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

Miles Fidelman <> Sat, 12 April 2014 21:21 UTC

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Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2014 17:20:53 -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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Dave Crocker wrote:
> On 4/12/2014 12:56 PM, Miles Fidelman wrote:
>> - defines the "DMARC Base Specification" with a link to
>> - an IETF
>> document
> While the Internet-Draft mechanism is operated by the IETF, it is an 
> open mechanism and issuance through it carries no automatic status, 
> particularly with respect to the IETF.
> The DMARC specification is not 'an IETF document'.  The current plan 
> is to publish it as an RFC, through the 'Independent' stream, which 
> also is /not/ an IETF activity.

My point is that the folks behind dmarc PRESENT it in a way that 
implicitly makes it look like an IETF document, and that it's on the 
standards track.  The reality, as you say, is different.  "Plan to" is 
>> - the referenced document is an informational  Internet draft, that
> Drafts do not have status.  So the qualifier 'informational' here is 
> not meaningful.
As currently published, it carries the header

Intended status: Informational

>> 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
> Well, a few of us who participated don't...

fair enough - but again, just look at - I 
don't see your name, or any other small individuals or ISPs - what I do 
see are
"A group of leading organizations came together in the spring of 2011"
"The founding contributors include:

  * *Receivers:* AOL, Comcast, GMail, Hotmail, Netease, Yahoo! Mail
  * *Senders:* American Greetings, Bank of America, Facebook, Fidelity,
    JP Morgan Chase, LinkedIn, PayPal
  * *Intermediaries & Vendors:* Agari, Cloudmark, ReturnPath, Trusted
    Domain Project"

This was very much an industry-based effort.

>> - 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)
> What transcript?  I'm not aware of its being 'ignored or dismissed'.

Funny, that's the impression I get when I read back through the archives 
for and

pretty much all discussion of aligning the From: field came down to - 
"you change"

>> - while DMARC is at least partially tested, deploying and honoring
>> "p=reject" messages is brand new, and has wreaked tremendous damage
>> across the net
> It's not new at all, though of course Yahoo's use is distinctive.

Depends on your definition of "new" - and while DMARC builds on an older 
base, DMARC itself was started in 2011, and I assume the first standards 
and software are more recent then that.

As you say, Yahoo's use is "distinctive" - though I'd use a somewhat 
stronger word.
>> - 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
> I've no idea what specifics you are referring to.

I've been following the discussions, on lots of lists, and I've yet to 
see someone say even "I'm from Yahoo and we feel your pain" - much less 
"hmm... maybe this wasn't such a good idea, we're going to back off and 
implement in a slightly gentler manner - and maybe provide some support 
to help patch the major list management packages" - or even "our 
implementation honors Original-Authentication-Results"

nope - as far as I can tell, the folks who turned on p=reject at Yahoo 
don't seem to have even told their own security or customer care folks 
about what's going on - at least when this first broke, and I contacted 
Yahoo's postmaster (thinking I needed to get our servers back on the 
whitelist) - they just pointed me at the whitelist request form

>> 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.
> I haven't seen anyone present such a claim of blessing.  Please point 
> to the specifics.
> I fear you are confusing the difference between a desire for standards 
> status with a claim of its having been granted.
No... I'm quoting the way that is presenting the "DMARC Draft 
Specification" - as marching through the IETF standards track, as it is 
generally understood, and then hiding in the fine print that no such 
thing has happened, or is currently happening

I'm not confused.  It is, and I think intentionally, being presented in 
a way that is intended to confuse.  And I personally think that IETF 
should be calling them on it.  Officially, loudly, and clearly.  (The 
same way that Xerox and Kleenex jump down the throats of anybody who 
tries to use their names generically.  )

Miles Fidelman

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra