March 16, 2003

Kling on Spam - More on E2E-T2B

Arnold Kling responded to my earlier bit about E2E-T2B with a question about my reference to filtering at points within the network and states that doing so would require a migration from SMTP to CMTP. He also asks what the cost and consequences of doing so would be.

Well, the cost and consequences are completely predicated on actually moving to CMTP. And nothing I said has anything to do with developing new protocols. Spam filtering, at least in the sense that I was thinking about it (is there any other?) is an application level solution. No matter where you put it on the network, its application level - just like a mail server is an application level solution. In fact, SMTP proxies make the network location of these tools largely irrelevant.

There are anti-spam measures that work at a protocol level. Certain ISPs (the smart ones) force their users to use specific SMTP servers. This means that customers of these ISPs are forced to use that SMTP server and only that SMTP server - which means that relaying is impossible from these networks. As long as these ISPs also place limits on how much mail their customers can send and how often they send it, no more spam gets sent from these networks.

Which leads me to my own spam solution. It has nothing to do with CMTP (whatever that is), has nothing to do with charging fees for sending or receiving and has nothing to do with enhanced filtering anywhere on the network.

Providers must be made legally responsible for the actions of users on their networks - or they must take this responsibility. Imagine what would happen if every single ISP and network provider in the United States said tomorrow that SPAM was no longer acceptable on their networks and took affirmative actions such as those that I describe to ensure that none gets sent from their networks? I predict it would go away in less than one year - globally.

Now what are the chances of that happening?

Posted by ross at 10:28 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Congrats to Me

Roughly 90 days and eleven-ish odd hours ago I had my last cigarette. It looks like most of the woods are behind me...
Posted by ross at 08:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Blogs need "Mark as Read"

As I mentioned a while back, I set my very tall little brother up with a travelblog so that he and his girlfriend could easily keep in touch with everyone back home during their one year trip to Europe and Asia. Everybody here love it and they are finding it pretty cool. They blog when they get a chance at whatever Internet cafe they happen to come across. They are on the clock which means that they don't have a lot of time to mess around. Their standard drill is log in read the latest comments, post an update and hope that the clock doesn't run out in the meantime.

When they first started using it, it was great. We got little notes here and there and left comments for them to read the next time they found a cafe. Then the comments started disappearing. I thought it was odd, so I dug into it a little bit deeper. It turns out that they delete the comments after they read them so that they don't waste valuable cafe time looking for comments sorting out the comments that they read and the ones they hadn't. After reading, they delete and therefore any comments that are left on their blog are unread (by them).

Which almost completely defeats the point of the blog. This was supposed to be an effective way for them to keep in touch with us and vice versa. It was also supposed to be a scrapbook that they could enjoy when they got home. Unfortunately, a defect in the design of the application will likely prevent this. As it is, the archive is incomplete - and stopping them from deleting the comments as they read them is likely not going to happen. After all, time is money - especially when you're on a tight travel budget halfway around the world and the meter on your blogging session is ticking.

Happily, the solution is simple. Blog application developers need to figure out a way to allow readers to mark items as read. I'm pretty sure that this is something that has to live within the content management system at the application layer - or better yet, the browser itself. It could be automated or manual as long as it is simple. In fact, it must be at least as simple as the MT "delete comment" function.

Now go build something. ;)

Posted by ross at 08:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack