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A Dispatch

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December 09, 2004

Challenge-Response Sucks

So I get an earnest, one-on-one email request from someone interested in my JavaScript and DHTML books. I answer promptly (for a change) with the information he requested.

Immediately coming back to my inbox is an EarthLink notice that my message has been diverted to a "suspect email" folder. I don't have a problem with that—in fact my own incoming spam filtering diverts some messages to a suspect area that I scan through daily to find the occasional ham. But I get the impression that the only way my message will ever see the light of day again is for me to click the link that will let my correspondent determine if my address should be whitelisted for his account.

Now, I know that this person probably wants to receive the message I sent. But when you use a challenge-response (CR) system, it's too easy to forget to whitelist every new person you send a message to. In the meantime, more mail traffic is generated, more (of my) time (and associated computer/network resources, incremental though they may be) is devoted to responding to a question, and I get peeved enough to rant in this Dispatch entry.

I have not clicked the link that will help my message continue on its way, and I'm not inclined to do so, even though it may cost me a valuable reader (I'll be deemed the stuck-up author who is too High and Mighty to answer his email). CR is one of those ideas that sounds good when one is frustrated with all the spam leaking through, but if you carry on an active life of correspondence with new people, you'll probably miss some mail. Mine.

Posted on December 09, 2004 at 07:47 AM