27 Apr 15 Sympa Outage

It appears that the email upgrade has caused some issues with Sympa. All Sympa mail is currently being deferred. Nothing has been lost, but they are not being delivered. We have reported the issue and are working with the involved vendors to resolve the situation.

11 Aug 11 Sympa List Server Status

We have found what was causing the problem.  We corrected it and mail is catching up.

17 Feb 10 ITTS News Meeting – February 16, 2010

1. Opportunities Exchange (Jenny)

Jenny did a demo of the new Opportunities Exchange
beta testing is finishing up this week, and the new service will go live on Monday (2/22)
if anyone wants to join the beta test or start adding new opportunities, contact Jenny
any staff or ALA member will be able to add an opportunity
members will be able to fill out an interests profile and check a box to receive email updates whenever a new opportunity is submitted that matches their interests
we’re also seeking input on category names and the need for additional opportunity types

currently, these are the types available:

  • Assistantships
  • Awards
  • Equipment
  • Fellowships
  • Freelance design
  • Freelance web work
  • Giveaways
  • Grants
  • Internships
  • Job Exchanges
  • Presenting/speaking
  • Publishing
  • Residencies
  • Research/Surveys
  • Scholarships
  • Travel Grants

2. Postini implementation (Louise)

ITTS will be turning on Postini for spam filtering within the next week

Postini will sort spam for you based on whether it thinks the message is a virus and then five types of spam
We’ll have to check it periodically and delete messages or move valid ones to your inbox

3. Mentioned the new ITTS News blog (the one you’re reading!)

we’ve moved the ITTS blog from to
if you were subscribed via email to the old blog, you should be subscribed to the new one
if you’re not subscribed, please consider doing so to stay current, as we plan to post news and updates more often

4. CMS RFP update (Louise)

32 proposals have come in so far
the deadline was February 15, but we’ve extended it through February 19

the task force will be evaluating the proposals (WAC members and some staff members)
the replacement cost for a new CMS is being built into the 2011 budget
target completion date is May 1, 2011

we’re still not sure how long and clean the migration will be because we don’t know what we’re migrating to

a discussion ensued about what we archive, what we should archive, and why
how do we make archived materials available without clogging up/bogging down the website?

5. The next ITTS News meeting will be on March 23, 2010, at 2pm.

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06 Apr 09 Inbound Email Routing

Inbound email was interrupted this morning from 6:15am – 9:45am due to a routing issue at our provider.  Any

email sent to us from outside during this time period was rejected and should be resent.  Internal email was

not affected.

13 Mar 09 Email Backlog and Duplicate Messages

An anti-virus service failed on one of our email servers last night causing a backlog of incoming email and

some duplicate messages.  The backlog should clear up over the weekend and email should be back to normal on

Monday.  We’re in the process of replacing this email server entirely so that this doesn’t happen again.

22 Jul 08 Today's Sympa Problem

ALA Members and Staff,

I’d like to explain what happened to our mailing list server that caused the large temporary backlog of messages. We fell victim not to a focused spam attack, but to the collateral damage of a spammer, so to speak. A spammer pretended to be sending possibly millions of spam messages from one of our lists – by forging the mail they sent to make it look like it was coming from the list’s address. The result was thousands upon thousands of “bounce” messages that were sent from around the world to our Sympa server.

Spammers generally have many thousands of bad email addresses in their sneakily gathered lists, and any email to a bad address generates a bounce. That bounce is sent to the sender’s (or in this case, the faked sender’s) address. The huge number of incoming bounce messages had to be processed by the Sympa server as they arrived, and the volume of additional bounces bogged the server down terribly, causing a backlog to build up. We identified the list that had been impersonated, shut it off (so the server would no longer concern itself with bounces to that list), and began culling the bad messages from the queue.

We are investigating whether there is anything we can do in order to prevent this in the future. It is a problem plaguing many high volume list servers. The difficult part is that the bounces themselves are not spam to be filtered, and filtering all bounce messages would break an important function of email servers.

The Sympa list server is now operating as normal again, and will be caught up with its message backlog within a few hours.

Matthew Ivaliotes
Information Technology & Telecommunication Services
American Library Association
(312) 280-4266

22 Jul 08 Sympa List Processor Problem

Our Sympa list processor is being inundated by Spam. We’re working to relieve the load and have plans to implement additional Spam filtering. We currently drop over 120,000 Spam messages per day. We will update you as the situation progresses.

11 Apr 08 Sympa Problem

As of Friday afternoon, April 11, 2008, about 3:30 p.m. CDT we have a backlog of about 14,000 messages in the Sympa queue. The good news is that this is down from 28.000 earlier today. This was the result of a flood of error messages coming from one service provider. We have stopped the flood and are looking into how it could have happened in the first place. The backlog is going down at a good pace, so we expect it to be cleared up sometime Friday evening. All apologies for the inconvenience.

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15 Feb 08 Email Backlog Gone, Plus Yahoo Issue

There was a backup of mail due to the outage earlier this week, causing some delays in delivery. One source is Yahoo. We have a large number of list subscribers using Yahoo accounts. One or more of those subscribers has, instead of choosing the unsubscribe option from list generated email, reported us to Yahoo as spammers. Yahoo is now temporarily rejecting our mail. The traffic was further increased by the messages Yahoo sends to inform us of the rejection.

We have contacted Yahoo to explain that these emails were sent to subscribers of lists (such as AL Direct, which went out on Wednesday). We’ve received a reply, part of which is quoted below. According to Yahoo, the situation should be self-correcting: our email server retries sending messages. We are also investigating Yahoo’s best practices for bulk email, to attempt to lessen our resemblance to spam.

We’ll know more later today, now that the server has finished processing the backlog.

Tim Smith

From Yahoo:

“If you are seeing a 421 error code in your SMTP logs indicating that the messages you are trying to send are ‘temporarily deferred due to user complaints,’ this means that we have observed unusual traffic patterns from your IP address and have been getting considerable complaints from our users regarding emails from your server.

This is not a permanent error; your system may automatically re-try at a later time.”

14 Feb 08 Temporary Email Outage

Email coming from the outside to ALA was down from 4:30 p.m. yesterday (2/13) until 8:24 a.m. this morning (2/14). A system change was made by our consultants for the Sympa upgrade (scheduled for later this month) that caused the outage to occur. The setting was corrected this morning at 8:24 a.m. No email was lost.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.