While writing the email message display script (for mail.rebol.net) mentioned in my prior blog, I happened to notice this message:
[REBOL] Re: SEEEELMAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Seems someone should try to find Selma, whereever she is now, and hand The List back over to her. Seeeelmaaaaaaaaaa where are you? (For those not remembering selma, once upon the time the rebol mailing list had been handled by a rebol script called selma, until she got tired by the shear (how do you spell that?) volume of mail. She got retired, and ecartis took over ... ever since then The List hasn't been the same ...) Ingo ;-)
Are you reading my mind again? I was just thinking about old SELMA today (and yesterday, and the day before, etc.). I've been wondering if giving up SELMA was really worth it.
The story goes like this: I wrote SELMA long ago when I started REBOL Technologies. SELMA ran for a couple years with little or no attention. She just merrily did her job. Then one day after many years, she needed attention (or, more accurately the Linux system she ran on needed attention, it could not handle the huge volume of files SELMA was keeping - more than 500'000 files). Rather than fix her up, the IT staff around the office thought they could find something better.
Did the choice actually work out better? These days, I don't think so. It's taken a lot of effort over the years to support the maillist, and it still does not process email the way it really should. For example, and this is just one small thing, the current email system automatically sends a reply to all messages from non-subscribers (to tell them that they are not on the list and cannot post messages). But, those messages are quite often from spammers. Replying to these creates not only a lot of bounce returns, but it makes the spam situation even worse because the spammers "saw a reply" from our address. However, preventing this behavior is not an option in the current system.
What the email processor should do is ignore the message unless it contains a valid command like "subscribe REBOL", or the sender's address is in the registered users database. But, for that, we would need to write custom code. Hmmm... SELMA!