Respecting Privacy: How To Prevent Spam

Matthew Pherigo hybrid120 at
Thu May 1 00:31:04 UTC 2014

Hey Mike,

First of all, it should be noted that the prevalence of spam on this mailing list is not because the configuration of this list is insecure, but because using email in mailing lists has always been an easy way to harvest email addresses, and spammers have only now caught on.

The first option for somebody to be secure in a mailing list would be to use an email account only used for public mailing lists. But, let's be fair, nobody is going to do that.

The second option is to do as you suggest and anonymize the list addresses with only one mailing list address. Not considering the fact that this makes figuring out who the message is from much harder, this also causes a problem when time comes to have a conversation OFF of the list. If two posters want to speak to each other off of the main mailing list, they have a problem: they have to exchange email addresses OVER the mailing list. This leaves you with two options: either exchange email addresses in public (defeating the point of anonymization), or use email messages back-and-forth to execute a piece of key-exchange cryptography to exchange email addresses without making them public. If you ever find yourself doing that last part, you know you're probably doing something wrong.

I think the problem is less about "is this mailing list secure" and more about "is email suited for this kind of use", to which I would say "no, not really, but the community here is totally worth using email for the wrong purpose." When you get the spam messages, flag them as spam with whatever email provider you use. Since they're not being sent through the list and are instead coming from their own domains, flagging them as spam will cause your email provider's junk filter to pick up on those messages in the future and not allow any more of them to pass through.


> On Apr 30, 2014, at 4:11 PM, Mike Sanders <tmp1 at> wrote:
> Mike Sanders wrote:
>> <>
>> Under section 'Spam-specific posting filters':
>> Value: Hide the sender of a message, replacing it with the list address
>> (Removes From, Sender and Reply-To fields)
>> Description: This tells Mailman to rewrite the header so that traffic
>> appears to be coming from the list itself instead of the original poster.
>> Provides some added privacy for posters, but may be annoying to some list
>> members as mailbox headers show only the list name instead of the
>> actual poster.
> Okay enough...
> Because I spoke out about this, spammers are attacking my inbox
> with malformed email, attachments, etc. Don't know if these messages
> are turning up on the list, but someone is replying to my list messages
> with email such as:
> 'Would you like to meet? I'll let you lick my twat'
> If this list ever becomes secure look me up, I'd love to learn from you guys.
> I'm out.
> -- 
> Mike Sanders
> www:
> gpg: 0xD94D4C13
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