[Beowulf] Apologies for the spam/virus yesterday

Bill Broadley bill at cse.ucdavis.edu
Wed Feb 8 16:28:48 PST 2006

Actually now that you mention it.  Give me instant approval for all
subscribed users (but make sure bots can't subscribe via a, er, whatever
the character recognition test is called) so that lag time for posts
goes from occasionally hours to usually minutes.

I'd happily sign posts if that helped, doubly so if the result was
quicker turnarounds.

> It's a good example of why mailing lists can't be auto-moderated. 
> The current elaborate system requires heavy human moderation, and this 

I'd rather save the humans for something else.

> The message passed both ClamAV and SpamAssasin (although a compressed 

SpamAssassin is popular and seems widely targeted by spammers.  Dspam
seems to do substantially better.  From what I can tell not by
a substantially better design, it's just not specifically targeted
by spammers.

Especially since dspam once trained with a large corpus of spam, and
a large corpus of the beowulf list would get a really good idea
of what to include, or bounce.

> zip file should have triggered something).  It didn't have any of the 

I'd vote for banning ALL posts with attachments, HTML, vcard, .exe.

Has there ever been a useful attachment sent to the beowulf list?

Amavis filters attachments well.

> keywords that are configured in Mailman's "hold" rules.  And finally, that 
> user was approved for auto-post for messages that passed all of the 
> previous rules.

If there's daily work involving hours and we get one spam per 3 years
I'd argue someones spending too much time on this.

> Please keep this event in mind before you complain that your message was 
> held for moderation.  95-99% (depending on the day) of inbound mail to the 
> mailing lists is immediately discarded as obvious viruses and spam.  
> Only very low scoring mail from approved subscribers is eligible for 
> auto-approval  The rest is held for manual moderation. Only about 2% of 
> those held messages are valid postings.  That means about 50 messages 
> manually discarded for each manually approved posting.  And except for a 
> few weeks scattered over the history of the list, I've been the sole or 
> primary moderator.

I suspect the cluster world be a better place if the list got a
few more spam and you had an extra 30 minutes a day.  Keep in mind
it's not just the time to delete a message, but also the time
to get back to what you were doing.

With a dspam setup I suspect over 99.5% of spam would bounce, people
would get instant posts, and 1 minute a day, or even few days would
help retrain (a single click) on the very occasional miss.

> The bottom line is that we are considering a message board format to
> replace the mailing list.  It would have required logins to 
> post, and retroactive moderation to delete advertising and trolls.
> Any opinions?

I wouldn't mind logins to post, I would greatly mind having to use a
web-browser to read.

Bill Broadley
Computational Science and Engineering
UC Davis

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