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address forwarding...(administrative)

It is becoming increasingly common on the internet that subscribers to
mailinglists invoke some sort of forwarding scheme-- mail to
"user at msn.com" or "yahooie at yahoo.com" is forwarded to a different
address.  This way the subscriber can keep one subscribed address but
just change the forwarding on a particular master host (yahoo or msn
in these examples). 

An increasing amount of my time administering the TIG is spent trying
to track down the original, subscribed address, in the case of a
message forwarded by a particular host.  The two scenarios are 1) a
bounce, such as when the ultimate (forwarded) address fails for an
explained reason ("account invalid", etc.) and 2) someone once
subscribed to the TIG wishes to unsubscribe, but doesn't know from
what address the messages are being forwarded (this latter case is
happening to two different people now receiving TIG messages, and one
of them is getting angry).  In both cases, with reasonably
well-written Mail Transport Agents, I can deduce the information
needed, and take appropriate action.  However, there are some bad
MTA's out there, that give me absolutely no clue as to the original
destination-- I'll append an example below.  The bounce message below
1) gives no indication at all of the original recipient; 2) reveals
that the MTA is sending syntax errors to uunet in its bounce
diagnostic; 3) contains a grammatical error [ok, now I'm being picky].

---begin example

Illegal-Object: Syntax error in From: address found on mail2.uunet.ca:
        From:   <>
                 ^-expected word
From: System Daemon <daemon at uunet.ca>
To: "Rob Lingelbach" <rob at alegria.com>
Subject: Mail failure

TO: "Rob Lingelbach"                                           DATE:
SUBJECT: Mail failure
This message could not be delivered to all it's recipients on IMAGE/LA
due to a missing P1 routing file.
Microsoft Mail v3.0 IPM.Microsoft Mail.Note

---end example---

[back to administrator talking now]
as a result of the increasing number of these inscrutable and
substandard error messages, I'm going to move toward implementing
VERP, or variable envelope return paths.  It will allow me to track,
in the header, hopefully, the recipient information.  Unfortunately,
it involves some major reconfiguration of the MTA and list management
scripts here.  Part of the reconfiguration is tested with this
message.. VERP not yet implemented, but I've had to change some other
things in order to start to use VERP.  Please stand by.  Do not adjust
the vertical.

thanks for your patience

Rob Lingelbach     | "I would give nothing for that man's religion
rob at alegria.com    |  whose very dog and cat are not the better for it."
www.alegria.com      --Rowland Hill, "Village Dialogues", via A. Lincoln

Thanks to Blake Jones of Jones Consulting for support in 1999.
No advertising/marketing allowed on the main TIG.  Contact rob at alegria.com
anonymous messaging now at http://www.alegria.com/HyperNews/get/ubique.html
1034 subscribers in 41 countries on Mon Feb  8 22:13:15 CST 1999 
subscribe/unsubscribe with that Subject: to telecine-request at alegria.com
complete information on the TIG website http://www.alegria.com/tig3/