially since...
>>> the amount of spam sent to the list has risen dramatically in the   
>>> past few months.  fortunately, such messages are manually  
>>> identified  and discarded before they hit the list, so nobody is  the 
>>> wiser  (except the moderators, who like to complain about that  sort 
>>> of  thing ;-).
>> So if I understand correctly, the spam spoofs the identity of  people 
>> on the list in order to get round the 'members only'  restriction?
> no, this has never happened (not yet, at least).  it is spam from non- 
> subscribers that is sent to the list address.  (recall that if an  email 
> address is available anywhere on the Web, it can be spammed.)   so 
> generally, we discard any posting from a non-subscriber.  I can  not 
> recall ever receiving spam from the spoofed email of a list  subscriber.
> this is why we request that you subscribe before posting.  otherwise,  
> it is extra work for us to actually read your message before  
> broadcasting it.
>> If this is the case, you could simply ask people to moderate their  
>> own posts by generating an email to the sender allowing them to  
>> confirm that they really did want to post something to the list. If  
>> the reply address of the email is different from the apparent  sender 
>> address, then you can simply kill the mail and send a  notification to 
>> the reply address.
> this is not necessary as of the current setup; moderation lets us  tell 
> the 'real' posts from the spam - and eases the burden on the  poster.
>> Anyway, the point I am coming round to is that I don't like  moderated 
>> lists ;-)
> no worries; I sympathize.
>> I think they put people off posting. I am sure there are 10's of  
>> people ready to reply immediately saying that they are not put off  
>> posting by moderators, but is is just those people who are put off  
>> who are the least likely to reply.
>> Maybe this extra layer of security would only reduce posting still  
>> further, but clicking 'reply/send/delete' would not be much harder  
>> than clicking 'delete' on the existing 'your email is in a queue'  
>> auto reply.
> moderation is the only thing between you (all list subscribers) and  
> another 4-6 spam messages per day. :-)  in this case, it is the least  
> intrusive method for keeping the list spam-free.
> keep in mind that we do not moderate for content - in fact, it is the  
> rare message from a subscriber that I read before broadcasting.   
> usually we can tell from the sender and subject line if it is a real  
> post or spam.
> hopefully that puts your mind at ease somewhat. ;-)

No - I still don't understand. If the list *is* subscriber only (which I 
think it perfectly reasonable) why do we need a moderator to filter spam?

If the list automatically rejects email from non subscribers, and the 
spammers are not spoofing the email addresses of those who are 
subscribed, what is the point in having a moderator?

You seem to be saying that the list is not *strictly* 'subscriber only', 
and to allow for the odd non-subscriber to post you create a heap of 
extra effort and incur a delay on every post, only to encourage people 
to subscribe in the first place!

You said "this is why we request that you subscribe before posting. 
otherwise,  it is extra work for us to actually read your message before 
broadcasting it."

I guess you mean "we politely request", and not "we strictly require"?

In the latter case, what is the problem, and in the former case, what is 
the point?

I am not worried about my email being moderated for content. That can be 
a useful system when required. What bothers me is the needless 
restriction and time delay for posting. The moderators on this list do 
an excellent job of minimizing the delay of posts and in keeping things 
running smoothly - but the delay is still a delay, and in my opinion 
moderators (friendly or not) deter people from posting.

Perhaps I am just overly sensitive to this kind of thing, and I need to 
calm down and learn to be more patient. However, I think it is a big 
burden for you to take on given that the benefit is minimal (I would 

How many non spam, non subscriber posts does the list receive? What is 
that number as a ratio? How much time do you spend deleting spam 
directed at this list and allowing through posts from subscribers?

Why can't you make subscriber posts automatic and only moderate non 
subscriber posts? Seeing as spoofing has *never* occurred, this would 
seem the most appropriate action to take, given that you only request 
and not require that people subscribe.



> best,
> tim
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