The post-MailArmory plan

With the death of MailArmory, and the lack of viable alternatives, the plan now boils down to this:

  • Convert all forwarders to POP3 accounts
  • Stop forwarding, and thus stop getting black listed for forwarding spam
  • Place the responsibility for most spam filtering on the user
  • Remove MailArmory from the picture completely

My goal will be to have this “mostly done” by the end of July. Should MailArmory cause more severe problems before then we may need to accelerate the process.

I want to address each step in that plan.

Convert all forwarders to POP3 accounts

This will involve some work on both my part and yours. The sequence will work like this:

  1. I’ll set up your POP3 account.
  2. I’ll contact you individually with your password, a pointer to the configuration instructions you need to use, and a suggested configuration for POP3 access and effective spam filtering.
  3. You’ll set up your POP3 access and let me know when it’s done.
  4. When you let me know, or 7 days later, whichever happens first, I’ll turn off your forwarder completely.
  5. I’ll also disable spam filtering for your email address.

Stop forwarding, and thus stop getting black listed for forwarding spam

As outlined in The problem with spam we get blacklisted when we forward spam. Unfortunately that affects all recipients, not just those who’re getting a lot of spam.

Until now MailArmory stopped us from forwarding spam by keeping it from ever reaching us.

Now, however, the only way to avoid forwarding spam is to avoid forwarding completely.

Place the responsibility for most spam filtering on the user

All spam(*) will be placed into your POP3 mailbox. It’ll be up to you to deal with that however you like. There are two approaches:

  1. Access it like a normal email account using a desktop email program like Outlook, and rely on the spam filtering capabilities of that program.
  2. Use another email account to fetch the mail and perform spam filtering at that time. Gmail seems to be a very good solution along those lines. Once fetched you can access your Gmail via POP3 and a desktop program, or IMAP, or via Gmail’s web interface, or whatever you like.

I use, and recommend, the later.

Note that there will be a quota – you’ll not be allowed to keep infinite email on Thus two additional points:

  • Direct IMAP access of email will be disabled at the end of July.
  • “Leave messages on server” in your POP3 configuration when you pick up your email is a really bad idea and will cause you to eventually reach your quota and stop receiving mail.

Quota is currently expected to be around 50 megabytes. This is subject to change, of course.

(*) Some spam, only the most obvious and egregious, will be removed by the on-server spam filter, Spamassassin. Unfortunately it’s not a great spam filter and it’ll be set to be relatively lenient to avoid false positives.

Remove MailArmory from the picture completely

Today when email is sent to an address it first goes to MailArmory, who then passes on what it thinks is not spam to the actual server for processing.

That will go away. When complete (or when MailArmory falls over completely) email sent to addresses will be delivered to the server, spam and all.

We’ll proactively make that happen after the conversion is complete.