[FoRK] At what point is email officially broken?

Aaron Burt < aaron at bavariati.org > on > Thu Dec 7 11:49:35 PST 2006

On Thu, Dec 07, 2006 at 09:42:50AM -0800, Jim Whitehead wrote:
> >Why, yes, I got that the first time.  What specifically needs fixing?
> This is trolling for a specific technical recommendation. I don't  
> want to go down that particular path.

I must be mistaken, because I'm reading that as, "It's broken, but I
won't tell you what needs fixing.  But fix it NOW!" 
I'm a young guy, so I got tired of hearing that only about 15 years ago.

I asked because I would like the conversation to advance beyond, "This
useful tool is being abused by someone!  Make it stop!"

> I want to focus on my main point, which is the current email  
> infrastructure is broken in the sense that it permits excessively  
> large amounts of spam. Once there is agreement that the current  
> infrastructure is broken, then we can begin to examine the design  
> space of possible solutions.

We do not have agreement, then.  I don't think it's a difference of
opinions, but a difference of perceptions and paradigms.

> Yes, I did read the document you referenced (http://www.craphound.com/ 
> spamsolutions.txt). One can view it as an attempt to defend the  
> existing infrastructure by pointing out problems in the suggested  
> fixes.

If one were to take an adversarial view of sysadmins, one could.

Actually, it is an attempt to dissuade proponents of the usual
half-baked "solutions" from wasting the time of the folks who are
actually trying to address the problem.  It is also a way to get
interested parties up to speed on the current discussion.

> It doesn't work: even after all of the half-baked solutions  have been
> (rightfully) dismissed, the spam problem is still with us,  and email
> is still slowly dying.

Strange: Email works for me and everyone I know.  Recently, I went from
deleting ~5 spams a day to deleting ~10.  Oh, well, kinda sucks that the
USA is a spammer and botnet free-for-all.  Is it worse for you?

> A more productive way to view (http://www.craphound.com/ 
> spamsolutions.txt) is as a series of goals for a new email  
> infrastructure (avoid these known pitfalls).

I'm grateful that you got my point.

> My point is that eliminating Windows and Outlook would mean that  
> security attacks would start focusing on whatever became the existing  
> dominant platform.

Correct.  And they would have a *much* harder time doing it.

All this talk of elimination.  You can't eliminate any human behavior.
You can only make it less rewarding, more difficult or less harmful.

More information about the FoRK mailing list