Re: [Asrg] Adding a spam button to MUAs

David Wilson <> Fri, 05 February 2010 12:24 UTC

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From: David Wilson <>
To: Anti-Spam Research Group - IRTF <>
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Organization: Isode Limited
Date: Fri, 05 Feb 2010 12:25:05 +0000
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Subject: Re: [Asrg] Adding a spam button to MUAs
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On Fri, 2010-02-05 at 12:04 +0000, Andrew Richards wrote:
>  - Unsubscribe from mailing list etc.

Would the expectation be that the mail server performs this operation on
the user's behalf?

If so, my recent experience is relevant. I was getting quite a few
regular messages from some sites. These were not spam within any normal
definition because they were targeted and also almost vaguely relevant
to my business. However, I didn't want them. So I looked at the
unsubscribe options available. They varied.

Some messages had List-unsubscribe headers. However, some were mailto:
URLs, which is probably the best. Others were http: URLs. Most of these
took you to a page where you had to enter information in order to

Those with no List-unsubscribe generally had a link like the latter

In some cases the subscription removal request resulted in a message
with a http link which, when followed, resulting in the removal.

So, in many cases automatic processing of the subscription removal was
not possible. So, I don't this this is something which should be
demanded of the mail service provider.

I would suggest that subscription removal is really a job for the UA
itself. Perhaps, if there is a List-unsubscribe header, an option to
follow that could be enabled through a button or menu option.

Related to this is the common folklore that you should not attempt to
unsubscribe from a spam, as this could tell the spammer that the email
address is 'live', thus exposing you to more spam. Is there actually any
evidence that this is true? It certainly does not seem to be the case
that spammers remove from their lists unresponsive email addresses.

(BTW the requests for subscription removal which I made seem to have


David Wilson