Spam experiment

About six weeks ago, I reconfigured my mail server to forward all e-mail not addressed to known users at to Gmail. (This is also known as “star aliasing” — so if you sent e-mail to it would still go somewhere.) In the days before spam, this was a fun thing for friends to take advantage of, since I used to direct all e-mail to me. Every once in a while, a friend would get clever and e-mail a particularly offensive epithet at and be very proud of themselves when I would reply.

But with the advent of spam, this became untenable. Spam to my known address was bad enough, but a common tactic of spammers is to flood random combinations of letters (and/or common combinations of e-mail aliases) at particular domains. So I finally shut off the star aliasing, instead directing them to a spam filter.

But the amount of disk space it was taking on my personal server was a waste of disk space, so I shifted to forwarding all the e-mail to Gmail. I’d long since stopped bothering to weed through the messages — there were too many of them — but now simply wanted to know how bad the problem was.

Here’s how bad. From July 11 to August 31 (a total of 51 days), I received a grand total of 96,000 messages to invalid accounts at That works out to over 1,800 messages per day, 78 messages per hour, or 1.3 messages per minute.

When all was said and done, I’d consumed nearly 50% of my Gmail disk quota (just under 500 megabytes).

I’m now directing all e-mail sent to non-existent addresses to the mail server’s :blackhole:.

(Gmail feature request: empty trash. Right now I can only do 100 messages at a time.)

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