2017-07: Mail Management

Location: Communitech Jelly Bean Room 1st Floor, 151 Charles Street West, Kitchener, ON (Look for the building with the Communitech, Google, and Desire To Learn logos, enter at the glass doors.)
Date: Monday, 17 July 2017
Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Event Announcement: https://www.meetup.com/NetSquared-Kitchener-Waterloo/events/240752492/

Is e-mail obsolete? If not, how can we provide e-mail services to our Non-profit organizations? Do we treat internal, staff e-mail differently from our clients’ e-mail? How do we communicate with large groups? What mailing list services are there? Do we just give all our e-mail to Google and Microsoft? Maybe we can use the e-mail from our ISPs? They advertise “unlimited mailboxes”, right? Do we run our own e-mail servers? But then, how do we deal with spam, blocklists, and e-mail providers that don’t play fair? And, is it “E-mail” or “Email”?

KWNPSA is in the process of setting up our own e-mailing lists, and we have plenty of e-mail system administrators in the group. Looking forward to a lively Round Table discussion!

–Bob Jonkman & Marc Paré

Meeting Notes

Alternatives to E-mail

  • Aren’t we all on Slack by now?
    • Slack has some free options, also paid ones
    • eg. voice and video options
    • E-mail threads have messages and reply text, but slack has just the continuous stream-of-consciousness
    • Bots: “What’s my schedule on Thursday?”, “Bot, book me lunch with Kirk on Tuesday”
      • Regular expression bots, “human in the loop” bots, and “IBM Watson” hyperintelligent bots
      • Bots really made it, turned Slack into a marketable product (opened the platform, API)
    • But whatever happened to Google Wave and Google Buzz?
    • Is there a Slack-to-Email bridge? Maybe on Rocket.Chat
      • Privacy and datamanagment concerns: who stores your chats? streams? e-mail?
    • Spammers on Slack? It’s a closed environment, you know your spammer (unlike e-mail)
    • But there can be public “Talk to a sales rep” windows
  • Kik also opened their platform
  • Rocket.Chat – “Slack-alike”
    • web client & phone apps
    • e-mail gateway, LDAP gateway
    • Drag’n’drop filesharing
    • Self-hosted, on Ubuntu as a Snap
    • Self-hosted, so you have control over your own data
    • kwvoip.ca may set this up…
  • XMPP – Cisco bought Jabber.com (now Cisco Jabber)
  • Matrix / Riot


E-mail is so easy to use, people use it for everything

  • File storage
  • Instant messaging
  • Archival storage
  • Operating System?
    • Heard of people who use git as a mail repository


  • Struggle with Exchange and Outlook
    • Weird problems, eg. indexes
    • Would weird problems like indexing exist on Office365?
  • Large systems are constrained only by the time and effort of the SysAdmin
    • Or sufficient funds to purchase vendor support

Spam Mitigation

  • Large mail providers silently drop some mail, receivers and senders have no idea it’s not delivered
  • Need to bring mail filtering inhouse
    • Opinion that the only effective filters are Bayesian filters on content, not geo-blocks, IP-blocks, or domainname-blocks
  • DMARC and DKIM (both broken for mailing list use)
  • Dealing with blocklists
    • Blocklists are reputation managers
    • Small orgs sending mail are incorrectly identified as spammers
    • Blocklist providers have no incentive to lift blocks based on the requests of senders (otherwise every spammer would make that request)
    • Recipients of failed messages need to contact their mail providers to stop the mail providers from subscribing to bad blocklists
    • Filter provider needs to hold the spam for subsequent retraining (problems with privacy and data control)
  • Organizations block access to external mail providers
This entry was posted in Mail Management, Past Meetings. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply