Interesting idea. I think what you are suggesting is to turn the Amsat email forwarding service into an email lookup / reply service, where the sender of the original message would receive a means for contacting you (your contact email address) in a non-machine readable form. The original message would be discarded. They would then contact you via a second message, to that (human readable) address. Spam would be eliminated, and the legitimate people wanting to contact you would be enabled to do so directly.
A few thoughts...
1. As has been noted by others, most folks aren't getting a lot of spam (I've received a couple over the past many years, but not nearly enough to be a problem), so the service as it stands seems to be working. If I recall correctly, there was a problem a few years ago, and that was corrected by switching providers or something like that. The folks maintaining the reflector seem to be on top of things.
2. The current service does hide your real email address from the as-yet unknown-to-you sender; your response to them can be from any email address you choose, or not at all, depending on your mood at the time. An automatic reply would disclose your address to someone unknown to you without your knowledge. Though the address could certainly be an address you specifically set up for this purpose, and the auto-responder could notify you of the attempt, the horse would have already left the barn. So, it is a bit of a security concern.
3. Machine-based Captcha response engines are reported to be getting pretty good, and in theory could be modified to bypass your gateway. It's probably not worth it, at least right now, but if your concept were deployed widely, and on sites with higher potential payback, the spammers attention might be directed to do the required engineering.
Phil Karn wrote:
A significant fraction of the spam I get on my primary email account comes by way of the amsat.org email reflector; by my count, 18 of the 76 spam emails I've received in the last day.
But I don't want to just shut it off; sometimes people I do want to hear from make contact that way. And I've used it to contact others whose email addresses I don't know, but who I know to be AMSAT members.
I wonder if it would be possible to set up some sort of auto-responder on amsat.org so that instead of just forwarding email, returns a message to the sender with a non-machine-readable image of the user's actual email address, possibly accompanied with a sound file with the same information for anyone with impaired vision. Spammers couldn't handle it, especially since most don't even use valid return addresses. But any real human could resend his email directly to its destination.
What do people think of this idea? How much of a problem is spam for everyone else here?
Phil _______________________________________________ Sent via [email protected] Opinions expressed are those of the author. Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program! Subscription settings: http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb