Monday, February 06, 2006

The admin dealing with SPAM

So, in general I am sure most people have an idea of what is considered SPAM. But as an administrator I know things always wind up getting interesting. For example, anti spam tools have given users a very simple way to indicate they no longer wish to receive specific kinds of e-mail. Anyone who has been a member of a listserv for a while is probably familiar with the phenomena of getting a message sent to the group with the subject or body "remove" or "unsubscribe". People who are afraid they might embarrass themselves might find it far more simple to indicate the message is SPAM than to try and properly unsubscribe. So what happens when a church newsletter is flagged as SPAM? Well, that all depends on the the ISP and the SPAM blocking software being used, but it has happened. Surely the church newsletter is not part of a commercial venture. But church admins have had to argue with ISPs that one user reporting a church newsletter is SPAM should not block it from all members of that ISP.

So, what is an admin to do. On the one hand you have people complaining about SPAM and on the other hand it might be questionable as to whether or not the so called SPAM truly is SPAM. And what if the user downloaded software and part of the EULA (End User License Agreement) for the software was to provide an e-mail that could receive promotions?

For my part I decided on a simple rule. The owner of the resource has the final say on how it is used. If someone does not want to receive an e-mail anymore then the sender should respect those wishes. If someone has a blog and unwanted comments continue to be posted the poster should either conform their comments to meet the desire of the owner of the blog, or should refrain from commenting. And it doesn't really matter if the resource is truly owned by someone else (like Google/Typepad). If a blogger is putting their heart and soul into an effort then they own the resource.

Unfortunately SPAM continues to be successful. People buy advertised products, spam commenter's have their Google rank increased. At work we have taken to going beyond blocking the e-mail of spammers and starting to even block websites of companies that use SPAM. We even create new e-mail address for online purchases, when those addresses start to attract SPAM we know which online vendor has sold our information,and therefor which online vendors will not get our business in the future. Sometimes you just have to punish the unacceptable behavior in any way you can. The behavior should not be tolerated, certainly not promoted.

So, why am I rambling on about this? Well, quite simply because I wanted to make it perfectly clear why a certain blogger is being dropped from the listing at UUpdates. It has nothing to do with anything not mentioned above. If you repeatedly annoy UU bloggers by posting unwanted comments, even after explicit instructions not to do so then you are abusing a resource and the behavior should not be tolerated. Certainly it should not be promoted and at this point I feel an obligation to not promote the tactics employed by trolls, and or spammers. Again, let me be clear, it is the above driving this decision and nothing else. Anyone claiming otherwise (claim of cover up, DIM thinking, etc.) is simply wrong.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Thank you, given that I think I know what you are talking about.