This story is an interesting look at the anti-spam “challenge-response” technique, which is now being offered to all Earthlink customers. I think it raises good points, especially when it comes to mailing lists being inundated with challenges. Personally, if I’m on a mailing list and I get a challenge from one of the members of the list, I don’t respond. If you’re not bright enough to realize that having a challenge-response system means some extra tweaking to make sure you don’t annoy the hell out of mailing list members, I’m sure as heck not spending any of my time making sure you get my messages to the list.

On the other hand, there are some cases where a challenge-response makes more sense and I might think about putting it in place. I just worry about people who view it as a cure-all without really thinking about the realities of what can happen. Sort of like all those people who think auto-responders are a cure-all and don’t realize the infinite email loops they sometimes create on mailing lists. I can easily see the same thing happening here.

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