Spam avoidance

Discussion in 'Python' started by Douglas Alan, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. Douglas Alan

    Douglas Alan Guest

    I've noticed that there is little to no spam in comp.lang.python and
    am wondering how this is accomplished. Is there a moderator who
    actively cancels spam? If so, that wouldn't seem to prevent spam from
    making it through to the mailing list version of the newsgroup. Is
    there an exceptionally good spam filter in place? If so, I haven't
    previously seen one that works so well. Have spammers just given up
    on Usenet, figuring that there are more exciting places to spam than
    the Big 8 dinosaur?

    The reason that I ask is that I help to run another newsgroup
    (rec.music.gaffa) and we avoid spam by requiring that every
    participant who wants to post has to register on a Mailman. But I
    think that this approach has the seriously detrimental effect of
    discouraging new participants, so I've been wondering about
    alternative approaches.

    |>oug
    Douglas Alan, Mar 21, 2006
    #1
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  2. Douglas Alan

    Guest

    Doug> I've noticed that there is little to no spam in comp.lang.python
    Doug> and am wondering how this is accomplished.

    Most mailing lists which originate on mail.python.org have SpamBayes
    filtering in front of them. The one notable exception are the two
    SpamBayes-related mailing lists.

    Skip
    , Mar 21, 2006
    #2
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  3. Douglas Alan

    Tim Peters Guest

    [Douglas Alan]
    >> I've noticed that there is little to no spam in comp.lang.python
    >> and am wondering how this is accomplished.


    [Skip Montanaro]
    > Most mailing lists which originate on mail.python.org have SpamBayes
    > filtering in front of them.


    Worth noting that the SpamBayes project started specifically because
    Barry Warsaw tricked me ;-) into thinking about a way to do spam
    filitering for GNU Mailman lists. My original "ham" test data was in
    fact a year's worth of comp.lang.python postings. The algorithms work
    extremely well for a focused tech mailing list (I don't know how they
    work on other kinds of lists, because those weren't tested).

    BTW, python.org uses other gimmicks too, right? For example, I think
    Greg Ward set up some other gimmicks to weed out obvious viruses.

    > The one notable exception are the two SpamBayes-related mailing
    > lists.


    Yup, and they do get their fair share of spam.
    Tim Peters, Mar 21, 2006
    #3
  4. Douglas Alan

    Terry Reedy Guest

    "Douglas Alan" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > I've noticed that there is little to no spam in comp.lang.python and
    > am wondering how this is accomplished. Is there a moderator who
    > actively cancels spam?


    For the newsgroup, as opposed to the maillist, there is no moderators.
    There may be readers who cancel spam.

    > If so, that wouldn't seem to prevent spam from
    > making it through to the mailing list version of the newsgroup. Is
    > there an exceptionally good spam filter in place? If so, I haven't
    > previously seen one that works so well. Have spammers just given up
    > on Usenet, figuring that there are more exciting places to spam than
    > the Big 8 dinosaur?


    People who spam the 'dinosaur' groups tend to lose their newsgroup
    accounts. News sites that cater to spammers and refuse to cancel can be
    blacklisted and disconnected from the main body of Usenet. (I know this
    was done in the 90s, and presume threat still exists.)

    > The reason that I ask is that I help to run another newsgroup
    > (rec.music.gaffa) and we avoid spam by requiring that every
    > participant who wants to post has to register on a Mailman. But I
    > think that this approach has the seriously detrimental effect of
    > discouraging new participants, so I've been wondering about
    > alternative approaches.


    news.gmane.net, which turns technical mailing lists into free-access
    newsgroups, sends a note to first time posters (per list, I believe) and
    requires a response before sending the message onward. Was no problem for
    me, as I appreciate the filtering.

    Terry Jan Reedy
    Terry Reedy, Mar 22, 2006
    #4
  5. Tim Peters <> wrote:
    > [Douglas Alan]
    >>> I've noticed that there is little to no spam in comp.lang.python
    >>> and am wondering how this is accomplished.

    >
    > [Skip Montanaro]
    >> Most mailing lists which originate on mail.python.org have SpamBayes
    >> filtering in front of them.

    >
    > BTW, python.org uses other gimmicks too, right? For example, I think
    > Greg Ward set up some other gimmicks to weed out obvious viruses.


    I'm mostly the guilty party at the moment. Incoming mail on
    mail.python.org goes through an SMTP server implemented in Python.
    The server uses SpamBayes to filter spam. We disallow attachments
    with executable filenames (e.g. .scr). That kills almost all virus
    mail. We use a number of realtime blackhole lists; they also block
    quite a lot of virus junk and some spam. There is a set of manually
    maintained message patterns; those kill some annoying junk that's
    hard to block in other ways. We do greylisting (two different
    kinds, actually). Some IP addresses get blackholed using iptables
    (e.g. zombie machines blasting out virus junk). If SpamBayes is
    unsure about a message to a list then it gets held for moderation.

    I suspect there are people working behind the scenes to cleanup the
    NNTP feed. The short answer to Douglas's question: good tools and a
    fair amount of elbow grease. :)

    Neil
    Neil Schemenauer, Mar 22, 2006
    #5
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