[RC5] Re: [ANNOUNCE] Spam to distributed.net team members

Donald Whisnant dewhisna at ix.netcom.com
Thu Jun 17 18:04:25 EDT 1999

>We are looking into ways we can make it harder for spammers to harvest
>email addresses from the stats database. Given the determination of some
>spammers, it will be difficult for us to completely protect email
>addresses without taking the stats off-line completely. Currently, our best
>line of defense is to allow participants to be listed by something other
>than their email address. If anyone has other suggestions, feel free to
>send them to our mailing list, rc5 at lists.distributed.net.

Perhaps a solution is to have the system initally email you your password
when you signup (or start sending in completed blocks) -- this would
eliminate having to see the stats before being "registered"...  Then,
require a valid user/password pair to even view the stats with people's
email addresses....  This would at least keep spammers from getting
addresses without at least contributing to the effort...

If someone forgets their password, they could click a "I forgot my
password" link along with their email address -- if that was indeed a
valid working email address, it would email that person the password...
This way, there would be no need to see the stat's (i.e. email addresses)
without already having a password and being a valid participant -- and
not having a password or having forgotten the password wouldn't be an

Then, those that don't want email addresses displayed can use participant
id numbers...  And, possibly there could be sort of an "anon remailer"
setup that would allow people to converse while knowing only participant
numbers -- i.e. a server that would intercept requests to send to a
particular participant and convert it to real email addresses...  That
system could have spam filters incorporated -- such as requiring the
sender to also have a valid participant number....  At least this way,
it starts making the spammers trackable and accountable -- and at the
very least, they have to be helping out with the effort in the first

Donald Whisnant

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