Fun_People Archive
7 Mar
High mail volumes at

Date: Thu, 7 Mar 96 16:53:43 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: High mail volumes at

Forwarded-by: (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Phil Agre <>

From: (Joel M Snyder)

Good day.  By way of introduction, I'm the consultant who did the
"anti-mailstorm/anti-mailbomb" software that runs on the MX host for
WHITEHOUSE.GOV.  Now that the Telecom. Act of 1996 has been signed,
the volume of mail through WHITEHOUSE.GOV has gone up significantly.
For example, there were about 85,000 lines in the mail log file yesterday.

Most of that is just people who want to express their opinion.  However,
several misguided individuals have decided that they want to throw a monkey
wrench into the works by storming the President's e-mail.

I'm writing this to let any system administrators out there know that you
may find mail from your site to WHITEHOUSE.GOV is not moving very quickly.
This is normal; it's a sign that the automatic protections of that system
have kicked in.

Without going into details, if too many messages come from a single site,
the mail handler will throttle back accepting messages.  Eventually,
though, the mail will be accepted for delivery.  If you have legitimate
mail, it will eventually get through (many messages from the same
correspondent will be flushed without acknowledgement).  However,
correspondents who were used to getting a reply within seconds telling them
that their message was accepted may see a substantial delay.

Finally, if any users on your site have any delusions about the effect of a
mail bomb or storm of mail, let me help you dispel them: (1) no one
important enough to make a difference will be affected or know or care; (2)
if the messages are nasty or threatening enough, someone equally nasty may
come and visit; (3) what you'll succeed most in doing is ruining the
weekends and/or days of underpaid civil servants as well as wasting federal
tax dollars.

Please feel free to redistribute this or use parts of it in your motd.

Joel Snyder

PS: I don't read these newsgroups and am spending most of the weekend
trying to make sure that the mail system doesn't melt down anyway, so if
there is discussion on this, I won't see it.

prev [=] prev © 1996 Peter Langston []