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Old 11 March 2005, 05:57   #1
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Attention all AOL users

This is long and boring. If you don't want to read the whole message, then at least scroll down to the end and take note!

The RIBnet forums have various features that, if enabled, will result in the system sending you email. These include:

- Receive email from administrators
- Receive email from other members
- Notification of new replies to subscribed threads
- Notification of new Private Messages

You can control which of these are applied to your account by using the "Options" section of your user control panel. Here's a direct link to make it easy: http://www.rib.net/forum/profile.php?do=editoptions

The AOL email program has a "Report as spam" button which allows users to easily report spam. Actually it allows users to report ANYTHING as spam. This means that ANY message the AOL user reports as spam will automatically be reported as such, regardless whether it actually is spam or obviously is not spam.

The accuracy of the report is not considered by AOL in this type of situation -- they will take action regardless. Whilst anti-spam measures are generally a good thing, this approach seems silly at best.

If enough email from the RIBnet forums is reported to AOL as spam, then AOL will just dump all email coming from the RIBnet mail servers. That's not all. It will potentially dump all emails coming from our host's servers which will have a much wider impact, and could threaten the future of RIBnet.

To see how widespread the problem is, try a Google search for AOL "report as spam" and have a read: http://www.google.com/search?q=aol+%22report+as+spam%22

This is also one explanation for why emails that are sent to you from various sources might not arrive. AOL is not a reliable email provider if you need to be sure that you will receive emails that are sent to you. If you have any questions concerning the procedures for reporting messages and the action that AOL takes, or would like to comment on their "blunt instrument" approach I would also encourage you to contact AOL:
http://postmaster.aol.com/

As of today I have reset the email options to "off" for all existing RIBnet users with AOL addresses. You are welcome to turn them back on again as you wish. Please let me know if you have any problems doing this. New members may have different defaults - please check!

Any AOL user who uses AOL's "Report as spam" feature to report RIBnet forum emails will be liable to have their account suspended indefinitely. If you accidently click the wrong button (let's face it, it's hardly a masterpiece of user interface design), please let me know as soon as possible.

I hope that this will stop the problem becoming a major issue, but if things continue to get worse I will have no option but to stop allowing any AOL email addresses to be used on RIBnet. Other forums and mailing lists have done this, but I would rather not as it will doubtless cause problems for some members. It will remain an option though!

So in summary:

If you use AOL's "Report as spam" feature to report email from the RIBnet forums you are likely to have your RIBnet account suspended indefinitely without notice.

Thanks for your cooperation!
John
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Old 13 March 2005, 16:26   #2
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And the first prize winner is Wdolidol who used AOL's "Report as spam" feature to report the email warning him not to. Go figure!

His RIBnet account has been suspended indefinitely.

John
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