Mailer Error Messages
marcus at blazingdot.com
Wed Oct 31 14:12:13 PDT 2007
On Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 11:27:51PM -0700, Jason C. Wells wrote:
> This is just a short little complaint. Could we please make mail
> exchange error messages just a little more understandable? For the rare
> occurrences where I actually get a legit non-spam induced bounce it
> would be nice to be able to quickly discern what happened.
> 1 - Don't use pronouns. "This domain is is blacklisted." Oh I see it
> was "THIS" domain that was blacklisted. That clears things up. Contact
> the postmaster? Oh I see "THE" postmaster.
That sounds like arbitrary text that came from a mail server that
you tried to deliver mail to. It probably rejected your mail with
a 550 and gave you a (admittedly vague) reason why.
> 2 - Say what you mean to say.
> ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
> <example at example.com>
> Actually, the address probably didn't have any errors. It was probably
> some sort of anti-spam in play.
If the comment on the last two lines was generated by some mail server,
it looks like some message configured at that site. Again, this is
site-specific configuration. You could ask them to clear it up ;)
Just know that the mail failed with a permanent error like a 550.
> 3 - Use complete sentences. Please include a subject and verb PLUS the
> reason why there is an error. "server.foo.com rejected server.bar.com
> for reason." "There is no mailbox suchandsuch at server.foo.com."
Mail delivery fails in far too many different ways to have a real,
descriptive and correct message for all of them. Lots of different
software all speaking SMTP and spewing forth lots of messages that
aren't defined by any standards. I think a good first step for you
in your crusade is to get Microsoft to improve the messages that
Exchange spews out -- those are especially unhelpful.
> (now I must wonder what sort of default sillyness my server spews to
> everyone else when every variety of spam malfeasance reflects of my MX)
> I used to think that running my own MX was neat. Now I am starting to
> think that this is the realm of wizards. Can mere mortals use the
> internet without ceaselessly battling with asshats? The fight is all
> gone out of me.
I think that is the feeling of a growing number of mail admins. It's
a wonder it's all still working as well as it is out there.
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