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Be careful about mailing lists

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  • Check the con­fig­u­ra­tion for your mail­ing lists
    Some mail­ing list soft­ware per­mits peo­ple to query the list serv­er to get all the address­es sub­scribed to a par­tic­u­lar list. This, as you can imag­ine, is like hit­ting the jack­pot for spam­mers. Good soft­ware can, how­ev­er, be set up so that only those who sub­scribe to the list can see who else is subscribed—ask the list own­er to do that. Since spam­mers do some­times sub­scribe to lists to get around that, an even bet­ter option is to set your own pref­er­ences on the list so that nobody but the list own­er can see that you are sub­scribed by doing such a query.
  • Keep your mes­sages out of list archives
    Some email pro­grams, like Eudo­ra, can be con­fig­ured to add an extra head­er to all out­go­ing mes­sages that reads:
    Restrict: no-exter­nal-archive
    That keeps your mes­sages from being archived for some lists. Because spam­mers have been known to go through list archives to har­vest address­es, that may be desir­able. The down­side, though, is that some peo­ple only read the web-based mes­sage archives for lists host­ed by Yahoo!Groups and sim­i­lar orga­ni­za­tions, and they won’t ever be able to see your messages.
  • Con­sid­er using sep­a­rate email address­es for each list.
    If you own a domain, that’s very easy to do, and it makes it easy to fil­ter the mes­sages for each list to their own fold­er for easy read­ing, too. So, for instance, I might use listmail@mydomain as a basic mail­ing list address, then use listmail-stitching@mydomain for a cross-stitch list, listmail-filk@mydomain for a filk music list, and so on. If you’re a gMail user, they ignore any­thing after a plus sign, so you can use dif­fer­ent address­es such as username+football@gmail, username+soccer@gmail, etc. Why do that? Because occa­sion­al­ly, some­one will har­vest email address­es from mail­ing lists, and if you start get­ting spam at a par­tic­u­lar mail­ing list’s address, you’ll know where it hap­pened. You can sim­ply change the address for that one list (after noti­fy­ing the list own­er that she has a prob­lem) and you will soon be spam-free and enjoy­ing the list again.

Back to Avoid­ing Spam

Pho­to by Andrew Neel on Unsplash