[ih] history of bounce processing, was update about bogus list unsubcribe requests

John R. Levine johnl at iecc.com
Fri Aug 26 13:55:04 PDT 2016

>> If this list is like many other old mailman lists, it does no bounce
>> pruning at all, with predictably unfortunate results.
> We do use bounce processing, FWIW. It simply failed to work for this
> address, for whatever reason.

OK.  Having looked at the bounce code in some list managers, I'm not 

So since we're talking about Internet history anyway, ...

I assume that back in the heroic era when lists were just large MTA 
aliases, the bounces went back to the human manager who did whatever was 
needed.  Since most of the bounces were actually those obnoxious sendmail 
"It's been two hours and I'm still working on it, and will tell you again 
two hours from now", the usual action was nothing.

Dan Bernstein's VERP hack showed up in qmail in about 1998.  It embedded 
the recipient address in the bounce address, which made automatic 
processing pretty easy, at to the extent that bounce messages actually 
menat that an address didn't work.  When did list managers start parsing 
DSNs and DSN-like things such as the "Hi. This is ..." that qmail and its 
relatives produce?


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