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

Miles Fidelman <> Thu, 24 April 2014 23:41 UTC

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Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:24:32 -0400
From: Miles Fidelman <>
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Subject: Re: DMARC from the perspective of the listadmin of a bunch of SMALL community lists
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Doug Barton wrote:
> On 04/24/2014 02:35 PM, Martin Rex wrote:
>> Doug Barton wrote:
>>> What won't help is sitting on the sidelines and whinging that the 
>>> "DMARC
>>> cabal" "doesn't get it" and has to listen to us about how it should
>>> conduct their business. Because not only do they clearly not have to do
>>> that, they are not doing it.
>> But that is exactly what happens here, they obviously don't get it at 
>> all.
> ... and yet the DMARC rollout continues. My point being that 
> complaining about it has been ineffective so far, and is likely to 
> continue to be ineffective.
>> In case you didn't know or realize, what DMARC specifies for p=reject
>> is actually a real felony crime in Germany (no kidding!),
> I can't comment intelligently on that point. However I would assume 
> that the high-powered attorneys at the large multi-national 
> corporations (Yahoo! and AOL) who have already deployed it don't think 
> you're right. OTOH if you are right, it will make an interesting side 
> show. :)
>> It also should stop since it is technically wrong.
> That's your opinion, and the opinion of a non-trivial number of people 
> on this list. But again, even if you're right, the thing is being 
> deployed anyway. So fixing the mailing list software is the right 
> thing to do regardless.
>> It is the tail trying to wag the dog
> You have "the tail" and "the dog" reversed. Mailing list traffic is a 
> tiny fraction of what the big providers carry. IT is the tail.
Is that really true, after you eliminate all of the spam, and the ads 
that fall just this side of "legitimate?"

Given that spam is now, what, 80+ percent of net traffic (some sources 
claim >90%), I wonder what the real breakdown is between:
- personal email
- work email
- notifications from social media sites
- "real" commercial traffic (bills, statements, order confirmations)
- list traffic (including work/company/university lists, user support, 
project-specific, affinity groups, churches, one's kids' schools, etc.)

And then I wonder how that differs for:
- personal mailboxes
- work mailboxes
- separate mailboxes set up to insulate one's personal mailbox from 
things other than personal and work traffic

In that later regard, I see an awful lot of people who set up mailboxes 
on free services, specifically for list-related traffic.

Speaking personally for a moment, and I'm certainly atypical, what I see is:
- personal account (been around a long time, highly visible, aggregates 
a lot of older accounts, a lot of admin traffic is routed to it as well)
--- 5000 messages a day
--- 4500, automatically filtered to /dev/null (spam, admin traffic I 
really don't want to look at, some old lists)
--- of the remaining traffic:
------ 200 or so - spam that gets past loose spam traps, deleted by eyeball
------ 225 or so - admin and list traffic (more these days, given the 
DMARC and IANAxfr discussions)
------ 25 - a mix of personal, notifications, various other stuff

- AOL and Yahoo accounts - rarely used - whenever I check, ALL spam
- work account: mostly 1-1 and some professional newsletters (1-way lists)

I'd be really interested in profiles of typical user accounts from big 
providers who claim that most of what they handle isn't list traffic.

Miles Fidelman