Mail behaviour that I hate

There are many things in E-mail that irritate me.
Some of them are:

But people won't listen to me, and punishing them by hanging out their names in public like this isn't going to help much. So instead, I've found two objects of really irritating behaviour that I've chosen as my particular windmills to tilt at.

Mailing lists that do not change MAIL FROM

RFC 1123 (Host Requirements) says:

  5.3.6  Mailing Lists and Aliases

    An SMTP-capable host SHOULD support both the alias and the list
    form of address expansion for multiple delivery.  When a
    message is delivered or forwarded to each address of an
    expanded list form, the return address in the envelope
    ("MAIL FROM:") MUST be changed to be the address of a person
    who administers the list, but the message header MUST be left
    unchanged; in particular, the "From" field of the message is

Some mailing lists are run like giant aliases, NOT changing the MAIL FROM address, with the result that bounce messages are returned to the original sender, and not the mailing list administrator.

Some lists are so big and so poorly maintained that whenever I send a message to them, I get 2 or 3 bounce messages back.

I hate that to the degree that I won't use such lists.

MTAs that bounce to the From address

RFC 1123 says:

   5.3.3  Reliable Mail Receipt

      If there is a delivery failure after acceptance of a message,
      the receiver-SMTP MUST formulate and mail a notification
      message.  This notification MUST be sent using a null ("<>")
      reverse path in the envelope; see Section 3.6 of RFC-821. The
      recipient of this notification SHOULD be the address from the
      envelope return path (or the Return-Path: line).  However, if
      this address is null ("<>"),  the receiver-SMTP MUST NOT send a
      notification.  If the address is an explicit source route, it
      SHOULD be stripped down to its final hop.

Some mailers send to the From: or Sender: line from the headers. Some of them are on crippled systems that don't have any place to put the Return-Path: or similar info; others are simply broken.

A variation is mailers that send both bounce and reply messages to the envelope "from"; these are "beloved" by listadmins, but don't worry the peons on the list too much.

The Wall Of Shame

When someone breaks these rules, I've often sent them a message. From now on, I will start hanging out the names of the relevant MTAs and mailing lists here, for all to see and be warned.

Of course, my hope is that people will take action to correct the problem; I'll be all too happy to remove MTAs and lists from this list!

Mailing lists that don't change MAIL FROM

MTAs that bounce to Sender: or From:

The mailers that are structurally unable to do this right include:

Other mailers that seem to do this include:

Cases that I'm not sure about

In some cases, I just get a bounce, and can't figure out who did the Wrong Thing. Then I'll list both the ML and the end system here until I figure out what happened.

Last modified: Fri Jan 3 08:48:46 1997