human frailty

General discussion re sg.

human frailty

Postby josh » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:27 pm

Hey everyone - great to be back up and again, really sorry for the downtime!

In case you were wondering, I believe the immediate cause was a failing power supply which has now been replaced by our service provider.

That alone shouldn't have caused such a big problem though. Rather, the length of the downtime was due to two other issues -- 1) I had configured the main server so that the mail server did *not* start automatically on reboot. This I did over a decade ago when we were under some direct attacks and also when we had a *much* less efficient server configuration. We often had to deal with staggering backloads of email before restarting the mail server or the system would simply go down again.

We haven't had that problem for a very long time - since we moved to exim4 as the primary mail server and got better hardware -- and I knew the time had come long ago for me to use the standard configuration that would start the mail server automatically, but I didn't make the change. Instead, I simply paid close attention and started the mail server manually after each reboot.

But not this time - 2) I had a health issue that happened to occur at about the same time as a reboot that likely was caused by the power supply issue - I was simply not available for a few days. I'm much better now, and importantly, I made the configuration change so that if there is another reboot for some reason, everything will start working again, and likely no one will even notice.

That said, I have to acknowledge that this incident outlines the fact that it is probably time for the group of us to start thinking about ways to protect the ongoing continuity of the service, or to find an alternative.

I'm pretty much open to any consideration -- the service doesn't really make any money - it pretty much makes enough to pay the service provider fees and some of the domain registration fees (and that's basically all of the real costs), but definitely not enough to pay salaries for full time support personnel - not that we really need any.

To be sure - I don't have any plans to shut the service down, and it's likely it can continue to operate normally for many more years / decades - time is on our side. My experience in the last few days was sort of a 'wake up call' though - a reminder that I won't be around forever, and so I would love for us to take the opportunity to brainstorm possible approaches to reducing dependence on me.
Posts: 1371
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:28 pm

Re: human frailty

Postby kasu64 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:21 pm

Hello Josh.

Glad to see that your health is better.

If I understand correctly, SG does not earn money, and have one or more employees to maintain
costs money.

Have not you thought of having a basic SG, a pro SG and a premium SG?

Basic: to manage 5 or 10 addresses per user
Pro;: to manage 100 addresses per user
Premium: to manage an unlimited number of addresses.

Basic would be free,
Pro would be charged 5 or 6$ per year
and Premium would be charged 10 or 12$ a year.

This is just a suggestion. :wink:

For my part, I find your service amazing.

Create addresses on the fly by following the rule
of SG operation,
it's great and surprises my interlocutors.

And in addition it works perfectly
being managed by dedicated volunteers
and super talented!

The only flaw that I find at SG is that
you can not cancel addresses ...
This generates traffic for addresses that have become useless ...
It would be nice if you could find a solution to that.

In any case, thank you and hat for SG and your involvement.

I wish you a total recovery,
and the best for you and your family.

Bests Regards,

from basque Country


><((((°> <°))))><
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:15 pm

Re: human frailty

Postby lwc » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:46 pm

kasu64 wrote:The only flaw that I find at SG is that
you can not cancel addresses ...

That's just a visual issue. You can always hide an address, and define it to accept 0 messages with a blank exclusive sender.

Josh, may I ask some questions?
  1. How come there's any revenue at all, after the ads got taken down a long time ago? And even then you said you took them down because they barely made any revenue.
  2. What was the second downtime (sudden slowdown in Sunday) that occurred after the first one (complete shutdown over Friday-Saturday) was fixed?
  3. Almost 3 years ago I've offered bounties. I think a commercial service will only drown you deeper, as it won't make enough money to justify what will be your new mandatory 24/7 support. But bounties are just one-time obligations from time to time and they benefit all users, not just those who pay.
Posts: 406
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 9:09 am

Re: human frailty

Postby ace604ace » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:07 pm

Great to have you back Josh!

I was beginning to wonder if your post count was contrived ... until your return it was stuck at the very 'elite' 1337 post count for a couple days :)


Posts: 1339
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:28 pm

Any chance of setting up crypto donation page? I feel like a lot of users of a service like this might gravitate more towards something like that over PayPal.
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:21 am

Re: human frailty

Postby josh » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:28 pm

I will put it on my to-do list to finally accept cryptocurrency donations. People have been asking me about that for a long time.

There is no revenue other than donations, but people donate from time to time - it's funny, most donations come in when we have a downtime event. That's human nature I suppose.

I believe the second downtime event was because the service provider had to reboot again in order to fix the power supply problem, and at that point I was still in the hospital and hadn't yet changed the configuration to auto-start the mail server - doh!
Posts: 1371
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:28 pm

Re: human frailty

Postby Clewby » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:08 pm

This is just a suggestion.

It might be worthwhile to contact the team behind, specifically "The Mighty Buzzard" ( [currently on vacation] and NCommander ( The very small team behind soylentnews have crafted an elegant, highly capable discussion site (Programmed in perl, as is spamgourmet) which is not funded by advertising i.e. run on a very frayed shoestring of a budget, which is also a technical tour-de-force. If you are looking for someone who (a) knows what they are doing and (b) might share the aims of spamgourmet, then I think you will have an audience willing to give you the time of day - however, given the calls on their time, they may not be able to help you. They have the benefit of being based in the USA, which circumvents any major jurisdictional issues.

Of course, they may not wish to help, but I don't think there would be any harm in asking.

Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:48 pm

Re: human frailty

Postby josh » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:04 am

Clewby, thanks. I haven't contacted them yet, but I do think that those are the kinds of approaches we need to be considering.

I wish I could say I'm getting good news concerning my medical condition, but I'm not. As it's turning out, I'm going to need to devote more and more time to dealing with my situation, and my availability is likely to reduce. I have some family members who are stepping in to help keep things running, but this is not a long term solution. You may be able to sense that I'm trying to balance my family's privacy and the unavoidably public matter of bringing spamgourmet into a new and safer situation.

Let's keep talking.
Posts: 1371
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:28 pm

Re: human frailty

Postby VS » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:00 pm


There is no revenue other than donations, but people donate from time to time - it's funny, most donations come in when we have a downtime event. That's human nature I suppose.

I signed on today to see if I could make a change to my account and while searching for options came across the recent threads. Honestly, because it's so good doing what it does, Spamgourmet fades into the background and I hardly ever log in. For better or worse, I didn't even notice the downtime a couple months back.

I can't remember when I started using Spamgourmet, but its been a while. As I looked around, I noticed the small Donate option off to the side, and I had never used it. I changed that and made a donation today. Since I sign on so infrequently, I wish there was a way for me to create a set-it-and-forget-it recurring donation (Does Paypal not offer that as an option?). I do this for a public radio broadcaster I listen to regularly, and I see the small charge hit my credit card every month; I would appreciate the opportunity to do the same for a core utility service I depend on like Spamgourmet.

There's nothing I've found quite like Spamgourmet. I wish you all the best and good health, and appreciate all your efforts to plan for the longevity of Spamgourmet.


Your message stats: 27,938 forwarded, 265,347 eaten. You have 883 spamgourmet address(es).
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:55 pm

Re: human frailty

Postby snowmaker » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:36 am

I'm glad that you're doing better Josh, and I wish you to keep being well.
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:39 pm

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests