North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Fw: Administrivia: ORBS

  • From: Barry Shein
  • Date: Wed Jan 26 12:58:39 2000

On January 25, 2000 at 15:06 [email protected] (Christopher Neill) wrote:
 > Not everyone who runs an RBL is a "spam nazi" like (as some would have it)
 > Alan Brown and myself :)

[since this was addressed to me I'll respond briefly]

I'm not terribly amused by the "spam nazi" term particularly in the
context of supposed humorous self-congratulation involving someone who
has acted unethically. It really does smack, to me, of little egos
running around so self-consumed they're going to laugh off any
criticism, rather than some acknowledgement of a need to deal with the
complaints which have been echoed by several here and elsewhere. It's
not just me, every time I list the complaints there's a flood of
assent (ok, maybe not a flood, but quite a bit.)

Which of course leads to complaint number 1:

If one of these lists does go rogue, as we've seen one do already and
is what your remark is referring to, and starts listing jews or
gypsies or me or you or whatever then there's no review other than
waiting for everyone to figure it out.

Since these "spam nazis" don't tend to advertise their little
vendettas (or even errors), and, as I've seen first-hand, pointing out
that you've been the target of one doesn't seem to get through to the
community (apparently the usual "when I feel the bullet go thru my
head I'll pay attention") I consider these efforts to be a hazard.

They're like those property associations which can go mad, they get
started on the promise of keeping up property values and before you
know it they're threatening you over irrelevant things like what kind
of car you buy or how your kids dress if you don't get with the

No thank you. If I can't get the "spam nazis" replaced if they get out
of line, and I don't mean cast my fate to popular assent because to be
honest as attractive as that sounds it doesn't work worth shit and
anyone who think otherwise is naive, then I say it's too damned
dangerous to allow to flourish.

So, they're free to do what they want for the time being, and I'm free
to warn people off them.

Complaint number two is: They don't work, they're just a distraction.

Anyhow, the issue is not with Paul Vixie whom I know personally and
certainly trust.

It's with the general concept: Its lack of reviewability, its lack of
funding (so if you're unfairly or accidentally blocked there's no
front desk per se or staff, you have to accept that it's all a
haphazard volunteer effort), and most of all that I really, really
believe that the cost/benefit is negative. For the few spams it may
block it causes far more trouble and distraction than it's worth.

I guess what it comes down to is that volunteer firemen are one thing,
but you don't often see volunteer police depts, certainly not anywhere
there's anything to police.

And there's a very good reason for that. You don't want cops you can't
fire or control, or only do the job when it interests them, no matter
how well-intentioned they claim to be.

 > MAPS RBL, run by (I use this term very loosely, since I don't see how anyone
 > could see Paul Vixie as being any kind of "nazi") spam-nazi Paul Vixie is
 > a very reputable service that I think has been getting alot of good press
 > lately and making strides in improving the somewhat maligned image that
 > RBLs have acquired.
 > The object of Paul's service  is to assist operators of mail servers in
 > being good netizens by not having mail servers that become a nuisance.
 > I've never known Paul to advoccate "strong-arming"  or blacklisting for
 > the sake of vendetta. If there is any question about this in anyone's
 > mind, see and read his policy and mission statements for 
 > yourselves.
 > RBLs attack a small part  of the spam problem, and in a cooperative way, which
 > should be in good faith always. I agree that when an RBL is not operated in
 > good faith the object is lost.

        -Barry Shein

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