Re: DMARC from the perspective of the listadmin of a bunch of SMALL community lists

Hector Santos <> Mon, 14 April 2014 17:29 UTC

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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:29:18 -0400
From: Hector Santos <>
Organization: Santronics Software, Inc.
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To: Miles Fidelman <>,
Subject: Re: DMARC from the perspective of the listadmin of a bunch of SMALL community lists
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This DMARC issue has finally hit our support forum today!

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [WINServer] Lists, Yahoo and DMARC
Date: 	 Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:51:38 -0400
From: 	 Kevin M. Agard <>
Reply-To: <>

Is anyone else running the wcListserver seeing bounces on messages to
Yahoo, MSN and Comcast due to these provider's DMARC configs??

What I am seeing is that any message originating from a
address is being bounced by these domains with a “554 5.7.9: Message not
accepted for policy reasons” error messages.

Interestingly enough, although Yahoo, MSN and Comcast all bounce these
messages, it is only messages from Yahoo that bounce. Messages
originating from MSN and Comcast make it through fine.


On 4/12/2014 3:56 PM, Miles Fidelman wrote:
> Folks,
> We (really I) support perhaps 2 dozen small email lists, for a bunch
> of community groups (PTOs, churches, neighborhood groups) - mostly the
> legacy of previously running a small hosting firm, and still having
> the machines sitting in a data center.  The kinds of groups with lots
> of non-technical users who have email accounts on Yahoo, hotmail, AOL,
> Comcast, and such.  The lists range in size from tiny (5 person boards
> of directors) to maybe 1000 (high school parents).
> Yahoo's implementation of it's new DMARC policy has been an absolute
> disaster.  Kind of messes things up when a few days before tax filings
> are due, and in parallel with the Heartbleed mess, (not to mention the
> work that pays the bills), roughly 1/3 of the addresses on almost all
> of the lists start bouncing mail from yahoo addresses - particularly
> when yahoo's postmaster didn't have a clue what was going on (my
> initial thought was - oh heck, need to get back on their whitelist).
> Luckily gmail seems not to be honoring the Yahoo's p=reject policy, at
> least so far, or things would be a LOT worse.
> Still trying to figure out a reasonable fix for this, as it looks like
> lots of other listmasters are trying to do - and doesn't help that I'm
> running a less common list package (sympa).
> Anyway - one of my reactions to this is that something is really
> broken about the process by which DMARC and Yahoo's policy have been
> foisted on the larger Internet community - and in particular IETF's
> role or lack thereof.  Specifically:
> - DMARC is an ad-hoc group that assembled with a "common goal was to
> develop an operational specification to be introduced to the IETF for
> standardization"
> (
> - defines the "DMARC Base Specification" with a link to
> - an IETF
> document
> - the referenced document is an informational  Internet draft, that
> expires in October of this year, that starts with "This memo presents
> a proposal for a scalable mechanism by which a mail sending
> organization can express,.
> - It's also being presented as mature - through such publicity
> statements as "DMARC standard now protects almost two-thirds of the
> world's 3.3 billion consumer mailboxes worldwide"
> (
> In essence, DMARC is being represented as a mature, standards-track
> IETF specification - with the implication that it's been widely
> vetted, and is marching through the traditional experimental ->
> optional -> recommended -> mandatory steps that IETF standards go
> through.
> In reality:
> - DMARC was developed by a tiny number of people, all of whom work for
> very large ISPs
> - as far as I can tell, all input from the broader community - notably
> mailing list developers and operators was roundly ignored or dismissed
> (the transcript is really clear on this)
> - while DMARC is at least partially tested, deploying and honoring
> "p=reject" messages is brand new, and has wreaked tremendous damage
> across the net
> - as far as I can tell, those who are behind DMARC are taking the
> position "it's not our problem" (see discussions on
> and - and there is nary a
> Yahoo representative to be seen anywhere
>  From an operational perspective, this is akin to a large player
> publishing a corrupt nameserver database or routing update - and then
> actively resting attempts to clean up the mess (which, in effect is
> what Yahoo did by updating their DMARC record to p=reject).
> The situation strikes me as incredibly perverse and broken - the more
> so that the perpetrators are presenting this as blessed by the IETF
> standards process.
> It strikes me that IETF should weigh in on this in a formal fashion -
> if only to make it very clear that IETF is not responsible for this
> debacle, and perhaps to exert some moral influence on the perpetrators
> to back off and help clean up the mess they've created.
> On a broader scope - this sort of points out a really big hole in our
> consensus governance process - when one bad actor can inflict damage
> across the entire Internet, apparently, with impunity.
> Miles Fidelman