Re: [R] R help mailing system configuration change?

From: Martin Maechler <>
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2007 18:38:36 +0100

>>>>> "TH" == Ted Harding <> >>>>> on Fri, 07 Dec 2007 10:41:02 -0000 (GMT) writes:

    TH> I have to express sympathy (with comments, below) with both     TH> these posters!

    TH> On 07-Dec-07 07:40:30, Dieter Menne wrote:

    >> ì_• 태훈 <hoontaechung <at>> writes:

>>> I got a reply for my previous several postings saying that
>>> I was spamming the r-help mailing list.
>>> I am very sorry to all subscribers if I did that.
>>> But I've been reposting my message to the mailing list several
>>> times because I didn't know whether my help post was actually
>>> posted or not.
>>> I remember from my previous experiences that, when I post a message,
>>> I can see my own posting myself.
>>> But this time, I didn't see my own message so I thought my message
>>> got dropped for some reasons.
>>> Was there any change in r-help mailing system configuration?
>>> Thanks in advance,
>>> Tae-Hoon Chung
    TH> It can sometimes be the case that a message which you have
    TH> posted takes a long time to be sent to you by the R list,
    TH> while it may have been distributed to many other list
    TH> readers quite quickly. At times I have experienced delays
    TH> of up to 3 hours (though normally it is within say 15 minutes).

I think it only takes a longer time, when it ends up "spam-tagged" and has to wait approval ..

    TH> One way to check whether your posting has reached the list     TH> is to check in the R-help archives at:


Yes, indeed; and that's the *only* correct way.

{{And BTW: I do not at all like the many e-mails that go through   Nabble .. which add their onw little spam lines to each.   Gmane is fine though ... but let's not discuss this in the   current thread, please!

    TH> Select the most recent month and "View by Date". Your message
    TH> should appear near the end of this archive within a few minutes
    TH> of being accepted by the R-help list server.

    TH> But there is always also the possibility eperienced by Dieter:

     >> I have to second that, the same for me. The only way to access
     >> this list is via gmane, otherwise (a Ceylon-based
     >> anti-spamming list) will jump in. We have a dynamic address,
     >> so this list seems ban whole ranges.

     >> I have tried to remove me from orbitl; it may have worked or not,
     >> because of the dynamic address I do not always track. I tried to
     >> contact the webmaster at ETH twice, but got no response. 

Your problems do not at all concern the webmaster of ETH, nor the webmaster of the math department of ETH (which is physically hosting the mailman interface and archives to the R lists).

It does concern the "E-mail masters" of ETH (to a very small extent, maybe more in the future), and STAT.MATH.ETHZ.CH specifically, and I am one of them {and am BCC'ing this message to another one}.

     >> This is an annoyance; I know that I should contact orbitl every time,
     >> but since that organization is a mess, it better would be removed
     >> from the ETH anti-spamming list.
     >> Dieter

    TH> This sort of thing can paralyse innocent users.

Yes. But it happens more and more, not only at ETH.

The "war on spam" has not been won, and it is `` costing lives every day'' (lost e-mails).

You may not be aware how much of all e-mail traffic is spam/viruses nowadays ("90%" is one imprecise citation). And that's not counting the hacker's attempt to break into mail servers, notably if they are at "prestigious" places, DNS attacks, etc.

Currently, we *must* use blacklist services, or our servers would crumble.

The exact set of blacklist services of course is something that has to be carefully selected by ``the e-mail masters'' and if you can show us that one of the blacklist servers has become of quite reputable quality, we have to stop using that specific one.

Best regards,

Martin Maechler, ETH Zurich

    TH> A couple of years ago, when I was using dial-up from home on
    TH> the BT Openworld ISP service (which allocated a dynamic IP
    TH> address on connection), I found at one point that I was
    TH> unable to send email to any UK academic institution whatever!

    TH> The error message was:
    TH> 550 host is listed in
    TH> The reason was that JA.NET (the UK Joint Academic Network)
    TH> had subscribed to a blacklisting service which included
    TH> every known dynamic IP address and of course the IP addresses
    TH> which BT gave me (the "host" in the above message) were     TH> included.
    TH> For a while I worked round this because I had a log-in
    TH> account on a machine at Manchester University, so I could
    TH> dial-up, log in, and mail from there. That host was
    TH> acceptable ...

    TH> But then I dumped BT (and not just for that reason) and
    TH> switched ISP to, who gave me a permanent fixed     TH> IP address. This evaded that particular problem.
    TH> But then I was hit by SORBS (e.g. )
    TH> which had blacklisted *every* IP address owned by Zen,
    TH> dynamic or static, apparently on the grounds that some of
    TH> these had (allegedly) been used to send spam and SORBS had
    TH> received complaints. Many institutions at the time used SORBS.

    TH> SORBS had (and still has) the interesting rule:

    TH> "Third and finally, if you are really not a spammer,
    TH> or you are truly reformed, de-listing is relatively
    TH> easy, and you can choose one of two options:

    TH> * Donate US$50 to a charity or trust approved by,
    TH> and not connected with, SORBS for each spam
    TH> received related to the listing. This is referred     TH> to as the SORBS 'fine'.  
    TH> * Wait for a period of 1 year for each spam received
    TH> related to the listing (e.g. if 3 spams were received,
    TH> wait 3 years)."

    TH> Clearly this made it out of the question for an ISP to get
    TH> themselves removed from the SORBS list, since it could amount     TH> to many 1000s of $$! (And then there's the next time ... ).
    TH> The situation, as I understand it, was resolved when the
    TH> institutions stopped using SORBS, and I have had no such
    TH> trouble since.

    TH> I conclude from experiences like this that institutions
    TH> have a responsibility to treat bona-fide users fairly.
    TH> This means in particular avoiding "automated" blacklisting
    TH> of totally innocent people who have had the misfortune     TH> to get on a blacklist through no fault of their own.
    TH> And this can, in turn, mean taking a close look at the
    TH> blacklisting services they consult, in order to ensure
    TH> that making use of them will not penalise people unfairly.

    TH> It's all very well for people working within institutions
    TH> (whose IP addresses will generally be "clean") to be unaware
    TH> of this kind of issue. But people connecting from outside     TH> will be penalised unless care is taken to be fair to all.

    TH> Best wishes to all,
    TH> Ted.

    TH> --------------------------------------------------------------------
    TH> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <>
    TH> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
    TH> Date: 07-Dec-07                                       Time: 10:40:59
    TH> ------------------------------ XFMail ------------------------------

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    TH> PLEASE do read the posting guide     TH> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. Received on Fri 07 Dec 2007 - 17:42:24 GMT

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