AOL has decided to charge commercial providers (any ISP) for delivering email to their subscribers. The first phase of this plan is to tighten the already restrictive screws on their spam policy; blacklisting servers that deliver legitimate mail (like messages coming from Moodle) after a certain number of complaints are registered from subscribers. Here is one way this complaint system works against Moodle, and other educational software programs that generate messages.
Imagine that 14 year old Johnny, enrolled in a social studies course designed to help improve test scores (say NCLB or SAT), decides those pesky forum posts and markings that come from his course really don't interest him that much. So, Johnny decides to just click "This is Spam" in his email client, thinking that will take care of his problem. After a certain number of these "complaints" are registered AOL simply blacklists the server IP generating mail coming from Johnny's course. But, it's not that simple! The effect of this action is felt by ALL students in Johnny's school with an AOL address, and all students for EVERY Moodle site on the ISP's server that hosts Johnny's school.
Trying to reason with AOL by suggesting they exempt from blacklisting learning sites and other programs which routinely generate legitimate email has only elicited a hardened response. This protester was told essentially by a senior AOL staff member "tough, were AOL and can do this. If you want your schools and businesses to get mail through on our system (whitelisting) pay us". This is the second phase of their plan to commercialize Internet email. AOL's sledge hammer approach to dealing with email spam is highly punitive against social software that generates messaging as part of its primary function (e.g. LMS, CMS, blog, student help desk responses etc.).
What Can Be Done Dept.
AOL knows their policy will cripple important Internet communications, and will have handed fear mongers and the greedy a victory if they succeed in commercializing email. They can easily exempt legitimate mail servers but refuse to budge on their policy despite a fire storm of protest. This is all about money, and has little to do with protecting subscribers against spam abuse. If you are being affected by AOL's actions, or don't think it is right that AOL should single handedly dictate how Internet email operates, register your protest at DearAOL.com. The Moodle learning community needs to let AOL know, without ambiguity, there will be consequences for their actions. If AOL does not stand down from their plan to commercialize email, and agree to work with legitimate ISP email services insuring Moodle mail goes through, perhaps community members can use their influence with students to dump their AOL service and sign up with a provider that cares about education more than their bottom line. Doing nothing about this now will only embolden Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail and others to follow in AOLs footsteps!
We have many problems with students because this.
The students've said that the problem is with our software.
Brazil - São Paulo
That is what a powerful minority can do.
Message is, no guarantees that the student can sit back and be notified about anything. They will have to go to the virtual classroom to participate. What a drag. How long will it be for the other big boys to do the same? .
AOL is taking the lazy approach. When and if this starts effecting their revenues, they will figure out a secure way for individuals to unspam their bad boy filters.
Yes, it's pretty bad what they are doing to the internet.
Let me just stress to everyone that it's not just Moodle, ANY web site that produces email that can be affected by this bad policy.
If boycotting is what it takes then let's boycott them.
In Moodle >> Admin >> Configuration >> Variables you can set the variable 'denyemailaddresses' to 'aol.com', and users will have to use a different address to register.
I have just done this on moodle.org. Tell your friends.
It's unfortunate that their users have to suffer but it really is AOL's fault.
The good news may be (if I am reading this right), nonprofit educational groups will be able to sign up for free.
The bad news is it's another hoop for educational institutions and is sure to cause problems with users who use Moodle commercially.
Sad, sad, sad
I don't have the link handy but I also read a related article that said that Hotmail has already gone down this road and that shortly there after the "free" white listing service stopped being response and I believe was being phased out.
I can't stand their customer support! I was setting up AOL for a friend under Ubuntu and their customer support sucks.
I rang up and got throught to a woman who could barly speak english and never heard of "this driver called Linux"!
"I am sorry, I think that, that driver is not compatible with our service!
We got a router instead
I would assume most of their systems run on Linux, why isnt there someone I can talk to about Linux!!!
Obviously they charged us a fortune!