[Biojava-l] [housekeeping note] experimental changes to bioperl-l and biojava-l list configuration
Tue, 19 Feb 2002 10:50:10 -0500
The Open Bioinformatics Foudation's recent subscription to the RBL+ list
(http://mail-abuse.org/rbl+/) has done a great job at seriously cutting
down the amount of spam that leaks onto our mailing lists.
It does not however, protect us from virus-laden email messages as the
members of biojava-l have found out on multiple ocasions. We are
eventually going to deploy antivirus scanning on all of our inbound and
outbound email but until that happens we need an interim solution.
Typically the way that most large mailing lists handle this is to
employ a "no attachments" policy. All attachments are either stripped at
the MTA level or converted into plaintext by external helper
applications. The side effect of this is that it also removes HTML-email
which 90% of the time is spam anyway.
The feedback from people I asked about doing this on our server was that
it could be "too drastic". Instead of stripping anything MIME-encoded
I've made some experimental changes to 2 of our largest lists: biojava-l
What I've done is configured the lists to "hold" messages that contain
suspect "content-type:" fields. What this mean is that messages won't be
"stripped" but they will be blocked and held for moderator attention.
Anything that is spam or suspicious will get blown away by an OBF
mailteam volunteer. Messages that look OK will get passed on to the list.
This is the best compromise I can come up with between "stripping
everything" and converting the lists to 100% moderated forums. One side
effect is that our "hold" patterns are going to block HTML messages wich
is probably a good thing. Another side effect is that innocent messages
may get held up or delayed as they wait for moderation. This is mostly
For those that care, here are the patterns we are trying to use to hold
As a general rule to avoid having your emails held for approval people
may wish to keep the following in mind:
(1) Be polite to text-only email readers; don't send HTML messages to
(2) Don't send file attachments; post URLs or links within your message
Feedback directly to me or to firstname.lastname@example.org is welcome. I'll let
people know how this experiment goes - most likely in our next
newsletter scheduled for mid-March.
Chris Dagdigian, <email@example.com>
Life Science IT & Research Computing Freelancer
Office: 617-666-6454, Mobile: 617-877-5498, Fax: 425-699-0193
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