Challenge & Response Mail

johnw's picture

Some people like to keep their mailboxes free of spam. Some people like to invent ways of avoiding spam. And some people like to keep their mailboxes free of the results of such actions.

A typical extract from the mailing list:

> > Please go and read the mountain of advice against implementing C-R 
> > before you continue to contribute to the destruction of email as a 
> > useful communications method. 
> The only thing in the web page you referenced to that was a valid point 
> was the loss of ham. (Recent bugs apart) I have addressed all the other 
> problems. 


Note also that the URL I came up with is not the only one of its 
kind. You can look on any antispam forum on the Internet, pretty 
much no one except C-R vendors and kooks think this is a workable 

> Some people will indeed not carry out the verification. 
> But if the spam problem does not get any better, (and believe me I have 
> thousands of rejected emails every week to prove it doesn't) solutions 
> will _have_ to be implemented. Spam filters can create more problems 
> than they solve. C/R based technologies or something else will be used. 

There is a lot of scope in the "something else" option. C-R will 
never be widely used because of the inherent problems means it just 
doesn't scale. Ironically this may keep the hopes of C-R vendors 
and kooks alive, since they never get to see their toy badly broken. 

> You sound exactly like the people who don't want to memorize their pin 
> numbers. Ok, it's a little inconvenience, but it really helps. 

What a silly analogy; whether I memorise my PIN or not makes no 
difference to anyone else. If what you did made no difference to 
anyone else then I would be happy for you to do it to your heart's 

> So if C/R systems generalize, more and more will accept the minor 
> inconvenience. 

The "minor inconvenience" of being deluged with requests to 
authorise mail they never sent, which kindly have marketing spam 
from C-R vendors tacked on? 

The "minor inconvenience" of running a mailing list where your users 
run 20 different C-R implementations that all work differently and 
bother either the list owner or the list itself, or individual 

The "minor inconvenience" of having typed a lengthy helpful response 
to someone who asked for help on an open Internet mailing list only 
to find that they want you to jump through their own little hoop to 
authorise your kindness? 

These possibly are minor inconveniences to _you_, the C-R user, but 
*not* to the C-R victims. 

> I am sorry my system caused some problems, but we should try and stay 
> open and consider new ideas, or new developments of old-ish ones. 

I have a bridge to sell you, one careful Nigerian owner...