R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

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R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

Martin Maechler
Dear R-help mailing list readers,

After some discussion among R foundation members (and friends),
we have agreed that ``the spammer mafia (*)'' has momentarily won a
battle:

After more than ten years of open and free mailing lists devoted
to R (development, use, etc),
the increasing volume of spam {quadrupling within one year, I'm
told by an expert} and the slickness of the spam programmers
have lead to regular leaking of spam messages into R-help (and
other mailing lists).  Even though our filters catch > 99.9%
(probably even > 99.99%) of all the spam, our mail server has
now occasionally been blacklisted because of the R-help spams.

The consequence of this will be that .. before the weekend ..
only __e-mail addresses__ subscribed to R-help will be allowed to post to
R-help without any moderation, and we are even considering outright
rejection all non-subscribers, these latter decision coming
later.

Consequence:
   Please subscribe to R-help __ at least in digest mode __
   now, and ``spread the word''
   so that you will be able to continue asking questions
   and getting advice here.

Martin Maechler, ETH Zurich

... a sad list administrator
    looking back to the good old times ...

-----
(*) I've been told that "Mafia" is quite correct here:
    Spammer-programmers who want to leave the business are
    life-threatened; CIOs of big anti-spam organizations are
    getting threats...

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Re: R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

Marc Schwartz
Martin Maechler wrote:

> Dear R-help mailing list readers,
>
> After some discussion among R foundation members (and friends),
> we have agreed that ``the spammer mafia (*)'' has momentarily won a
> battle:
>
> After more than ten years of open and free mailing lists devoted
> to R (development, use, etc),
> the increasing volume of spam {quadrupling within one year, I'm
> told by an expert} and the slickness of the spam programmers
> have lead to regular leaking of spam messages into R-help (and
> other mailing lists).  Even though our filters catch > 99.9%
> (probably even > 99.99%) of all the spam, our mail server has
> now occasionally been blacklisted because of the R-help spams.
>
> The consequence of this will be that .. before the weekend ..
> only __e-mail addresses__ subscribed to R-help will be allowed to post to
> R-help without any moderation, and we are even considering outright
> rejection all non-subscribers, these latter decision coming
> later.
>
> Consequence:
>    Please subscribe to R-help __ at least in digest mode __
>    now, and ``spread the word''
>    so that you will be able to continue asking questions
>    and getting advice here.
>
> Martin Maechler, ETH Zurich
>
> ... a sad list administrator
>     looking back to the good old times ...
>
> -----
> (*) I've been told that "Mafia" is quite correct here:
>     Spammer-programmers who want to leave the business are
>     life-threatened; CIOs of big anti-spam organizations are
>     getting threats...

Martin,

I salute your efforts over the years to keep this list clean from the
annoyances of spam and related issues. You have facilitated an amazing
resource on behalf of this wonderful community.

It is unfortunate that this step has become necessary, but know that
your efforts are most appreciated and that these decisions are supported.

Regards,

Marc Schwartz

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Re: R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

Ted.Harding-2
On 30-Jan-08 18:46:52, Marc Schwartz wrote:

> Martin Maechler wrote:
>> Dear R-help mailing list readers,
>>
>> After some discussion among R foundation members (and friends),
>> we have agreed that ``the spammer mafia (*)'' has momentarily
>> won a battle:
>>
>> After more than ten years of open and free mailing lists
>> devoted to R (development, use, etc), the increasing volume
>> of spam {quadrupling within one year, I'm told by an expert}
>> and the slickness of the spam programmers have lead to regular
>> leaking of spam messages into R-help (and other mailing lists).
>> Even though our filters catch > 99.9% (probably even > 99.99%)
>> of all the spam, our mail server has now occasionally been
>> blacklisted because of the R-help spams.
>>
>> The consequence of this will be that .. before the weekend ..
>> only __e-mail addresses__ subscribed to R-help will be allowed
>> to post to R-help without any moderation, and we are even
>> considering outright rejection all non-subscribers, these
>> latter decision coming later.
>>
>> Consequence:
>>    Please subscribe to R-help __ at least in digest mode __
>>    now, and ``spread the word''
>>    so that you will be able to continue asking questions
>>    and getting advice here.
>>
>> Martin Maechler, ETH Zurich
>>
>> ... a sad list administrator
>>     looking back to the good old times ...
>>
>> -----
>> (*) I've been told that "Mafia" is quite correct here:
>>     Spammer-programmers who want to leave the business are
>>     life-threatened; CIOs of big anti-spam organizations are
>>     getting threats...
>
> Martin,
>
> I salute your efforts over the years to keep this list clean
> from the annoyances of spam and related issues. You have
> facilitated an amazing resource on behalf of this wonderful
> community.
>
> It is unfortunate that this step has become necessary, but
> know that your efforts are most appreciated and that these
> decisions are supported.
>
> Regards,
>
> Marc Schwartz

I echo Marc's words, and add my own warm thanks and support
to Martin. R-help has been amazingly free of spam and similar
troubles until very recently. Clearly modern spam is getting
too clever, and it is right to install the barriers and insist
on the ID check.

And I echo Martin's nostalgia for the good old days! But we
must be good-humoured about it.

I'm reminded of a Gary Larson "Far Side" cartoon.

The scene: Within the large entrance foyer to a US military base.
Many personnel wandering around. All are in fact dogs, standing
on their hind legs, dressed in various uniforms.

At the security desk stands a Five-Star-General Dog.
On the other side of the desk sits a Security-Guard Dog.

Security-Guard Dog:
  "I'm sure you are who you say you are, General,
   but regulations still require me to sniff your butt."

Best wishes to all,
Ted.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <[hidden email]>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 30-Jan-08                                       Time: 20:14:40
------------------------------ XFMail ------------------------------

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Re: R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

Dieter Menne
In reply to this post by Martin Maechler
Martin Maechler <maechler <at> stat.math.ethz.ch> writes:

>
> The consequence of this will be that .. before the weekend ..
> only __e-mail addresses__ subscribed to R-help will be allowed to post to
> R-help without any moderation, and we are even considering outright
> rejection all non-subscribers, these latter decision coming
> later.

Does that mean that posting through the gmain/nabble pathway will no longer be
possible?

Dieter

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Re: R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

Martin Maechler
>>>>> "DM" == Dieter Menne <[hidden email]>
>>>>>     on Thu, 31 Jan 2008 08:58:54 +0000 (UTC) writes:

    DM> Martin Maechler <maechler <at> stat.math.ethz.ch> writes:
    >>
    >> The consequence of this will be that .. before the weekend ..
    >> only __e-mail addresses__ subscribed to R-help will be allowed to post to
    >> R-help without any moderation, and we are even considering outright
    >> rejection all non-subscribers, these latter decision coming
    >> later.

    DM> Does that mean that posting through the gmain/nabble pathway will no longer be
    DM> possible?

If you are *subscribed* to R-help, there definitely won't be a
problem.
Otherwise, such posting may have to wait for moderator approval,
but I think that maybe could be changed to work automatically
{at least as long as the spammers don't misuse it}.

Martin

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Re: R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

Duncan Murdoch
On 1/31/2008 6:48 AM, Martin Maechler wrote:

>>>>>> "DM" == Dieter Menne <[hidden email]>
>>>>>>     on Thu, 31 Jan 2008 08:58:54 +0000 (UTC) writes:
>
>     DM> Martin Maechler <maechler <at> stat.math.ethz.ch> writes:
>     >>
>     >> The consequence of this will be that .. before the weekend ..
>     >> only __e-mail addresses__ subscribed to R-help will be allowed to post to
>     >> R-help without any moderation, and we are even considering outright
>     >> rejection all non-subscribers, these latter decision coming
>     >> later.
>
>     DM> Does that mean that posting through the gmain/nabble pathway will no longer be
>     DM> possible?
>
> If you are *subscribed* to R-help, there definitely won't be a
> problem.
> Otherwise, such posting may have to wait for moderator approval,
> but I think that maybe could be changed to work automatically
> {at least as long as the spammers don't misuse it}.

It's worth mentioning that you can be subscribed and have no mail
delivered:  just check "Disabled" in the mail delivery options on the
subscription page.  That's what anyone using gmane should do, so that
they can still post without requiring action by a moderator.

Duncan Murdoch

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Re: R-help going to become

Dieter Menne
Duncan Murdoch <murdoch <at> stats.uwo.ca> writes:

> It's worth mentioning that you can be subscribed and have no mail
> delivered:  just check "Disabled" in the mail delivery options on the
> subscription page.  That's what anyone using gmane should do, so that
> they can still post without requiring action by a moderator.

Good point. I like the gmane interface, because it does not clutter my email,
and we should make this option clear. As having been spam banned from the list
by an anonymous Ceylon company, I strongly support Martin's decision.

Dieter

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Re: R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

hadley wickham
In reply to this post by Martin Maechler
> If you are *subscribed* to R-help, there definitely won't be a
> problem.
> Otherwise, such posting may have to wait for moderator approval,
> but I think that maybe could be changed to work automatically
> {at least as long as the spammers don't misuse it}.

Unless nabble/gmane have hefty anti-spam protection in place, spammers
will misuse those services.  A centralised target is just too
tempting.

Hadley

--
http://had.co.nz/

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Re: R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

Dieter Menne
hadley wickham <h.wickham <at> gmail.com> writes:

> Unless nabble/gmane have hefty anti-spam protection in place, spammers
> will misuse those services.  A centralised target is just too
> tempting.

Works well for gmane. You must be subscribed, and you have to enter a word from
a blurbed what's-that-called picture.


Dieter

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Re: R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

Martin Maechler
In reply to this post by Duncan Murdoch
>>>>> "DM" == Duncan Murdoch <[hidden email]>
>>>>>     on Thu, 31 Jan 2008 08:07:06 -0500 writes:

    DM> On 1/31/2008 6:48 AM, Martin Maechler wrote:
    >>>>>>> "DM" == Dieter Menne <[hidden email]>
    >>>>>>> on Thu, 31 Jan 2008 08:58:54 +0000 (UTC) writes:
    >>
    DM> Martin Maechler <maechler <at> stat.math.ethz.ch> writes:
    >> >>
    >> >> The consequence of this will be that .. before the weekend ..
    >> >> only __e-mail addresses__ subscribed to R-help will be allowed to post to
    >> >> R-help without any moderation, and we are even considering outright
    >> >> rejection all non-subscribers, these latter decision coming
    >> >> later.
    >>
    DM> Does that mean that posting through the gmain/nabble pathway will no longer be
    DM> possible?
    >>
    >> If you are *subscribed* to R-help, there definitely won't be a
    >> problem.
    >> Otherwise, such posting may have to wait for moderator approval,
    >> but I think that maybe could be changed to work automatically
    >> {at least as long as the spammers don't misuse it}.

    DM> It's worth mentioning that you can be subscribed and have no mail
    DM> delivered:  just check "Disabled" in the mail delivery options on the
    DM> subscription page.  That's what anyone using gmane should do, so that
    DM> they can still post without requiring action by a moderator.

    DM> Duncan Murdoch

Yes, indeed!  
Thanks Duncan, for mentioning that.

Martin

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Re: R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

François Pinard
In reply to this post by Dieter Menne
[Dieter Menne]
>hadley wickham <h.wickham <at> gmail.com> writes:

>> Unless nabble/gmane have hefty anti-spam protection in place, spammers
>> will misuse those services.  A centralised target is just too
>> tempting.

>Works well for gmane. You must be subscribed, and you have to enter
>a word from a blurbed what's-that-called picture.

A captcha.  See  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captcha

--
François Pinard   http://pinard.progiciels-bpi.ca

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Re: R-help going to become "subscriber-only"

Marc Schwartz
François Pinard wrote:

> [Dieter Menne]
>> hadley wickham <h.wickham <at> gmail.com> writes:
>
>>> Unless nabble/gmane have hefty anti-spam protection in place, spammers
>>> will misuse those services.  A centralised target is just too
>>> tempting.
>
>> Works well for gmane. You must be subscribed, and you have to enter
>> a word from a blurbed what's-that-called picture.
>
> A captcha.  See  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captcha

That becomes unneeded if one posts using the gmane NNTP interface as
opposed to the web interface. I don't use it for the R's lists, but do
for the various Fedora e-mail lists that I subscribe to.

The first time you post, you get a challenge/response e-mail to validate
your e-mail address, but then you treat it just like a Usenet group.

As Duncan noted, I am subscribed to those e-mail lists but do not have
any mail delivered. That is common for e-mail lists.

I have GNUS set up as my NNTP client and use it for these and regular
Usenet groups. This enable me to utilize all of the filtering features
of GNUS. One can of course use other such clients like Thunderbird, Pan,
Agent, etc.

This is one approach to keeping the list e-mails out of your regular
Inbox if you feel that the volume is problematic.

Another, which some have done, is to set up a Gmail account just for
list subscriptions, which keeps your "regular" e-mail account clean. You
can then set up labels (virtual folders) in Gmail to organize the list
e-mails and of course utilize Gmail's spam filtering. With Gmail, you
can just use the web interface, or use POP/IMAP clients to get the
e-mail on your desktop (or even on your smartphone.... ;-)

HTH,

Marc Schwartz

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