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Re: Abuse response [Was: RE: Yahoo Mail Update]

  • From: Marshall Eubanks
  • Date: Tue Apr 15 11:18:36 2008

On Apr 15, 2008, at 10:31 AM, William Herrin wrote:

On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 10:00 AM, Marshall Eubanks
<[email protected]> wrote:

On Apr 15, 2008, at 9:43 AM, William Herrin wrote:
That is one place that modern antispam efforts fall apart. It's the
same problem that afflicts tech support in general. The problem exists
for the same reason that large-city McDonalds workers don't speak
English: Anyone with sufficient clue to run an abuse desk is well
qualified for more interesting, important and higher-paid work where
they don't get yelled at all the time. Like administering mail servers
or writing mail software.

There's a reason we pay garbage collectors a small fortune to do a job
that requires no skill whatsoever.

Do you _know_ any garbage collectors ? I do, and I would disagree with both
clauses of that sentence.


No, but I know a few people who have (briefly) worked abuse desks and
neither the tech support nor the McDonalds problem are difficult to

Without conceding the garbage collection issue, let me ask you
directly: how do you propose to motivate qualified folks to keep
working the abuse desk?

That is a good question. (I feel sure that many actually doing the job would opt for a rise in pay.)
Maybe certain jobs should become apprentice-like positions
that you need to get through to rise in a networking organization. I know that Craig Newmark (of Craig's List)
spends a couple of hours per day going through abuse complaints and user issues personally. I
haven't heard too many complaints about Craig's List, and it seems reasonable to suspect a connection there.
That has the advantage of being cheap to implement, in dollars if not in political capital.


Bill Herrin

William D. Herrin ................ [email protected] [email protected]
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004