[SURBL-Discuss] Re: Leaving SURBL

Jeff Chan jeffc at surbl.org
Thu Apr 7 05:51:20 CEST 2005

On Wednesday, April 6, 2005, 12:55:10 PM, Frank Ellermann wrote:
> If you have an idea which doesn't fit into multi.* you could
> still use the existing infrastruture in a cs.surbl.org zone,
> in theory.  In practice you apparently came to the conclusion
> that that's not what you want

For SURBLs we don't want to have false positives or harm innocent
bystanders.  Other lists may have other policies.  For example
Spamhaus and other RBLs deliberately list networks that are
partially used by spammers but also have non-spammers using them.
Those kinds of policies may be fine for those RBLs, but they can
cause "collateral damage" that SURBL's listing policy tries to

The general design of SURBLs is very specific to domains that
actually appear in spams, so deliberately inflicting collateral
damage should not be necessary.  Because of that specificity, we
don't need to harm innocent bystanders in order to block most
spam sent by the high-volume, zombie-using, spam gangs.

A list of legitimate companies that sometimes send spam, which is
what Chris means when he says a grey list of "mainsleazers" would
definitely be one that hits some hams and would cause some
collateral damage.  We would not want to do that with SURBLs, at
least not if we keep our current policies.

One of the reasons SURBLs have been very useful to many people
is because of these policies.  So we're probably not going to
change them.  That said, there's probably room for other lists
for folks who want to be more aggressive about mail filtering,
but we're probably never going to do that with SURBLs.  Our
goal with SURBLs is to make a list that can be "set and forget"
and used by large ISPs, telcos, etc. without hitting much ham.

Part of the difficulty is that different people have different
ideas about what consitutes spam.  Some people think anyone who
has ever sent one spam is forever a spammer, even if it's
your Aunt Millie, Microsoft or General Motors.  They may or may
not be spammers, but more importantly their domains appear in
hams that ordinary people probably want to get so we probably
don't want to blacklist them.  On the other hand most people
probably don't want to get spams sent by Alan Ralsky's zombies,
or Scott Ricther's junk mail, etc.  So it somewhat depends on
your definition of spam and how much ham you want to block.

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

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