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[epub] Re: what's the policy?
> There are two sides to the issues of autoresponders and
> challenge/response systems.  Both are solutions by a segment
> of your readership.

Okay. Let's be brutally honest here:

Challenge/Response is spamming. If you use a C/R system, 
you're spamming. Deliberately.

Remember the definition of spam: U.B.E.

C/R systems send large amounts of email (bulk) to people who 
did not ask for or have any part in creating it.

This would not be true if spammers and virus writers used real 
addresses that they owned in the emails they created and that 
accepted replies and bounces. If no-one ever used someone 
else's email address without their permission, C/R would just 
be a PITA, rather than a tool for systematic network abuse.

Unfortunately, spammers and virus writers aren't as scrupulous 
as we'd like them to be.

C/R is not a solution to the spam problem in any way shape or 
form. It does nothing to reduce the amount of spam sent. It 
just shoves the handling of "my" spam burden onto "you."

It's popular because it takes no thought or effort and it 
"works." Works, that is, from the perspective of the fellow 
who's hiding behind it. From the perspective of the person 
whose email address is forged into the From: by a virus, it's 
just another spam source.

> The thing to realize here is that both solutions work fine
> in a balanced environment

The current Internet is nothing remotely like a balanced 

Tolerance is a wonderful thing, but it has no place in 
discussions of practices that are pure abuse. It is simply not 
acceptable to dump your problems off onto random strangers.

Not a lot of people are "up in arms" over the blowback from 
C/R at the moment because there aren't enough people using it 
for the real damage it causes to be obvious.

Think about what would happen if a large percentage of people 
used it. It's not a pretty thing.

> Creative, diverse solutions are more likely to yield
> something helpful in the long run, even if it does create
> legitimate problems for useful mail now.

You do not have the right to "solve" your problem by 
arbitrarily making it MY problem.

> From the customer's perspective is it so unreasonable for
> you to require email verification for your membership but
> then refuse to verify your identity to the customer?

Yes. Absolutely.

They know who I am when they sign up. In the case of a 
newsletter publisher, they're asking for free information that 
is, one presumes, of some benefit to them. Just how much 
should a publisher have to pay, in terms of time, for the 
privilege of giving things away for free?

How many of these is a person to be expected to respond to in 
a day?

Sparky - How many new subscription requests do you get to your 
various lists in one day? What would it cost you to respond to 
them if they all challenged the confirmation email?

> I'm not picking on anyone on the list--the gist of this
> conversation is that SPAM has ruined a good thing for those
> running email lists which is hard to dispute.

And spam solutions that increase the burden on the operators 
and the people who participate in those lists is a solution to 
this problem... How?

I understand the desire to "just make the spam go away." I 
also realize that a lot of people don't know enough about how 
the system works to understand the consequences of things like 
challenge/response to innocent third parties.

And really, that's the problem. It's too easy to sell a bad 
idea to people who don't understand what they're buying.

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