[SURBL-Discuss] RFC: SURBL inclusion policy

Jeff Chan jeffc at surbl.org
Sat Sep 25 10:45:27 CEST 2004

On Friday, September 24, 2004, 11:24:57 PM, Ryan Thompson wrote:
> do we want to say anything in this document (or
> possibly another document) about whitelisting criteria? There are really
> three main categories:

> 1.    Blacklist material (that's what your policy addresses very well)

> 1.5. "Almost" blacklist material (the grey ones); ala the "UC" list, are
>        the domains that are almost totally spammers, but may have a few
>        borderline uses

> 2.    Domains that should not be listed, but are not necessarily of
>        "whitelist" merit. These are mostly the domains where insufficient
>        data (or effort) exists to make a determination, which, for good
>        or for ill, is where the bulk of our human efforts are currently
>        focused.

> 3.    Domains that are white; i.e., have definite legitimate uses

> OK, that's four. If we really want to reduce FPs, we need to carefully
> consider *all* of these categories when analysing potential domains. I
> spend just as much time pulling domains out of ham as I do pulling
> domains out of spam.

> The distinction between 2 and 3 is almost as difficult as the
> distinction between 1 and 2 sometimes.

> - Ryan

I agree with 1 and 3, but another way to look at the undecided
middle ground might be to say that if a domain or IP has not
proven to be blacklist material and has not been falsely
listed and therefore in need of whitelisting, then it perhaps
can be ignored until it gets into category 1 or 3.

I know that goes against the feelings of people who want to
catch every spam, and I understand that feeling myself, but
in *practical terms* it may be a *useful* solution.

Yes, that misses some marginal and probable spammers, but
it lets us focus on the first category which are probably
the most important to find in terms of the volume of spam
they produce.  The others can consume a lot of time and
effort without producing the level of performance that
catching the *major* spammers in the first category can.

I realize you guys are trying to sort out some of the
stuff in the middle and I understand some of the reasons
for wanting to do it, but I think working on the more
clear cases gets us the most results for our efforts.

Jeff C.
"If it appears in hams, then don't list it."

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