just don't call it a greylist (was: Re: [SURBL-Discuss] Proposing a greylist)

Steven Champeon schampeo at hesketh.com
Thu Sep 2 12:51:33 CEST 2004

on Thu, Sep 02, 2004 at 11:23:49AM -0400, Steven Champeon wrote:
> > I think this is a good idea.
> Ditto. But please, for the love of god, don't call it a greylist. Call it
> what it is - an unconfirmed, FP-risky, anything-goes list. 
> unconfirmed.surbl.org
> Greylisting is a completely different concept, and given how much
> trouble we've already had dealing with people in the antispam community
> because we insist on referring to "exclusion" of a domain from SURBL as
> "whitelisting", perhaps now is the time to get the terminology right.

More info on greylisting and a definition:


  "The term Greylisting is meant to describe a general method of
   blocking spam based on the behavior of the sending server, rather
   than the content of the messages. Greylisting does not refer to any
   particular implementation of these methods. Consequently, there is no
   single Greylisting product. Instead, there are many products that
   incorporate some or all of the methods described here."

In a nutshell, greylisting is a way of refusing mail on the first
attempt in order to provoke a legit MTA to resend a little later and a
zombie not to try again. It's a neat idea, but not likely to survive the
next generation of spam cannons and ends up slowing down your legit mail
by unpredictable amounts, all dependent on the condition and config of
the sending server.

And for anyone who was confused about my disdain for the use of the
term "whitelisting" for "exclusion of a domain from a blacklist", let
me clarify that, too. For everyone else in the world, whitelisting
is the process by which you say you will always accept mail from an
address, host or domain, NOT simply excluding it from a blacklist,
which just means it's in the mu state and is neither perfectly good or
perfectly evil ;)



hesketh.com/inc. v: +1(919)834-2552 f: +1(919)834-2554 w: http://hesketh.com
Buy "Cascading Style Sheets: Separating Content from Presentation, 2/e" today!

More information about the Discuss mailing list