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Stupid Anti-Spammer Watch: This Mortifies You?


By Ken Magill

For an example of how inappropriately hypersensitive some anti-spammers can be, consider a recent discussion thread on the SDLU [spammers don’t like us] email list.

Someone on the list posting under the name Malcolm apparently had his Gmail account hacked and some spam was sent through it from China to addresses on the mailing-history list Google keeps on his behalf.

A little clarifying information is in order: Whether or not a Gmail account holder keeps a contact list, every address the account holder has ever mailed is kept on record.

This way, when the Gmail account holder starts typing an address in the “to” field, if they’ve mailed it before, it will be included in a helpful list of addresses with identical beginning letters that pops up so they can simply click on it rather than finish typing.

So while Malcolm thought he was taking necessary precautions against his address getting hacked and being used for spamming purposes—such as a strong password and not keeping a contact list—his password was apparently stolen and his mailing-history list got spammed.

The incident prompted Malcolm to start slapping himself around.

“Embarrassingly, some of those addresses include people and organisations who are heavily involved in the fight against spam, and who might have expected better of me. I shall do better in future,” wrote Malcolm in one post about the incident.

And in another, he wrote: “I am mortified, as you can probably imagine, that hackers gained access to my GMail account and spammed from an IP in China; but even more mortified to discover that my careful plan to minimise the risk from such an eventuality by declining to keep any addresses in my ‘Contacts’ was utterly compromised by Google's way of doing things.”

Mortified? Dude, it was a simple oversight.

How oversensitive can these people be that Malcolm thought public self flagellation was necessary over a trivial incident that he couldn't be reasonably expected to have foreseen? Very, apparently.

And there’s a possible explanation: SDLU is apparently a group that formed after at least one abusive anti-spammer was booted off the Spam-L discussion list and others were told to be more civil.

“A bunch of them left Spam-L to form this after being told to stop being shitty on Spam-L,” wrote one source in an email exchange with The Magill Report.

So if the source is right, SDLU is populated by folks who didn’t want to be told to exercise a little common courtesy. SDLU is apparently the online equivalent of rage therapy for folks who can’t control themselves.

If they were cartoon characters, they’d have swirly eyes.

No wonder Malcolm felt compelled to beat himself up.


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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: Zoe (A current SDLU Listmod)
Date: 2011-01-29 09:35:36
Subject: The birth of SDLU

Hi. A brief expanation of how SDLU started. The "List Owner" (as you call him), decided to take over sole control of the list by kicking out the list mods/trustees and banning them from the list. He also banned a number of other people who had the gall to object to him doing this. He hijacked the list because he did not agree with group decisions made by the the rest of the moderators/trustees. The old Spam-L listmods plus a few other helpers/advisors then formed SDLU. Since that time, Spam-L has ceased to exist, and the majority of non-lurkers and a fair few of the lurkers have now joined SDLU. All the best. Zoƫ (Writing this on my own behalf - I am NOT an official spokesperson for SDLU)
Posted by: Laura
Date: 2011-01-25 18:05:33

I remember things differently from how Andrew does. Which just goes to show you that all of us have different interpretations of what happened.
Posted by: Ken Magill
Date: 2011-01-25 16:41:38
Subject: Spam-L to SDLU

Thanks for the clarification, Andrew. I appreciate it.
Posted by:
Date: 2011-01-25 15:15:10
Subject: Spam-L to SDLU

The characterization of the raison d'etre for SDLU is not entirely accurate. Folks didn't leave because they wanted free reign to act shitty, but because of the inconsistency with which the list owner applied the civility rule. When some of the volunteer assistant moderators actually moderated some shitty actors, the owner booted the volunteers. The volunteers started SDLU, and Spam-L became irrelevant and then non-existent. -Andrew Barrett.