[rescue] (Offtopic) X-Message-Flag fun for Outlook users

der Mouse mouse at Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA
Sat Jul 29 08:26:35 CDT 2006

As one of the "offenders"....

> How are these messages appearing?  (I have no problem with Outlook,
> but at home I tend to use webmail instead of a local email client)

I don't know from personal experience (I don't use it myself), but I'm
told it take the form of a popup box containing the text.

> Also, what is the nature of these messages?  Are they harmless tweaks
> or are some of them actual insults that would never pass as
> acceptable in the body of the message, but are somehow OK when snuck
> in to the headers of an email message?

I don't know about anyone else's.  Here's the one I routinely use:

X-Message-Flag: Microsoft: the company who gave us the botnet zombies.

It used to say "...gave us the zombie armies" until someone
misinterpreted it as referring to (putative) mindless hordes of human
end users.  While that might, arguably, be a defensible stance, it's
not the one I wanted to take, so I reworded to avoid it.

> And finally, I'm suprised that odd header settings would be passed on
> blindly by the maillist software - I'm not saying' it's bad, I've
> just never thought about it before.

Mailing list software normally blindly passes along headers it doesn't
know anything about.  Apparently the software used for this list either
doesn't know about Microsoft-specific headers like X-Message-Flag (not
surprising since it isn't Microsoftware) or chooses to pass it on.

> I would have thought that the forwarding software would trim the
> message down to [its] plain-text content, slap on [its] own header
> info, and that would be it.

Basically, yes, though note that nothing in that says anything about
throwing out random headers added by the poster.

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