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Subject: re: [ubl-comment] Spam in ubl-comment mail


Allow some clarification of your observations below.

First, and foremost, please know it is OASIS' primary objective in providing
comment lists to UBL and ~70 other Technical Committees is to provide a
forum for the general public to make a comment or legitimate observation to
the UBL Technical Committee, without the cost or encumbrance of joining
OASIS or the UBL TC.  We encourage public comments as an important part of
the OASIS process; to suggest otherwise is wrong.

Secondary to that, we like everyone else, are victims of spam.  We too get
spam as subscribers to the UBL-comment list.  As interested service
providers we also recognize the business cost and distraction that spam
inflicts on our members and subscribers.  We filter from distribution
thousands of emails daily--all targeting our mail lists with viruses and
spam, but we know that is not enough.  On a personal level, I still must use
a simple client level spam filter.  This combination catches most spam that
I receive, via the UBL-comment list or elsewhere. Nonetheless, I am still
annoyed by the volume of spam, like everyone else.

For years, we effectively controlled spam to the UBL-comment list (and
hundreds of other OASIS controlled mail lists) by restricting posts to
subscribers-only.  Most people seeing this message will attest to both that
requirement and the annoyance of the process.  With that in mind, we
instituted the Comment Form to allow non-subscribers to share their
legitimate comments with the TC without the burden of the subscription
requirement.  Unfortunately, someone has figured out how to spoof the
comment form process to send spam via the Comment Form to this and a few
other mail lists.  Still, most of our public comment lists benefit from the
spam protection and simplicity of the Comment Form.

Jon, I am sorry that there are so few good options to prevent spam from
those so determined to distribute it.  I am not sorry though, that OASIS
will continue to manage this issue thoughtfully. The issue of spam
management is a complex one, one that extends well beyond the borders of
OASIS.  Our response to this issue must consider the open culture of OASIS,
the thousands of members and tens of thousands of subscribers.  This
explains our hesitancy to require TC Chairs to be comment gatekeepers or to
perform mass unsubscriptions from our lists, as you requested. The solution
we apply to your TC and comment list must also serve all our community.   

Going forward, we are interested in any ideas on how to best control spam,
while providing a public comment facility to our Technical Committees.
OASIS members can send their suggestions to
oasis-member-discuss@lists.oasis-open.org The public can send their ideas to
oasis-public-discuss@lists,oasis-open.org We know the spam problem is not
unique to OASIS, we hope the answer will not be either.

Meanwhile, I can tell you that the unsubscribe instructions do work, and I
know of no better place to put that information than at the bottom of the
email--that seems to be the universally accepted place for such info.  The
unsubscription process requires that you respond to a mail server inquiry.
In this way, we know each subscriber has control of their subscriptions and

Hope that helps,

Scott McGrath
Director Member Services

+ 1 978 667-5115 ext 202
+ 1 978-667-5114 fax
PO Box 455
630 Boston Rd
Billerica, MA  01821 USA

> -----Original Message-----
> From: jon.bosak@sun.com [mailto:jon.bosak@sun.com]
> Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 7:15 PM
> To: ubl-comment@lists.oasis-open.org
> Cc: scott.mcgrath@oasis-open.org
> Subject: [ubl-comment] Spam in ubl-comment mail
> Hello ubl-comment subscribers,
> I imagine that you're about as irritated as I am with the junk
> that's been coming through on this list.  Here's what's happening.
> For starters, you should understand that (according to OASIS) the
> spam we've been seeing for the last few months has been coming
> through the comment form linked from the UBL TC page, not from
> subscribers to the ubl-comment list.
> In the beginning of the UBL effort, there was no ubl-dev list for
> inquiries, so we used the publicly subscribable ubl-comment list
> for Q&A.  OASIS frowned on this practice, and when we started up
> ubl-dev for Q&A, there was no good reason to try to preserve this
> function, so I tried per their requests to quash such discussions
> on the ubl-comment list as they arose.  It being nearly impossible
> to get people to cooperate with this kind of request nowadays, I
> asked OASIS to simply unsubscribe everyone with the exception of a
> couple of people the TC would designate to forward genuine
> comments into the issues list.  But I was never successful in
> getting the OASIS administration to go along with this idea.
> When some spam started coming into the comment list from people
> who would subscribe for this purpose, OASIS dealt with the problem
> not by unsubscribing everyone as originally requested by rather by
> disabling subscriptions.  Unfortunately, disabling the ability to
> subscribe also disables the ability to unsubscribe.  So now that
> the spammers have figured out how to use the comment form on the
> TC page for input, we're left with a mail list that has over 300
> subscribers, none of whom are supposed to use it for input and
> none of whom can unsubscribe.
> I have suggested to OASIS yet again that they implement the
> original idea of unsubscribing everyone except a couple of
> designated gatekeepers.  So now (having basically no other
> alternatives) they are actually considering it, but of course that
> could take a while.
> In the meantime, however, I am informed (I hope correctly) that
> you can now unsubscribe from the ubl-comment list and at least get
> out from under the spam while OASIS figures out what they're going
> to do.  Indeed, if you go down to the bottom of these spam
> messages (which understandably no one ever does), you will see
> this line:
>    To unsubscribe, e-mail: ubl-comment-unsubscribe@lists.oasis-open.org
> This being the case (I hope), I suggest that everyone take
> advantage of this window of opportunity to unsubscribe *right now*
> without waiting another couple of years for OASIS to come to this
> conclusion on their own and before they turn off
> subscribe/unsubscribe due to some spammer figuring out that
> subscription has been enabled again.  I will stay on the list and
> promise to forward any non-spam comment we might happen to get.
> We should probably keep the current document editors subscribed as
> well, since they are generally the ones who have to make sure that
> the real comments get disposed of properly.
> If you try this and find that you can't unsubscribe after all, DO
> NOT COMPLAIN TO ME OR TO THIS LIST because there is nothing that I
> or the other members of the list can do about it.  Instead,
> complain to scott.mcgrath@oasis-open.org and ask to be removed
> from the ubl-comment list manually.
> If you can in fact unsubscribe but decide that you don't want to
> because you don't trust me and the editors to properly handle real
> comments (which appears to be what OASIS is worried about), then
> go ahead and stay on the list, but if you choose to stay and
> receive the junk mail, please don't complain about it.  And don't
> reply to anything, whether a real comment or not, because that's
> not what this list is for; take it to ubl-dev.
> Jon
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> To unsubscribe, e-mail: ubl-comment-unsubscribe@lists.oasis-open.org
> For additional commands, e-mail: ubl-comment-help@lists.oasis-open.org

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