SORBS on autopilot?

Jed Smith jed at
Fri Jan 15 18:26:49 UTC 2010

This will be my only reply to the conversation now that Michelle has poked in
and taken control of the thread.

I had a beef with SORBS a while back on behalf of my day job, and it cost me
quite a bit -- in frustration, in doing a few things publicly that I regret, and
ultimately in spending a month of my life fighting with Michelle over a God
damned /24 and its erroneous listing.  That confrontation haunts me today, and
not necessarily because either of us screwed up at any level.  We both did, but
I'm haunted today because of the bad blood that the confrontation produced.

I am not going to revisit that experience, but it did grant something to share.
I can only hope that differences aside, Michelle respects my wishes and does
not turn NANOG into his/her and my personal fighting ground -- what's in the
past is done, and I'm only sharing what I learned from it, not the events that
transpired over said /24.

I walked away from that experience having learned a number of things.  Firstly,
I damaged my reputation at my employer as a direct result of getting sucked in
to the emotional vortex that dealing with Michelle caused -- something in the
callous, biting, confrontational demeanor with which Michelle composes herself
brings out the worst in me and summons forth tribal battle rage.  The fact that
the medium is a keyboard and not a face-to-face conversation does not help.

Secondly, I learned about myself and my weaknesses, particularly in dealing with
the public.  If there's anything a competent network administrator needs to
master, it's dismissing a sense of entitlement.  SORBS is going to do whatever
the hell it wants, and Michelle may or may not work with you on getting SORBS to
stop doing what's bugging you.  The biggest mistake I made was turning that into
a crusade to prove her wrong; I am reminded about the (ever inappropriate)
Special Olympics analogy relating to Internet arguing which is strangely
appropriate when dealing with Michelle.

(As an aside, this second point has drastically altered my dealings with service
providers.  I yell a /lot/ less when my home Internet connection goes out now,
and I'm all that much better for it.  I'm really pleased I learned to let go.)

Thirdly, and possibly most importantly, I learned a valuable life lesson about
dealing with people like Michelle and how much it isn't worth it.

SORBS has a particularly vile reputation, and given Michelle's treatment of
folks in this thread it is no mystery why.  Aside from Ricky's solitary post of
January 14th, this thread had mostly moved on from SORBS and addressed other
topics -- granted, it was frightfully meta and a candidate for leaving well
enough alone.  Spam-L moderated Michelle for the exact same fault she is
demonstrating here -- even on a mailing list comprised of the who's-who of
Internet network administration, she will drag everybody subscribed through
torment and misery while attempting to defend supposed SORBS reputation in an
ongoing crusade to prove herself right.  In Spam-L's case, it was with me; in
NANOG's case, it's with a number of people who have spoken negatively re: SORBS.

I am not dismissing blame from those fanning the conversation, but merely giving
credit where credit is due.

Let me reiterate for the benefit of Ricky Beam, Ken Chase, Leo Bicknell, Paul,
and anybody else who is tempted to debate Michelle in this thread: you are 100%
wasting your time.

Your time is much better spent contacting every mail administrator on the
Internet who 5xx's your relay's mail, or asking your upstream to move you out of
the affected block.  Both will result in more productivity than debating anybody
that works for SORBS or who is a colleague of Michelle Sullivan.  You might be
right, she might be right, and in either case it doesn't matter.  Move on.
There are far more pressing matters in life.

Now then, that said...

I'm going to humbly request as a subscriber to NANOG that "my ticket wasn't
handled to my satisfaction" mails, even in spite of the above advice, remove
nanog at from the distribution list and become a private matter.  If
Michelle genuinely cares about cleaning up SORBS and raising its reputation, she
will not have a problem with this.  If moving to a private conversation is
problematic for all involved parties, I hope it moves to another list.


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