SPUG: email addresses in the archives

Bill Campbell bill at celestial.com
Fri Feb 19 13:42:39 PST 2010

On Fri, Feb 19, 2010, Andrew Sweger wrote:
>The SPUG mailing list (spug-list) is hosted and (primarily) archived by
>Perl Mongers using the mailman mail-list manager. The archives are open to
>the public. The issue of privacy and email addresses in those archives was
>brought to my attention. When something that looks like an email address
>appears in an address header or body of a message, the archiving software
>replaces it so it doesn't look like an email address. So,
>andrew at sweger.net becomes andrew at sweger.net. Of course, if you look at
>the archive with *this* message[1], it won't look like anything has
>changed at all. Any mailto links put over the address point to the mailing
>list. The complaint is that s/\@/ at / is not a sufficient obfuscation to
>reduce harvesting of email addresses by spammer. We could have quite a
>nice debate on this. I said we _could_.
>I took the matter to the Perl Mongers support folks. Robert Spier says our
>options are:
>1) switch the archives to private - members only
>2) someone contributes a patch to mailman to perform better/different obfuscation
>3) do nothing
>I have my opinions on this, but it's not my list (I'm just it's
>control-freak dictator). What do y'all think?

Do nothing.

The archives may be of general interest to perl folks so making
them private would decrease their value.

Spammers have easier ways of harvesting addresses than going
through Mailman archives.  Good spam filters are probably the
most effective tool to minimize spam (even though I've been
cussing some things with amavisd and spamassassin recently
related to keeping perl modules current :-).  I've had the same
e-mail address for over 20 years now, and it's in the whois
records for quite a few domains going back to days when I was too
naive to use role addresses for such things.  The number of spam
messages that get through to my spam folder for review for false
positives is quite manageable, miniscule compared to those that
get into my completely unfiltered postmaster and security folders
where they are great fodder for spamassassin's sa-learn.

INTERNET:   bill at celestial.com  Bill Campbell; Celestial Software LLC
URL: http://www.celestial.com/  PO Box 820; 6641 E. Mercer Way
Voice:          (206) 236-1676  Mercer Island, WA 98040-0820
Fax:            (206) 232-9186  Skype: jwccsllc (206) 855-5792

Of all the contrivances devised for cheating the laboring classes of
mankind, none has been more effective than that which deludes him with
paper money. -- -Daniel Webster

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