Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Not so much a thought experiment as a single neuron misfire.

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Return To Sender button

have your email client/smtp server make it appear that your adrs is no good
  (+40, -1)(+40, -1)(+40, -1)
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when you see a piece of spam in your email client, hit the RTS button. this will pre-tend to the email a header and subject line claiming that the email bounced due to a bad address. smart spam software (and spammers) try to keep "good" lists pruned of invalid addresses, so they would then automatically remove yours from their big list. it wouldnt work 100%, but it could shave off quite a lot from the spam in your future.
gnormal, Feb 04 2002

RFC 1894: Delivery Status Notification ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc1894.txt
Standard format for machine-readable "bounce messages". [jutta, Feb 04 2002]

Bounce Spam Mail http://www.pcworld....n/0,fid,5402,00.asp
Windows application that is supposed to work as described. (I haven't tried it.) [jutta, Feb 04 2002]

Nothing to do with the idea http://petemoss.com...sAMoronSpammer.html
but it is about spam, and it just makes me snigger. [mcscotland, Feb 05 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

RFC 3028: Sieve http://www.ietf.org...028.txt?number=3028
A relatively new language for writing mail filter scripts. Part of the base set of actions is "reject", which sends back a bounce message. Now we just have wait for more widespread adoption of this... [jutta, Feb 05 2002]

spamcop.net http://www.spamcop.net/
Service (free, or pay-for-better-QoS) to figure out who to complain to about a piece of spam, and do so. [wiml, Feb 17 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

KMail http://kmail.kde.org/
Already has this feature. Works pretty well most of the time. [cameron, Oct 04 2004]

Fastmail http://www.fastmail.fm
Bounce! Fastmail does it too. [missbossy, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       Server-based solutions for this are widely available.   

       By the time you see a piece of spam in the client, the SMTP conversation is over. You could send a non-delivery notice if the server hasn't already sent a positive delivery notice on request of the sender.   

       I think this is a good idea, and I'm surprised to not see it widely implemented in mail clients.
jutta, Feb 04 2002
  

       Absolute yes please. I want one now. O vote. Mutiple croissant. May a thousand blessings fall upon you and your family. (thinks) Then again, wouldn't this just lead to spammers ignoring bounce messages?
st3f, Feb 05 2002
  

       If they do, their cost of reaching a real person increases.
jutta, Feb 05 2002
  

       heh, heh! gnormal, long time since I've seen that name. But it could be me, I went missing for six months. Good idea. I'd like one too. croissant.
goff, Feb 05 2002
  

       bow before gnormal
thumbwax, Feb 05 2002
  

       thanks- ive never had over a croissant and a half before. now im encouraged to go back to the drawing board on the fleshball.
gnormal, Feb 05 2002
  

       another reason why i would like this: it gives me a way to respond to a spammer. as it is, i cant do anything but swallow it. but a RTS button would almost be like a FIRE button, shooting a spamsplat right back at the agressor. it would be somehow satisfying, nomatter how ineffective, to be able to fire back.
i havent used C for 10yrs, but wouldnt this make a nice shareware eudora plugin?
gnormal, Feb 15 2002
  

       I've seen this implemented at the MUA level (i.e. in the program the user uses, Eudora or PINE or whatever) --- a "bounce" button on the toolbar that sends a bounce message to the message's envelope-from address. However, this does no good whatsoever, since the envelope-from address on spam is almost always forged; spammers have no interest in the bounce messages anyway. Sometimes it points to an innocent third party that the spammer wants to annoy, in which case your bounce is just adding to the problem.   

       If implemented in the MTA (sendmail/qmail/msexchange/ etc), this can have a slight effect, but since the end-user hasn't seen the message yet, it requires the MTA to make an automatic decision about whether a message is spam or not, and I don't generally trust MTAs to do that reliably. Nonetheless, this has been implemented as well, e.g. the RBL, MAPS, and anti-relaying functions of many mail servers.   

       More useful IMHO is the behavior that some MTAs have of accepting potential spam, but doing so *very* *slowly* --- a character a second, maybe --- just quickly enough to keep the sender from giving up. This consumes more resources on the sender's part, making spam less economically effective (unless the spammer is using a relay, which they probably are).   

       [gnormal]: Instead of swallowing spam, you can try to track down its origin and report it, which can generally make the spammer's life slightly more bothersome. It's tricky to do this, since spammers try to mislead. I like to use spamcop (see link) to do the scutwork for me.
wiml, Feb 17 2002
  

       Excellent. Croissant.
saker, May 16 2003
  

       My mail service (www.fastmail.fm) has this feature -- it simply generates a new mail that looks like a non-delivery notification and sends it back to the orginator, who would not be able to tell the difference.
ronan, May 24 2003
  

       I was getting spam from all sorts of places, in particular one domain. So I saved about 200 junk mails in total, then found all the names from this domain as possible (variable@junk..com) and sent it all back, with the subject as 'Leave me alone!' Next day they replied saying thank you for unsubscribing, and PS, if you have trouble with junk mail.... I've not heard from them since. It doesn't stop the junk though, but it made me feel better.
Sean Egative, Jun 08 2003
  

       Very workable. Very Obvious. Very Croissant! ++
nomadic_wonderer, Feb 02 2004
  

       I have this feature on the mail client that came with Mac OS X.
snikrepkire, Apr 22 2004
  

       I haven't read the description for this idea or the comments about it. But by its name I know it for genius.
Bamboo, Apr 22 2004
  
      
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