Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Tuesday, November 09, 2004

  ICANN'T?

So, in the course of yesterdays DNS rants, I let slip my low opinion of ICANN - which I don't believe is a democracy, unless you're using American democracy as an example -

Chipper burst forth in a plea for personal responsibility in the commons - which changed how I've been coping with postmaster email. It's not every day that a discussion changes how you're thinking, so, here's Chip: I don't have time to write all my own material!

Long ago, I mean, LONG AGO I stopped reading my postmaster email due to being overwhelmed by spam, and this is a violation of the social compact that email is supposed to be. I blog now, because I can't handle my email volume as it stands.

I checked. I had 17361 messages in my postmaster mailbox! 99.9999% spam, I thought. It's too much, I can't deal with it

I tried an experiment today - although it adds to the packet overhead that Chipper is bitching about, I started forwarding my postmaster email to my gmail account, where I can at least report the spam to a service that will attempt to block it.

Or so I thought, briefly. All I'd be doing by forwarding it all to gmail is blocking messages from my own domain. There has got to be a better way... maybe I should implement razor.... I don't have a technical solution, but blaming network solutions, or ARIN, saying "ICANN'T", is not the solution.

I went back and looked at that mailbox again. It wasn't all spam, 17,223 messages were messages from my local cron daemon - I used to keep statistics on my router's utilization and the code has been broken for months. I just spent 10 minutes fixing that. Deleting all those messages crashed mozilla (note: this is the first time I've crashed mozilla in months)...

118 messages were from another daemon - only 19 messages were spam... and one, exactly one, explained why I hadn't got a response back from a friend when I'd emailed him a few weeks ago.

----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
jefe AT blaize.org (reason: 553 5.3.5 system config error)

----- Transcript of session follows -----
553 5.3.5 127.0.1.50. config error: mail loops back to me (MX problem?)
554 5.3.5 Local configuration error

Not one single mail was directed by a human at postmaster. Not One.

No one bothers to send mail to postmaster anymore!! Not network people - Not even spammers. Perhaps that's the answer - that postmaster has returned to being a valid, usable, email address, that we can, once again, use as a standard to communicate about network problems.

I put security, hostmaster & postmaster back into my aliases files. I'll be a better netizen from now on.

Paul Vixie, originator of the bind DNS system, still answers his postmaster email.

Maybe Jefe has fixed his mailer problem. Maybe I'll send an email to his postmaster to find out... nope, blaize.org is still broke...

But then I realized that I was sending that email to the wrong domain and the wrong email address, that I'd got his account and address reversed in my mind -

Heh. Being a responsible postmaster is a good thing. I'd forgotten that.

Just for the hell of it, I fired off an email to postmaster AT mci.com -

"Why on earth do you have a TTL of 0 on global.mci.com?"


 
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