checking it twice

At the urging of, and on the basis of recommendations from, people whose expertise in these matters I respect more than slightly, I have turned on a blacklist check for mail on the server I run, through which all of my mail eventually transits.

If you find that your mail to me is bouncing due to this blacklist, please do inform me via mail to Thanks!

11 comments to “checking it twice”

  1. entered 11 January 2006 @ 2:36 pm

    “block list” vs. black list please. We should use block list and allow list in Mozilla terminology too vs. white list/black list.

  2. entered 11 January 2006 @ 2:41 pm

    Why so? “Blacklist” is a long-standing and well-understood term for exactly what’s being used here: a list of things that are known to be undesireable for this purpose.

    “Whitelist” is a bit of a neologism, I suspect, but the construction by contrast seems clear enough.

  3. entered 11 January 2006 @ 3:00 pm

    How about + possible racist interpretations? + Not as universally descriptive as “block” and “allow”? + Black/White Not that meaningful outside of techy circles?

    There should be a compelling reason to use the techny vernacular – not just “it’s what we’ve done”.

  4. Sean Neakums
    entered 11 January 2006 @ 4:15 pm

    The term “blacklist” pre-dates the computer revolution by quite some years.

  5. entered 11 January 2006 @ 5:07 pm

    “If you find that your mail to me is bouncing due to this blacklist, please do inform me via mail”

    I take it that your gmail account is not forwarding to your own mailserver? This sounds like the classic IT joke: “Error: the network is unavailable. Please email the IT desk for support.”

  6. entered 11 January 2006 @ 5:13 pm

    Honestly, now.

  7. entered 11 January 2006 @ 5:17 pm

    We’ve been using block and allow lists for quite some time now with our pop-up blocker, extensions, etc lists, introduced in the suite and carried over to Firefox and Thunderbird.

    We shouldn’t go back to using black/white list because of greg’s arguments above plus we’d be inconsistent with what we’re doing already with allow/block lists.

  8. entered 11 January 2006 @ 5:22 pm

    Greg’s reasons vary from “based on false premise” to “you must be pulling my leg”.

    But I didn’t say anywhere that we should switch what we use in any software. You came to my blog and told me to use a different term for something I’m doing to my mail server. I don’t have to carry “block list” baggage from the suite to my own system administration (and the list in question is a black list, the contents of which I’m choosing to block — the list itself does not block anything, and could be used for a number of purposes).

    I am profoundly unimpressed.

  9. entered 11 January 2006 @ 6:27 pm

    I noticed: and also noticed your post, so I brought it up.

    You can do what you want, it’s your system. Others (including me) are more sensitive to the term blacklist and whitelist. Those terms are racially charged, and I prefer we not use those terms in a user facing way. There’s nothing for you to be impressed about.

  10. mawrya
    entered 11 January 2006 @ 8:59 pm

    “If your email to me doesn’t go through, email me…”

    Ha! Thanks for the chuckle… I may be missing something, however, I think I will tuck this line away for future uses of my own!

    Rafael – You might win more friends to your viewpoint if you were more sensitive. Unsolicited advice may come across as finger-pointing where the recipient feels unfairly accused of something when their motive was completely innocent.

    Sensitivity – if only it were black and white.

  11. Mike Hoye
    entered 12 January 2006 @ 11:36 am

    Paging Dr. Rorschach. Dr. Rorschach to the caucasian courtesy phone, please.

  12. entered 12 January 2006 @ 12:30 pm

    I used to know who to always bet on, but now I’m adrift in a sea of political correctness. Sigh.

    In all seriousness though, the RBL has cut down the amount of spam I’m receiving on my neon account by several orders of magnitude. Thanks!

  13. entered 12 January 2006 @ 12:51 pm

    shaver – I read your blog from planet mozilla. You asked a question. I gave some answers. I’m not trying to say what you should do in your personal life and no, I’m not pulling your leg.

    I agree it’s “politically correct” but that’s just one reason not to use it. Isn’t their sufficient value in being able to have your page translated into any language and have people understand “list of disallowed servers” rather than something like “list of servers that is in black text”.

  14. Mike Hoye
    entered 12 January 2006 @ 7:20 pm

    You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve had to tell people that the 2003 blackout was actually a power failure, and not a racial purge.

  15. entered 13 January 2006 @ 8:07 pm

    Oh my $deity. What on earth is wrong with blacklist? It has nothing to do with race. According to the Oxford dictionary: “a list of people or products viewed with suspicion or disapproval.”

    The argument over having it translated is just plain wrong – any decent translator is going to translate blacklist in the equivelant in the language, not the literal translation. If not, well, they’re not doing their job are they?

  16. Amy
    entered 17 January 2006 @ 3:05 pm

    Thanks for the laugh, Hoye. :)