Talk:Open mail relay

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Fallacies[edit]

I honestly can't help but wonder about the anon who seemed to confidently know so much about the early Internet's mail practices, yet manages to contribute such logical fallacies to WP as fact, and whose edits I am currently refining.

  1. Open relay elimination has had no effect on spam because spam volume has increased over the same time period that open relays have been eliminated.
    • Of course, this is inconclusive. The only way to convincingly argue that DNSBLs have had no effect on spam is to compare a system without open relays (and/or DNSBLs) and a system with them, and then compare the trends. Proving that DNSBLs has not stopped spam entirely has no bearing on whether or not it cuts down on some spam.
  1. The First Amendment requires other people to let me do and say whatever I want on another person's property.
    • This naggingly adolescent misconception is surprisingly (or perhaps not suprisingly) prevalent among so many vocal voices. If one's only understanding of the First Amendment consists solely of the two-word phrase "free speech", then they believe this means they can step on other people for their own ends. Of course, this is not true. Anyone who reads the text of the First Amendment (it's part of this big old piece of paper called the Constitution) sees that it prevents the government from arresting you because of what you say. But we have private property in this country; it is not a socialism where the government owns everything, and private property means that I control the things I own, and even if I let you use them, I still get to say how you use them, and I can decide not to let you use them, cause they're mine. This includes me not letting you using my email server.


Anyway, whee.

- Keith D. Tyler [flame] 19:46, Feb 2, 2005 (UTC)

    • Open relays were never eliminated, but were never the problem, either.
    • The First Amendment requires the government to let you say whatever you want in public.

Deananderson (talk) 21:33, 14 December 2007 (UTC)


Fubar[edit]

Fubar: Your edit comments are right, of course; I should have done away with the DNSBL crankiness instead of trying to fmt it. And I did fully intend to remove the section from "shooting the messenger" down to the "Paul Vixie won't do what we say" lament. - Keith D. Tyler [flame] 07:22, Feb 3, 2005 (UTC)

Obsoleted necessity?[edit]

A number of people (all anons) have added a snippet to the effect of "blocking open relays is today pointless because no one uses open relays to send spam anymore."

This is not a logical conclusion. The fact that no one is trying to break into your house does not mean that you should stop locking your doors or remove your alarm system.

- Keith D. Tyler [flame] 23:48, Feb 4, 2005 (UTC)

Right again. At the moment, people logging into my Linux hosts through unpassworded accounts is not a problem. That doesn't mean I should go set up a bunch of unpassworded accounts. :) --FOo 00:10, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Two Different Things[edit]

Keith Tyler: You leap from one topic to another. Open relay elimination has had no effect on spam. This is not unanticipated: RFC 2505, which advises people to secure their open relays, warns that the "relay rules" will not reduce spam. The issue is elimination of open relays, not DNSBLs. The implication of the caution in RFC 2505 is that DNSBLs will be necessary: the campaign to eliminate open relays will not reduce incoming spam because the incoming spam volume will remain undiminished as long as the number of available open relays to forward that spam is adequate for the spam volume. Stating that elimination of open relays doesn't affect spam says nothing about DNSBLs. It is probably true that many of the loudest DNSBL advocates are also among the loudest "secure the open relays" advocates. That doesn't change the nature of the statement about securing open relays being ineffectual. There is such a thing as being too eager to leap to the defense of DNSBLs.

(changing subject.) As far as the obsolesence of blocking open relays is concerned I agree heartily with what you say: while there is a possibility of abuse precautions against that abuse are necessary. I'd go further: while there is any chance that spammers might abuse open relays there should be active vigilance against them. For that I advocate open relay honeypots. Rather than act at the destination server level (as DNSBLs do) I advocate countering the spammers at the abuse level, which is what honeypots do.

I think a reasonable case can be made that it is open relay honeypots that have caused the decline in open relay abuse but I suspect putting that specifically into a Wikipedia article would just lead to a long and mostly fruitless battle. Suffice it to say that of the three main abuse-based spam pathways (open relay abuse, open proxy abuse, and zombie abuse) open relay abuse appears to have been largely knocked down. Were we still following the "secure your open relay" philosophy there would be little reason for the spammers to not abuse open relays.

Long and extensive descriptions of the theory behind open relay honeypots were posted in news.admin.net-abuse.email. While all (anti-spammer and spammer alike) could read those it appears that the spammers may have paid the most attention. (This is not to deny the value of the honeypots that were made available, such as Jackpot.) Seeing their vulnerability the spammers moved on to open proxy abuse. When open proxy honeypots began to appear the spammers started moving to zombie abuse to escape the wicked effectiveness of zombie honeypots, as used, for example, by Ron Guilmette.

There's no reason to not have zombie honeypots (and then there's not likely to be any new path the spammers can abuse after zombies.) Microsoft recently converted an actual zombie system to a honeypot and gathered enough evidence that they could file suit against about 20 defendants, most of them "John Does." That's ONE zombie honeypot, 20 defendants. Of course Microsoft has the legal resurces to successfully file the suits and the stature to do so but the power of that single honeypot should be appreciated. Ordinary users operate in precisely the part of the Internet that the spammers choose to abuse: zombie honeypots operated by such ordinary users could have a major anti-spam effect (and of course the spammers don't clearly know which IP addresses are honeypots nor do they know for any IP address that might be a zombie honeypot whether the operator is "just an ordinary user" or is a vey large organization with massive legal resources.)

Minasbeede 16:36, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Mail transfer by relaying forgotten?[edit]

This part of the article seems really foreign to me:

Nowadays, e-mail transfer by "relaying," or pass-along methods, is almost forgotten. Backbone networks and Internet switches make it cost effective and expeditious for end-user PCs or even cellphones to send mail directly to the target host, without need for relaying through a "middleman" site.

Don't almost all end users pass their outgoing mail via SMTP to their ISP's server, and isn't the proper term for that relaying? Compare "relay" with "open relay" – the latter implies that the sender may use a certain SMTP server without either him or the recipient mailbox being local to that server.

JöG 20:01, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

In terms of semantics, I would have to agree with you. However, in practice, "open relay" and "relay" were treated synonymously. That is to say, client -> client ISP -> recipient ISP -> recipient (with no "middleman" servers) was not considered to be relaying. This usage is not strictly correct but, hey, much English usage isn't. HairyWombat 04:23, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Massive Undo's to Old "Krellis" version[edit]

Wrs1894 (Bill Simpson?) is undo'ing cited information to present only one side of the open relay issue. I'd like to work that out. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Deananderson (talkcontribs) 2008-03-06T10:34:21

No, I'm not Bill Simpson, I believe he uses User:William_Allen_Simpson. I am well aware of your opinions on open relays and spams from the IETF lists, I took the courtesy of investigating them years ago and rechecked them before I reverted your changes here. As I mentioned in one of my reverts, Wikipedia:Npov#Undue_weight does not require minority opinions to be given equal weight and from all the information I've ever seen, your opinions on this subject are a tiny-minority. WP:NPOV requires at least a neutral point of view, of which the version you have made is not.
I do not intend to argue with you for the simple reason that I know that you have much more time to argue that I do. You are one of something like three people to have ever been banned from the IETF mailing lists and the efforts you went to in order to be banned and then to appeal the ban were, in my opinion, stunning. I will simply try to follow the Wikipedia rules. Wrs1864 (talk) 22:30, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I see that Wrs1864 added a comment indicating he refuses to talk, and then deleted this section. I remain committed to talking. The facts I have cited are, well, cited, and are facts. Deleting one entire point of view because it doesn't match his views seems to be inappropriate.

I have changed the heading with Depressing Reversal of Ethics to be quoted and lower case. This phrase connects to a quote in the text from Spam Kings.

Deananderson (talk) 16:52, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Dean, as per my editing summary comments, I have removed your text because I have investigated it and found it to be in violation of WP:NPOV. As per my comment above, Your text is also in violation of WP:COI because you are adding links to your own website (iadl.org) and WP:SOAP. It is unlikely either of our opinions on these subjects will change because many people, including me, have discussed this with you in great lengths on the IETF mailing lists. Please stop labeling my edits as vandalism. Wrs1864 (talk) 18:24, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Wayne (still don't know your last name): Your removal of adverse facts is a violation of the WP:NPOV. You aren't removing specific facts, you are removing everything. That is vandalism, and it is not a balanced point of view.

The links to the Chris Neill story is neither a conflict of interest (we aren't selling anything), nor is it a soapbox. It describes only the events including what Chris Neill himself wrote about the incident. It is a fair and true description of those events.

Deananderson (talk) 20:02, 7 March 2008 (UTC)


I have moved the Chris Neill text here while we resolve this dispute. This is the text:

Anti-spammers became the principal abusers of open relays. See The Chris Neill Story for an example of misguided activities by anti-spammers to prove the harm of open relays by abusing them. This led open relay operators to hide relays and generally not engage in the public discussion of open relay operations.

I could remove the links to the iadl site, or move them to the external links section, and provide links directly to the emails that establish the facts of the event. Would that be acceptable?

Deananderson (talk) 20:25, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

BTW, I find it odd that people assert my view is the minority, but also complain (FTC conference, 2003) that there over 400,000 open relays on the internet. I think my view is in the majority. But in the past, open relay operators have generally not come forward to confront radical anti-spammers about open relays. I'm just in the minority of those that will engage in discussion with radicals.

Anyway, facts can either support a point of view, or be adverse to it. But the facts themselves are objective, and don't care. I've also noticed that the people on the other side of the open relay issue can't stand the adverse facts. Their view doesn't hold up in the face of the adverse facts. That's exactly why I win everytime the lawyers get involved.

Deananderson (talk) 21:08, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

To answer your question, I do not think it would be appropriate for you to add any links to any of your websites to this article. Thinking about this a little more, what you have really done here is what is called WP:COATRACK. You have used this article as a soap box to attack various people who you have had problems with in the past. For what is worth, while we have certainly been in the same IETF mailing lists and such, I suspect you would not recognize my name, we haven't had any "run ins" there. However, that was primarily because I could easily just ignore you. Wrs1864 (talk) 02:55, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
400,000 out of how many total? And we don't know if those servers are just misconfigured or if their sysadmins are lazy. ffm 20:34, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

I haven't used this article to attack anyone; no one has been attacked. There is no superfluous critical commentary; Just the facts. What is documented are events that happened and that influenced the history of open relay. Selectively removeing adverse facts to gives a distorted impression of events. I think your objection to my collection of information is nothing more than a kind of personal attack on me. But I'll be willing to have others take a look at the journalism situation, through the dispute process. I'll try to figure that out more on Monday.

Deananderson (talk) 19:47, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Section 1 Dispute (NPOV) There is nothing promoting Dean Anderson or a non-NPOV in this section in the version edited by Dean Anderson and others. The "Krellis" version contains inaccuracies.

Anderson adds:

An open relay is any relay that accepts mail from a source outside of its home IP address network for delivery to a destination outside of its home IP address network. Obviously, if you gateway between the Internet generally and some non-Internet network, open relay is necessary.
A closed relay is any relay that accepts email only from a source inside its home network for delivery to destinations inside or outside of its home network;
Or a closed relay is any relay that accepts email from a source inside or outside its home network for delivery only to a destination inside its home network.
In 1986, the architects of the SMTP protocol decided not to put the numeric IP address of the sender in the "Received:" header.[1] This created the ability to send anonymous email and was eventually called anonymous relay. Because of the flaw, the sender was never fully identified by anything but what the sender himself created, so the sender was effectively anonymous. The "Received:" header was soon changed to include the sender's IP Address after people posted abusive messages on the pre-commercial internet.[citation needed]. Although there was no distinction between open or closed relays at this time, if the IP Address isn't recorded in the received header, a closed relay would be subject to the same anonymous abuse. Anonymous email abuse stopped because the relay (open and closed) records the identity IP address of the sender, which the sender can't alter. By the time spam came along beginning in approximately 1994[citation needed], there were virtually no anonymous relays. People who thought anonymous email was good for whistle-blowing and such, operated anonymous re-mailers which stripped the identifying "Received:" headers and other identifying information.[citation needed]

The "Krellis" version incorrectly states that SMTP relaying is almost forgotten. Anderson corrects this to state that "SMTP relaying," or pass-along methods, is still the standard.

The "Krellis" version incorrectly states that

Backbone networks and Internet switches make it cost effective and expeditious for end-user PCs or even cellphones to send mail directly to the target host, without need for relaying through a "middleman" site.

Anderson corrects this to say

While many Backbone networks and ISPs allow end-user PCs or even cellphones to send mail directly to the target host, without need for relaying through a "middleman" site, the SMTP client must still engage with SMTP Relay servers which are identified either in the client configuration (pass-along) or else by using DNS MX Records (directly). The target host may also block the PC or Cellphone network because they are frequently infected with botnets. Or, the Network provider may block outbound SMTP and require use of its own relay. This isn't open relay, but the PC or Cellphone doesn't know the difference. Also, corporate users and particularly consultants may want to roam on other networks without email configuration changes, or they may want to have their corporate mail server do some special processing.

The "Krellis version states that

The underlying communication methods of the Internet already provide end-to-end connectivity via a pass-along method.

Anderson expands this to say:

The underlying communication methods of the Internet remain largely the same as they were in 1993 and continue to provide end-to-end connectivity as well as a pass-along method. The need to open relay or closed relay depends entirely on the location of the user, the location of the mail server they want to use, and the location of the recipient of the message they send. If the user is outside the home network of the mail server, and the recipient is outside the home network of the mail server, then open relay or an alternate protocol is necessary. There have been proposals for active authentication methods, but passive authentication (open relay, monitor for abuse) is preferred in some cases.


There is nothing controversial about these changes.


Section 2 Dispute Abuse by spammers and a "depressing reversal of ethics" (NPOV) Anderson's version adds facts, citations. There is nothing non-neutral about these facts. They are merely adverse to the views of the opponents of open relays.

The article now includes the following in section 2:

"spammers resorted to re-routing their e-mail through third party e-mail servers to avoid detection.[6] After this practice became widespread, the practice of operating an open relay came to be frowned upon among the majority of Internet server administrators and other prominent users,[6]"

The WIRED article cited as a reference for these two assertions does not demonstrate or prove the claims being made. The cited article is about the blacklists that formed after ORBS.ORG was shut. Nothing more is proven, except quotes from the blacklist operators. In fact, the ORBS shutdown is one of the abuses of anti-spammers. It is evidence of abuse of open relays by anti-spammers. Indeed, the ORBS blacklist was shut because, self-described anti-spammer Alan Brown was caught and sued for lying about open relays. The article just quotes persons who support a known, court-proven, liar, so these are not credible, truthful or reliable sources. Not one single genuine commercial bulk emailer has ever been caught abusing open relays since 1997. However, self-described anti-spammers have been caught abusing open relays. (eg Chris Neill) While it appears credible that Sanford Wallace abused open relays for a short period in 1997, there is absolutely no evidence that this practice continued past 1997. After 1997, genuine spammers used dialup and dynamic IP addresses to circumvent blacklists. Because of that, there was no need and no benefit in open relay abuse to the genuine commercial bulk mailer. Further, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) enabled open relay operators to recover costs. The genuine spammers knew that, too. The anti-spammers (who abused relays or lied about open relays) were the only persons ever to dispute the CFAA applied to email and in particular, to open relay abuse. The assertions in Section 2 are without merit and misrepresent the history.

Deananderson (talk) 21:48, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Section 3 Dispute Anti-spam efforts against open relays (NPOV) Chris Neill episode to be cited by direct sources (spaml, rbl-discuss, Nanog). Dean Anderson to provide new text. The "Krellis" version overstates the use of DNSBLs by ISPs, and includes unsubstantiated statistical claims.

Section 4 dispute (Modern Day Proponents) Remove section on Dean Anderson as a modern day proponent from Anderson's version? I can live with that. How about Mitch Halmu as an open relay advocate who operated an ISP? Krellis version overstates the effect of open relay blocking, and overstates the use of Open Relay blacklists by ISPs.

Section 7 dispute (External Links) (NPOV) There is nothing controversial about the external links added by Anderson, or about the comment to be sure you have permission before testing a mailserver.

Deananderson (talk) 00:15, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Accusation of Self-Promotion/COI made against Dean Anderson[edit]

Self-promotion

Conflict of interest often presents itself in the form of self-promotion, including advertising links, personal website links, personal or semi-personal photos, or other material that appears to promote the private or commercial interests of the editor, or their associates.

Examples of these types of material include:

  1. Links that appear to promote products by pointing to obscure or not particularly relevant commercial sites (commercial links).
  2. Links that appear to promote otherwise obscure individuals by pointing to their personal pages.
  3. Biographical material that does not significantly add to the clarity or quality of the article.

The dispute of self-promotion involves the links to the Chris Neill Story. The IADL.ORG site contains links and copies of email messages to well-known mailing list by the parties involved in the incident. Anderson was one of the parties involved. Much of the information on the cited IADL.ORG page is from mailing list posts by Chris Neill about the incident. It is not the case the IADL.ORG site shows only one side of the dispute. IADL.ORG is a website Dean Anderson maintains, but it is not a personal website. It does not promote any personal, private, or commercial interests of Dean Anderson, nor any business interest of Dean Anderson. While the dispute between Anderson and Neill may be similar in some respects to a legal adversary, in fact Anderson was never a party to any of the actual legal aspects of the dispute: Anderson did not complain to the FBI. Anderson merely disputed Neill's public claims that it was legally OK to abuse open relays. When Neill abused Anderson's relays, Anderson complained to Neill's employer, Verio. Neill's abuse of Anderson's relays started a chain of events that eventually led to the termination of his employment with Verio.

This is event is significant to open relay history because many people at the time believed Neill's public assertions about the law. These assertions led persons opposed to open relays to abuse open relays. This fact consequently caused advocates of open relay to hide open relays, and also caused open relay advocates not to engage in public discussion of open relays.

To the extent there is a conflict of interest, that conflict is disclosed, and Anderson therefore complies with the COI policy.

Deananderson (talk) 15:44, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Dean, I'm not going to debate your website here, but from my investigations years ago and rechecking it recently, I find it highly biased and a horrible case of cherry-picking "facts". The problem with the conflict of interest is you are promoting your own website, which is explained on the WP:COI page. At least at the time you wrote your website, you were also running open mail relays and promoting their use, which makes you too close to the subject to be unbiased. This is also explained on the WP:COI page. It isn't that I have not listened to you or though about your arguments, it is that I have listened to them many many times before. Wrs1864 (talk) 16:42, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Obviously, you are the one "cherry picking". My site shows the other side; Yours does not. I'm not promoting the website. The external link is about Chris Neill and provides access to the email messages of the dispute. You are a self-described "anti-spammer", which makes you too close to the subject to be unbiased, too, then.

But obviously, we *can* agree on what an open relay is. We *can* also agree on the history of the events. But you want to remove adverse facts that were significant parts of the history. Your cherry picking skews the presentation, and creates an biased and unbalanced view of open relays. My facts are cited and are verifiable. You just don't like the facts, and you don't like the person pointing them out.

The IETF issues are the subject of current litigation. Please do not mention this. It is irrelevant to this issue. I was not banned for misbehavior on the IETF. The subject matter involved a complaint about DNS patents and discussion of DNS Root Anycast stability. There was a consensus call that favored me (that is, no ban) 15-2. The IESG falsely reported a consensus against me. The ban was in violation of IETF rules, and also in violation of the law that applies to membership corporations regarding the removal of membership rights. I am a member in good standing of the Internet Society, Inc, a non-profit membership organization. It is probably true that I was banned for having a particular viewpoint, but that is contrary to both the IETF rules and the law, which is why there is current legal activity.

Protected[edit]

The page is now protected for five days. During this time, please try and find common ground and arrive to a version that all can live with. If you cannot, this is a good time to pursue dispute resolution such as third opinions or requests for comments. If you are ready to resume editing or to contest the protection, place a request at WP:RFPP. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:10, 10 March 2008 (UTC)


{{editprotected}}

N Not done. This template is for noncontroversial edits that have consensus; this request obviously does not have consensus. - Revolving Bugbear 18:30, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

I think the last change made by Wrs1864 (a complete replacement replacing non-disputed parts and replacing all 5 sections of the page) represents bad faith. This change should be reverted, and the dispute resolved over the disputed section. I had already removed the disputed text from the page.

Deananderson (talk) 16:24, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Dean, I feel that the vast bulk of your edits were in violation of WP:NPOV and were very much in dispute. I do not think you should be making these edits because you are causing WP:COI, WP:SOAP and WP:COAT. It is my impression that Fubar Obfusco feels similarly, but since I've had disputes with him in the past, it would be best for him to speak for himself. It appears that your earlier edits were disputed by John Levine, krellis, and a few others. Wrs1864 (talk) 16:58, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

I have just discovered a personal beef Wrs1864 (actually Wayne Schlitt), may have with me. Wayne was on the SPF Council, advocating SPF at the IETF. I advocated against SPF, and partly due to my efforts (and that of many others), the MARID Working Group decided to recommend against SPF and to close down work on SPF. This is why he wouldn't reveal his full name. However, he used the wrs1864 moniker in IRC chat discussions on the Marid working group, and connected that discussion to the real name, and to www.schlitt.net, his personal website, as well as archived messages to the Marid Working Group (ietf-mxcomp) mailing list.

Deananderson (talk) 16:47, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Dean, as I have said on my user page for a very long time that any geek can quickly figure out who I am. As such, I do not think I was hiding my name from you at all. I was amused that it took you so long to find this out. I do not have any sort of personal beef with you, any more than I have with, say, John Levine. I have previously mentioned on things like the Talk:Domain_Name_System#SPF_records that I have a CoI there. I do not have anything to do with open relays. If a conflict with you on the IETF on any subject somehow excludes participation on the wikipedia, then a very large number of people would have to be excluded. As far as SPF and the IETF, there was no recomendation *against* it, and indeed, the IETF published an RFC on it. Wrs1864 (talk) 16:59, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

There is nothing on your wikipedia page that indicates that you are Wayne Schlitt.

I don't know what to say about your SPF claims. How about this to refute them: MARID To Close, no consensus on MTA Auth records (SPF): Closing_Marid All of the MARID drafts are dead or unapproved: Marid_WG The Experimental RFCs 4406 and 4407 (draft-lyon-senderid-core and draft-lyon-senderid-pra) were individual submissions approved in the experimental category. These two RFCs are not technically standards. But the SPF status isn't really relevant to anything, here. Why do you make such irrelevant assertions? I shouldn't bother refuting them. All that is relevant is that we had a previous dispute about SPF that you knew about, and that I didn't know that Wrs1864 was Wayne Schlitt. You knew me, but I didn't know you right away. Good faith would have been to reveal to me that we previously had a dispute over SPF.

I (We) don't know who "Fubar Obfusco" or "Krellis" are. And John Levine removed only the cited facts about John Levine's involvement with commercial bulk emailers. Levine definitely has a conflict of interest. Its obvious why Levine would want to hide that information, being he is also the head of the Anti-Spam Research Group.

Other editors improved on text I wrote, making it better without changing the impor t or what I was trying to say. Apparently, not everything I write is as controversial as you claim. And you don't even dispute everything you have changed. You have merely removed my writings in furthering a personal vendetta against me. Even if every open relay opponent virulently hates my guts, that doesn't justify the removal of all of my writings on the open relay article.

Deananderson (talk) 18:12, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Third Opinion: Regardless of anything else, Self Published Soruces makes your page inadmissable, and could be considered promotion. The source also has some WP:NPOV problems. ffm 21:26, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Also, please be sure to take a peek at our policy on verifiability, especially check out the reliable sources and self-published sources sections. Naturally, be sure to take a peek at our policies regarding original research (particularly the stuff about synthesis of concepts), and finally the trifecta-completer, our neutral point of view policy. Long story short, this article is not the place to formulate ideas or hypothesize.
Remember that most importantly, Wikipedia is not a battleground, so this is not the place to fight between each other in order to advance one view or another. Civility is key. --slakrtalk / 21:50, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

So if one instead cites the spaml post by Chris Neill explaining his view of what happened, and the posts to Nanog and RBL-discuss mailing lists, everything is OK? I offered to do that at the beginning of the dispute.

Deananderson (talk) 23:43, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Actually, this exact argument is why we have our conflict of interest guideline. When two editors on a page are both personally invested in the topic, their conflict of interest throws a huge wedge in normal editing of the page, resulting in a stalemate where everyone loses when the page gets protected. --slakrtalk / 01:26, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

I think I understand: The interest of wikipedia is getting verifiable facts. How do we resolve the stalemate on the edits that are disputed vaguely? I listed each change to each section, above. Several days have now passed with no specific comments. Nor have any specific objections been made. The vague objections don't seem to be based on genuine complaints, but are sort of a personal attack of deleting all of my contributions without cause. Well, without cause other than to frustrate advocates of open relays and cause them to abandon efforts to balance the article. One of the notes above is to "assume good faith". In law, good faith is an affirmative defense. It is the absence of bad faith. By "affirmative defense", one must assert affirmative acts A,B,C etc that one did to comply with the obligations to honesty. Here, it seems that good faith also cannot be assumed, but is affirmatively required in the form of a citation of a verifiable fact or a specific objection to wording.

Everyone who has experience and knowledge about a particular subject has a personal investment in that subject. Particularly in the case of open relay, opponents have made a practice of attacking anyone who opposes them. They've had some success at getting open relay advocates to avoid public discussion through such attacks. This is exactly what the Neill event demonstrates. Omitting or deleting such facts enables the false conclusion that there aren't any proponents and/or that they are a "tiny minority" point of view.

It seems to me that as long as verifiable facts are added and not removed, that such conflicts of interest can be resolved by the improvements of adding verifiable facts into the article. Is there a policy of wikipedia that verifiable facts aren't to be removed by persons with contrary interests?

Also, on a more specific question: Is it the case that everything in the External Links section must go since these sites are self-published? Or can we agree that some information may not be as reliable as the main article, but still useful? And assuming we can do so and we agree, must we state a disclaimer on the External Links section? Deananderson (talk) 21:45, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

re-write[edit]

I have re-written much of the section on closing e-mail relays. If any of my changes are inconsistent with consensus, then please put a note on my talk page. Bwrs (talk) 17:28, 14 June 2008 (UTC)