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HenryQ
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Delayed emails

My neighbour, who doesn't have a VM email address, is receiving regular "delay" bounce-backs when she emails anyone with a virginmedia or ntlworld email address. In one case, an email from this good lady to myself never arrived at all.

As is the way with email techies (or numpties, one might say), the bounce-back messages are unintelligible. For example:

12.56Transcript of session follows ----- <**me**@ntlworld.com>... Deferred
Warning: message still undelivered after 1 day Will keep trying until message is 3 days old
eporting-MTA: dns; mta6.iomartmail.com
Arrival-Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2019 16:42:09 GMT

I could bore you with the rest of the incomprehensibility, but that would be pointless.

Is Virgin Media bouncing honest emails? And if so, why?

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Superuser
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Message 2 of 10
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Re: Delayed emails

Read this thread:

https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Email/Email-delay/td-p/3948664

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HenryQ
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Re: Delayed emails

Yes I've read your thread.

But my neighbour is in her eighties. She is computer literate but the bounce-back messages she receives are incomprehensible.

I have spent over 40 years working in software engineering, but I too can't understand (from VM's numpty techies) what their problem is.

How about a rule, enforceable by law, that computer messages should be written in PLAIN ENGLISH. I still can't understand why my neighbour's emails are bouncing back. It only affects recipients who have VM or NTW email addresses.

Most people are incredibly tolerant, but I really understand my neighbour's frustration that she cannot rely on emails to VM's customers being delivered.

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Superuser
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Re: Delayed emails


@HenryQ wrote:

Yes I've read your thread.

It isn't my thread. It is along running thread that other users have been involved explaining that VM is greylisting mail being sent to its servers at the moment in order to deal with a spate of spamming affecting its users. Please bear in mind that the responders on this community forum are largely VM users and not VM staff.

But my neighbour is in her eighties. She is computer literate but the bounce-back messages she receives are incomprehensible.

The message is a pretty standard one generated by servers that are trying to deliver mail to ISPs like VM. It simply means that sending the mail is being temporarily delayed. 

I have spent over 40 years working in software engineering, but I too can't understand (from VM's numpty techies) what their problem is.

The message is NOT generated by VM. VM are not responsible for all the ills in the world. The message is being generated by your friends own ISP and their servers. Look there for an answer.

How about a rule, enforceable by law, that computer messages should be written in PLAIN ENGLISH. I still can't understand why my neighbour's emails are bouncing back. It only affects recipients who have VM or NTW email addresses.

Yes it will at the moment because of the measures that VM have had to introduce to deal with a nasty spamming attack and the need to protect their users from that attack

Most people are incredibly tolerant, but I really understand my neighbour's frustration that she cannot rely on emails to VM's customers being delivered.

I'd share that frustration but while greylisting is in operation this is where things are. It will be for VM staff here to comment finally when they reach this thread in a few days time.


 


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HenryQ
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Re: Delayed emails

Fair enough. You've fully told me off.

But VM has a history of poor email control. I have lost business orders in the past when VM binned emails to me, without the courtesy even to tell me the emails had even existed. That was down to a ridiculous spam-detection system they implemented which, bizarrely, decided genuine emails were spam. Once I knew about it, I went back into options and turned off VM's spam filter.

My neighbour, in her eighties, is an experienced computer user but had no idea why she was suddenly getting so many bounce-backs. Knowing VM's chequered (unreliable) history, it was me who asked her whether all the bounce-backs were coming from virginmedia or ntlworld email addresses. Surprise, surprise, they were.

During my career in software development, we always went to great pains to "trap" techie error messages and translate them into proper English for the end user. Why can't VM do that? People are generally tolerant if they know what's going on.

Also, if anyone from VM is reading this, why not email all your customers when there is a technical issue? After all, by definition, you are in possession of all our email addresses.

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Superuser
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Message 6 of 10
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Re: Delayed emails


@HenryQ wrote:

Fair enough. You've fully told me off.

I had no intention of telling you off. I was simply explaining the situation in the most precise way I could.

But VM has a history of poor email control. I have lost business orders in the past when VM binned emails to me, without the courtesy even to tell me the emails had even existed. That was down to a ridiculous spam-detection system they implemented which, bizarrely, decided genuine emails were spam. Once I knew about it, I went back into options and turned off VM's spam filter.

That is true but has nothing to do with the current spam attack on VM users. 

My neighbour, in her eighties, is an experienced computer user but had no idea why she was suddenly getting so many bounce-backs. Knowing VM's chequered (unreliable) history, it was me who asked her whether all the bounce-backs were coming from virginmedia or ntlworld email addresses. Surprise, surprise, they were.

I'm not surprised but such is the way of the internet.

During my career in software development, we always went to great pains to "trap" techie error messages and translate them into proper English for the end user.

Then I never saw any software that you developed. I've been used to relatively incomprehensible error messages for my whole time using computers and their software. And that includes Supercalc, MS, Lotus, SMART, Wordperfect, and operating under CP/M, PC/MS DOS and Windows in all its versions.

Why can't VM do that? People are generally tolerant if they know what's going on.

At the risk of repeating myself what do you NOT understand about " the messages were not generated by VM's servers. They are generated by the sending server - which is the responsibility of your friend's ISP?

Also, if anyone from VM is reading this, why not email all your customers when there is a technical issue? After all, by definition, you are in possession of all our email addresses.

And what good would that do precisely, except to clog up the net with messages that most people would simply ignore? And how would it help your friend and people like them. Are you suggesting that VM should ask every ISP and ESP in the world to broadcast this kind of message. 


 


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Superuser
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Message 7 of 10
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Re: Delayed emails

She needs to go back to her mail provider and ask them to investigate what's happening.

Virgin Media will work with mail providers to deal with deliverability issues where appropriate.  But they also have to deal with the requests of users to stop spam from reaching their mailboxes, and it is a difficult juggling match.

You want to see how much grief letting spam through brings - have a look here:

https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Email/Spam-Email-sysprem-com/td-p/3924528

That threads into 19 pages and still going.  So yes they have introduced some changes recently.  But those changes should not impact a properly configured mail service.

As for your comments with regard to readability of the message.  I've not worked in software engineering or tech support.  (In fact I have no formal IT qualifications) - That message is perfectly readable to me.

Let me translate it further

12.56Transcript of session follows ----- <**me**@ntlworld.com>... Deferred
Warning: message still undelivered after 1 day Will keep trying until message is 3 days old
eporting-MTA: dns; mta6.iomartmail.com
Arrival-Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2019 16:42:09 GMT

Really basic version.

I've been trying to deliver this message for one day now.  I'm going to keep trying until the third day, at which point I'll give up.

Is that basic enough for you?

And as for the

rest of the incomprehensibility,

It's actually not pointless as it contains the error message received from Virgin Media's server (which includes a link to a page explaining Greylisting) as well as a string of seemingly random letters that actually identifies the specific mail conversation on Virgin Media's servers.

Tim

 

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Superuser
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Message 8 of 10
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Re: Delayed emails

BTW while the error messages do contain information that the average user doesn't need to see, they are still couched in reasonable enough English.

Most of the message is for the email administrators.  Of course as a software engineer, I'm sure you'd know the importance of not losing vital information by dumbing down an error message too much.

Tim

 

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HenryQ
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Message 9 of 10
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Re: Delayed emails

I appreciate that this is fully comprehensible to techies - but I've just gone back to the first email my neighbour (in her eighties) sent me. The two of us have exchanged emails on a pretty-well daily basis for years now, so if this is a "greylisting" issue (a term I'd not heard of previously), this cannot be right.

My neighbour forwarded one of her bounce-backs. She was very concerned, and wrote, "I'm forwarding this to you. I'm getting so many of these.".

I appreciate that everyone does their best on discussion forums (even those who reply in red ink). But why cannot VM simply issue a statement when there is an issue? Perhaps my neighbour's ISP is indeed incomprehensible but if I understand this correctly, the issue stems from VM needing to delay emails.

As an aside, I have just told my neighbour that she had been "grey" listed ("ageist" or what?). I have a horrible feeling she will box my ears the next time I see herSmiley Happy

 

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MrHalfAsleep
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Message 10 of 10
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Re: Delayed emails

My guess is that they're "greylisting" to sort out the sysprem stuff which has been plaguing VM for the last few weeks now.  As far as I can gather, the spam server trail has been identified and relevant persons have been informed, so hopefully they'll do something about it.  Since it involves servers in both Europe and the USA, timezones are difficult to bridge.  There have been a couple of notable sophisticated spam incidents and it seems that VM users end up being collateral damage, however, it is difficult to co-ordinate an effective strategy when said spam is being bounced off servers around the world not to mention contacting relevant persons.  abuse@isp.com doesn't always work.

I used to volunteer to show how the internet and email worked to senior citizens a few years back.  Some used to ask really awkward questions that were beyond the scope and the capabilities of the people and the (charity based) project, therefore material had to be altered as we couldn't provide technical support; that was the apparent impression we gave.   There are quite a few tales I could tell... but won't.







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