Re: [Asrg] Adding a spam button to MUAs

Douglas Otis <> Thu, 28 January 2010 02:45 UTC

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Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 18:46:05 -0800
From: Douglas Otis <>
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Subject: Re: [Asrg] Adding a spam button to MUAs
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On 1/27/10 7:40 AM, Steve Atkins wrote:
> On Jan 27, 2010, at 4:47 AM, Rich Kulawiec wrote:
>>   there is no way that any end-user should
>> ever be permitted to classify anything as spam/not-spam. [1]
> Given that pretty much all operational definitions of "spam" are based
> on whether the email was unsolicited or unwanted, and the recipient is
> typically the only person who is likely to be able to tell whether a particular
> piece of email is something they wanted or asked to receive, I'm
> pretty sure you've got that wrong.
1) End-users are not always able to determine where an email 
originated.  Even with Authentication-Results included, this header 
omits the source IP address of the message, leaving the actual source 
uncertain.  So who is to blame?

2) Not all unwanted email falls into a definition of spam.  
Unfortunately,  when provided a limited set of options, pressing a "This 
is Spam" button likely communicates a message as unwanted or is 
considered junk, even when from a mailing-list previously opted in, or 
perhaps an auto-response in language the end-user is unable to read.  
After all, not all recipients share a common native language.

End-users can be a poor judge as to what is spam.  Abuse desks receiving 
complaints of unwanted email need to ascertain whether there is evidence 
of spam, such as content clearly in the commercial interest of the 
sender, and not the recipient, etc.