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A serious question: should email providers' "Junk" filters be allowed to block Twine messages ?

I am one of those early users of Twine who have had difficulty getting notifications by email; but have been able to finally adjust "spam" filters on their primary email provider so that Twine messages are "let through'. (Which however does raise the question why I should have to take actions to allow messages from a device that I own, and that are of importance to me, to be delivered to me.)
In the case of my primary email provider (Symaptico, which is a shell on the MSN Hotmail platform, I have been able to add to my "safe" senders list. (Which raises another question, why do I have to specify as safe senders or domains that cannot possible do harm to Sympatico, MSN or Hotmail by delivering my mail; I did not pay these entities to protect me from my mail, but to DELIVER my mail!)
And then there is Apple, aka,, etc, who will not deliver my Twine messages to me, and do not provide any mechanism for me to specify either my Twine's name, or, or both, as safe.
Think for a moment, if Canada Post, or the US Post Office, decided to allow a clerk, with criteria that were secret and vague, to decide that some of your mail should be shredded without notification, some should be held but you would be told so but then couldn't actually get it, and some would be delivered, but some of it marked as BAD mail and you would have to get it from some-place away from your normal mailbox; what sort of uproar would that cause.
Why isn't this happening with email?

Here is a note from me to John Kestner, who has worked valiantly on getting email through to me and many others, but maybe is working on the wrong end of the problem.
You will be glad to know (but not very much) that as far as the Apple system is concerned, you have managed to get past the 1st two levels of their e-mail filtering. Mail from my Twine now does get put through to my address (and I assume also to, etc.) account, but only to be sent to the "Junk" folder, hence not sent on to my iPhone, iPad, or Outlook client. On the iCloud email web client, I can see the email in the Junk folder, and I can select it, and click the Not Junk button, and indeed, it gets moved to my Inbox and pushed to my iDevices and Outlook. But, that does not add either the sender, my Twine's ID, or, to any safe sender list, as there does not appear to be any such thing in Apple thinking.

Trolling around on Apple support, I learn, with some effort, because they are not exactly open about their policies, that they categorize email in 4 ways:

1. - so very dangerous, that they simply delete it without any other action;
2. - dangerous enough that they delete it, but at least send a notification to the recipient, who nevertheless can't get it;
3. - dangerous, but considered safe enough that they will put it into the recipients Junk folder, but, they have to access it there on the web, and mark it as Not Junk, but that does not do anything to change the actions for further email from the same sender or domain;
4 - safe; so we'll let the recipient read it by sending it to wherever they have said they want to see email.

OK, that got a bit heavy. But, that is the meta-issue here

All this for protection from terrible things - like what? Apple does not give any information about their spam algorithms or parameters used, at least not that anyone in the non-Apple world can see.

Meanwhile, as one trolls around Apple support forums, one gets complaints from people who do not receive receipts for read emails sent to domains that are legitimate, but somehow don't pass Apple standards. Others complain of important email that never arrives. More others complain of email arriving, being replied to, being replied to by the recipient, but that reply never arrives. The whole filtering system that Apple uses, from reports, is arbitrary, inconsistent, and chaotic

John, you're a techie, and you are trying to get a product out, and a company going, but getting in the way of that is a big company big brother mentality that has no place on the Internet (and it is not just Apple, it is also Microsoft, who on the Hotmail platform, were also blocking Twine messages, except there they at least have the option of letting you add senders and domains to a safe list -Apple doesn't even allow that).

I'm just a Canadian retired guy who likes to play with techie things, but even up here we have what we call Charter rights, one of which is what you down there call Freedom of Speech. I am not actually sure what that defines in either of our countries, but I somehow think that freedom does not allow someone to arbitrarily set up a filter that stops me from hearing what someone else speaks, Even more, I think it does not allow someone to set up a filter that stops me from hearing a message from a device that I own, and that I have asked to receive because that message is important to me, just because it is not acceptable to some mechanism.

Up here, I'd call up my member of Parliament, and ask him to take this further, as an issue affecting my rights as a citizen.

Do you have a local member of Congress, that might do something like that?

OK, that got a little more heavy, but that is the meta-issue here. If devices like Twine, and a lot of the future Internet, are going to succeed, we can't have intermediaries of Internet messages decide what information should be transmitted, and what should not.

And, think for one minute, if either the US Post Office, or Canada Post, went into a mode where some clerk decided, based on some unpublished criteria, which mail would simply be shredded, which mail would be retained and the recipient notified and asked to defend why they should get it, but the can't, and which would be delivered, how much of an uproar that would cause?


  • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • The issue is that you are using 'apples' service. Which is their server. I'm guessing it's a free service?

    So I'm guessing they can do what they want legally. It's not like the post where it's a government provided utility service that we pay to use. (Or senders pay to use)

    Apples probably is under the 'If you dont like it, then set up your own server and do what you want' mentality. They want to push the 'I dont need to understand/worry about technology' model to their customers who subscribe to it because they dont want to worry about security or understanding processes they use.

    They dont care basically. By apple stuff and use their services. Or buy other stuff and try to use it with apple services and your user experience will be greatly hampered as apple wants you to only use apple stuff, so they use proprietary standards and secret algorithms to prevent you from integrating other devices/services with it.

    It's the same way they lock down your media in their software. If you want to play it on your TV, then buy the apple TV device/service. (Apple TV vs DLNA) You want it on your device, then it better run iTunes. They reinvent the wheel and make it proprietary. Sure there are wheels out there, but if you have an apple, only theirs will work.

    I file them into the same category as Comcast and the others who want to redefine things to benefit their company and not you as the consumer. I'm all for protecting users, but this is far from net neutrality...especially with no notification deletions, no ability to white list, and their aggressive spam algorithms.

    This is one of the reasons I favor google. They are much more open with their tech and really give users the ability to leverage and control things the way they want to. Google products and services work better for me. (Not trying to push google, everyone should use what works best for them)

    But I guess the bottom line is people need to figure out what is important to their user experience and put up camp with ideal providers. I see apple as the one to camp with if you want the no-worry/no-hassle/easy solution. If you want to tinker/integrate/develop, then apple is going to have major roadblocks.

    I hope apple starts to loosen their grip on their user's experience because it's going to start eliminating the more technical oriented folks from their camp.

  • I think Pete has it right. Gerry, you want the communications from your device that are directed to you to reach you. But you aren't considering that the channel through which that communication travels isn't under your control. You can also see this as a conflict of two different interests. One is the interest of many or most Internet users to be protected from spam, and the other interest is that of techies like us who want the hardware to do exactly what they tell it to do, such as process arcane data messages without interference.

    I think for a specialized hardware environment like twine, one must choose a communication channel that accommodates the needs of that environment. That means no spam filtering. So the pragmatic approach is to create an email account for twine with an ISP that gives you the control you want. It may be offensive to have to do this, but it does work better.

    I use several ISP's, each of which treats spam differently. But my primary email address is with an ISP ( that gives me complete control of how spam is handled. I choose to accept all email traffic and process the spam my own way.

    For those interested, I use a paid service called which reads and tests all of my email and attachments on their Unix servers for spam and viruses, then forwards what's OK to me and sends me a daily report of what was held back. They have a very low false positive rate, but I can retrieve those very few false positives that they do find. One big advantage to this is that viruses never actually reach my hard disk.
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