Re: [ietf-smtp] EHLO domain validation requirement in RFC 5321

Laura Atkins <> Mon, 28 September 2020 08:39 UTC

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From: Laura Atkins <>
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Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2020 09:38:55 +0100
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To: Keith Moore <>
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Subject: Re: [ietf-smtp] EHLO domain validation requirement in RFC 5321
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> On 28 Sep 2020, at 03:00, Keith Moore <> wrote:
> On 9/27/20 9:51 PM, Sam Varshavchik wrote:
>> Keith Moore writes:
>>> I thought it was about advice to the server which is currently that the server MUST NOT refuse to accept a message based on failure of EHLO argument verification.
>>> My argument is that EHLO verification is, in the long run, poor practice and should not be encouraged by 5321bis even if it seems like an effective spam
>> To me, "SHOULD NOT" is a better match for "should not be encouraged". The current phrasing, "MUST NOT", prohibits it.
> I might agree with that, though I would also like to see some elaboration as to why it's a Bad Idea in the long run, rather than just SHOULD NOT.
> (I have a little but of trouble with the current 5321 language, because it conflicts with the notion that an SMTP server can reject mail for any reason.    At best the juxtaposition of these two seems conflicting and confusing even though I think that EHLO verification is overall a shortsighted idea that should be discouraged.)
>> Whether or not EHLO domain validation is prohibited or not, it is used in practice right now, and the current language in 5321 is being ignored, to some degree. The same language also existed in 2821, so this has been ignored for a while. An Internet standard that does not reflect current practice is not as valuable as one which is.
> I actually disagree.   The purpose of a protocol specification standard should not be to reflect current practice; it should be to specify desirable practice.    And it's important to not confuse the two goals.
> However I will admit that if the standard specifies a practice that doesn't interoperate well with current practice, it can harm the effectiveness of the standard.

Do you think if the wording in the RFC is changed that established behavior will change? That the SMTP servers will be reconfigured to stop doing what they are doing? 


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