Re: [Asrg] Adding a spam button to MUAs

Seth <sethb@panix.com> Wed, 16 December 2009 18:59 UTC

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From: Seth <sethb@panix.com>
To: asrg@irtf.org
In-reply-to: <20091216120742.GA28622@gsp.org> (message from Rich Kulawiec on Wed, 16 Dec 2009 07:07:42 -0500)
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Date: Wed, 16 Dec 2009 13:59:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: [Asrg] Adding a spam button to MUAs
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Rich Kulawiec <rsk@gsp.org> wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 05:50:24PM -0800, Steve Atkins wrote:
>> > I think allowing end users access to such a button is a terrible idea.
>> 
>> Data from actual reality contradicts your (otherwise plausible) reasoning.
>
> Not my data.  I have a rather large collection of incidents involving
> message recipients who have marked as spam:

What fraction of the total spam complaints you received were bogus
like those?

> Users as a group are far too clueless and careless to be permitted the
> privilege of access to such a feature.

That depends on what the feature _does_.  A lot of inaccurate
measurements can be used to make a few very accurate measurements.

> There's the zombie problem.  There is no way for anyone or anything
> external to an end-user's system to know whether the button click
> (or equivalent event) was generated by a user or by software working
> at the behest of the new owner of the user's former system.  Given
> that the zombie problem is epidemic and presently unstoppable,
> widescale deployment of any such mechanism will lead to its use by
> zombie-resident malware as soon as it's advantageous for abusers to
> do so. Thus, anyone proposing such a "report as spam" mechanism on a
> large scale must also include in their proposal a workable plan for
> solving the zombie problem.

How would it be advantageous for a zombie to report as spam?  Report
as non-spam, sure, to game the filters.  But with the data being noisy
to begin with, zombies adding noise don't have much effect; they might
require tuning of the filters.

Seth