Subject: Re: Spam [Was: Newbie: floating point optimization]
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 20 Jan 2004 03:26:58 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Don Geddis
| But there is a "tragedy of the commons" problem here.

  More than this, the problem is that e-mail is like the commons.

| Even if a few of the spammers were sufficiently smart, it would take
| global cooperation for them all to limit their volume.

  Nah, the sufficiently smart would simply not spam.

  One of the most bizarrely unpleasant things that happened when I got online at the new ISP was all the spam that is evidently
  being sent with a return address of <junk>  The default
  setting for the postmaster account was a catch-all, so I got to see
  hundreds of returned messages from mailer-daemons around the world
  that rained down on the server in the first few hours of operation
  alone.  It was really very depressing.  But what can one man do?  I
  had to turn off the catch-all function and live in ignorant bliss, at
  least signalling to other postmasters that was not the true
  origin of the messages that got bounced.

  Since I got this service online on 2004-01-08, and the word started to
  spread around the DNS, the spamfilter has killed 446 messages just to
  my mailbox and 190 messages with viruses attached.  This is an address
  that was down for 9 months, but is now in its 10th year, and it shows:
  There are still spammers who send mail to messages-IDs dating back to
  1994, and the SGML mailboxes continue to receive lots and lots of junk
  despite being discontinued in 1996.  It is about one third of what my
  1987-vintage University of Oslo address receives, but still, I'm quite
  impressed with the persistance of these drooling idiots.

  But speaking of mail, I got a tremendous amount of mail after I popped
  my head in here barely a week ago, and between cleaning up the spam
  and other stuff, it has taken me a week to respond to all of it.  If
  you sent me mail and have not received a response by now, it might
  have been marked as spam and deleted.  I would like to know if this
  actually happened, so would you please try again?  Thanks.

  What worried me most about the spam was whether had been
  blacklisted (for other reasons than disliking my flames and stuff :),
  but this appears not to have happened, but it's kind of hard to tell.
  If anyone sent me mail and it failed to get delivered, please consider
  re-sending it to  Again, thanks.

  I keep wondering what's wrong with the spammers, but sometimes I have
  to ask myself what they believe they are doing /right/.  The very
  funny Harper's Index in the January 2004 issue lists two items that I
  found both alarming and explanatory:

  Rank of rhinoplasty and liposuction among the most comon plastic
  surgeries performed on men in the U.S. : 1, 2

  Rank of rhinoplasty and penile enlargement among those most commonly
  performed on men in the U.K. : 2, 1

  So now we know which population with toy dicks are responsible for at
  least one of the major ills of spamming, and this is probably another
  tragedy of the commons.

Erik Naggum | Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.