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Versions: 02 RFC 2142

Network Working Group                                  D. Crocker
INTERNET-DRAFT                           Internet Mail Consortium
<draft-crocker-stdaddr-02.txt>                      January, 1997
Expire in six months




                        MAILBOX NAMES FOR
              COMMON SERVICES, ROLES AND FUNCTIONS




STATUS OF THIS MEMO

This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its
areas, and its working groups.  Note that other groups may also
distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts.

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six
months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other
documents at any time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-
Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as ``work
in progress.''

To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please check
the ``1id-abstracts.txt'' listing contained in the Internet-
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(Europe), munnari.oz.au (Pacific Rim), ds.internic.net (US East
Coast), or ftp.isi.edu (US West Coast).



ABSTRACT

This specification enumerates and describes Internet mail
addresses (mailbox name @ host reference) to be used when
contacting personnel at an organization.  Mailbox names are
provided for both operations and business functions.  Additional
mailbox names and aliases are not prohibited, but organizations
which support email exchanges with the Internet are encouraged to
support AT LEAST each mailbox name for which the associated
function exists within the organization.



1.  RATIONALE AND SCOPE

Various Internet documents have specified mailbox names to be
used when reaching the operators of the new service; for example,
[RFC822 6.3, C.6] requires the presence of a <POSTMASTER@domain>
mailbox name on all hosts that have an SMTP server.  Other
protocols have defacto standards for well known mailbox names,
such as <USENET@domain> for NNTP (see [RFC977]), and
<WEBMASTER@domain> for HTTP (see [HTTP]).  Defacto standards also
exist for well known mailbox names which have nothing to do with
a particular protocol, e.g., <ABUSE@domain> and <TROUBLE@domain>.

The purpose of this draft is to aggregate and specify the basic
set of mailbox names which organizations need to support.  Most
organizations do not need to support the full set of mailbox
names defined here, since not every organization will implement
the all of the associated services.  However, if a given service
is offerred, then the associated mailbox name(es) must be
supported, resulting in delivery to a recipient appropriate for
the referenced service or role.

If a host is not configured to accept mail directly, but it
implements a service for which this specification defines a
mailbox name, that host must have an MX RR set (see [RFC974]) and
the mail exchangers specified by this RR set must recognize the
referenced host's domain name as "local" for the purpose of
accepting mail bound for the defined mailbox name.  Note that
this is true even if the advertised domain name is not the same
as the host's domain name; for example, if an NNTP server's host
name is DATA.RAMONA.VIX.COM yet it advertises the domain name
VIX.COM in its ``Path:'' headers, then mail must be deliverable
to both <USENET@VIX.COM> and <USENET@DATA.RAMONA.VIX.COM>, even
though these addresses might be delivered to different final
destinations.

The scope of a well known mailbox name is its domain name.
Servers accepting mail on behalf of a domain must accept and
correctly process mailbox names for that domain, even if the
server, itself, does not support the associated service.  So, for
example, if an NNTP server advertises the organization's top
level domain in ``Path:'' headers (see [RFC977]) the mail
exchangers for that top level domain must accept mail to
<USENET@domain> even if the mail exchanger hosts do not,
themselves, serve the NNTP protocol.



2.  INVARIANTS

For well known names that are not related to specific protocols,
only the organization's top level domain name are required to be
valid.  For example, if an Internet service provider's domain
name is COMPANY.COM, then the <ABUSE@COMPANY.COM> address must be
valid and supported, even though the customers whose activity
generates complaints use hosts with more specific domain names
like SHELL1.COMPANY.COM.  Note, however, that it is valid and
encouraged to support mailbox names for sub-domains, as
appropriate.

Mailbox names must be recognized independent of character case.
For example, POSTMASTER, postmaster, Postmaster, PostMaster, and
even PoStMaStEr are to be treated the same, with delivery to the
same mailbox.

Implementations of these well known names need to take account of
the expectations of the senders who will use them.  Sending back
an automatic mail acknowledgement is usually helpful (though we
suggest caution against the possibility of "duelling mail robots"
and the resulting mail loops).



3.  BUSINESS-RELATED MAILBOX NAMES

These names are related to an organization's line-of-business
activities.  The INFO name is often tied to an autoresponder,
with a range of standard files available.



MAILBOX        AREA                USAGE
-----------    ----------------    ---------------------------
INFO           Marketing           Packaged information about the
                                   organization, products, and/or
                                   services, as appropriate
MARKETING      Marketing           Product marketing and
                                   marketing communications
SALES          Sales               Product purchase information
SUPPORT        Customer Service    Problems with product or
                                   service



4.  NETWORK OPERATIONS MAILBOX NAMES

Operations addresses are intended to provide recourse for
customers, providers and others who are experiencing difficulties
with the organization's Internet service.



MAILBOX        AREA                USAGE
-----------    ----------------    ---------------------------
ABUSE          Customer Relations  Inappropriate public behaviour
NOC            Network Operations  Network infrastructure
SECURITY       Network Security    Security bulletins or queries



5.  SUPPORT MAILBOX NAMES FOR SPECIFIC INTERNET SERVICES

For major Internet protocol services, there is a mailbox defined
for receiving queries and reports.  (Synonyms are included, here,
due to their extensive installed base.)



MAILBOX        SERVICE             SPECIFICATIONS
-----------    ----------------    ---------------------------
POSTMASTER     SMTP                [RFC821], [RFC822]
HOSTMASTER     DNS                 [RFC1033-RFC1035]
USENET         NNTP                [RFC977]
NEWS           NNTP                Synonym for USENET
WEBMASTER      HTTP                [RFC 2068]
WWW            HTTP                Synonym for WEBMASTER
UUCP           UUCP                [RFC976]
FTP            FTP                 [RFC959]



6.  MAILING LIST ADMINISTRATION MAILBOX

Mailing lists have an administrative mailbox name to which
add/drop requests and other meta-queries can be sent.

For a mailing list whose submission mailbox name is:

     <LIST@DOMAIN>

there MUST be the administrative mailbox name:

     <LIST-REQUEST@DOMAIN>

Distribution List management software, such as MajorDomo and
Listserv, also have a single mailbox name associated with the
software on that system -- usually the name of the software --
rather than a particular list on that system.  Use of such
mailbox names requires participants to know the type of list
software employed at the site.  This is problematic.
Consequently:

     LIST-SPECIFIC (-REQUEST) MAILBOX NAMES ARE REQUIRED,
     INDEPENDENT OF THE AVAILABILITY OF GENERIC LIST SOFTWARE
     MAILBOX NAMES.



7.  DOMAIN NAME SERVICE ADMINISTRATION MAILBOX

In DNS (see [RFC1033], [RFC1034] and [RFC1035]), the Start Of
Authority record (SOA RR) has a field for specifying the mailbox
name of the zone's administrator.

This field must be a simple word without metacharacters (such as
``%'' or ``!'' or ``::''), and a mail alias should be used on the
relevant mail exchanger hosts to direct zone administration mail
to the appropriate mailbox.

For simplicity and regularity, it is strongly recommended that
the well known mailbox name HOSTMASTER always be used
<HOSTMASTER@domain>.



8.  AUTONOMOUS SYSTEM MAILBOX

Several Internet registries implement mailing lists for
Autonomous System contacts.  So, for example, mail sent to
<AS3557@RA.NET> will at the time of this writing reach the
technical contact for Autonomous System 3557 in the BGP4 (see
[RFC1654], [RFC1655] and [RFC1656]).

Not all Autonomous Systems are registered with all registries,
however, and so undeliverable mailbox names under this scheme
should be treated as an inconvenience rather than as an error or
a standards violation.



9.  SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS

Denial of service attacks (flooding a mailbox with junk) will be
easier after this document becomes a standard, since more systems
will support the same set of mailbox names.



10. REFERENCES

[RFC821]  J. Postel, "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", RFC 821,
Information Sciences Institute, 08/01/1982

[RFC822] D. Crocker, "Standard for the format of ARPA Internet
text messages", RFC 822, University of Delaware, 08/13/1982.

[RFC959] J. Postel (et al), "File Transfer Protocol (FTP)", RFC
959, Information Sciences Institute, October 1985.

[RFC974] C. Partridge, "Mail routing and the domain system", RFC
974, CSNET CIC BBN Laboratories Inc, 01/01/1986.

[RFC976] M. Horton, "UUCP mail interchange format standard", RFC
976, Bell Laboratories, 02/01/1986.

[RFC977] B. Kantor (et al), "Network News Transfer Protocol: A
Proposed Standard for the Stream-Based Transmission of News", RFC
977, University of California, February 1986.

[RFC1033] M. Lottor, "Domain administrators operations guide",
RFC 1033, SRI International, 11/01/1987.

[RFC1034] P. Mockapetris, "Domain names - concepts and
facilities", RFC 1035, USC/Information Sciences Institute,
11/01/1987.

[RFC1035] P. Mockapetris, ``Domain Names - Implementation and
Specification,'' RFC 1035, USC/Information Sciences Institute,
November 1987.

[RFC1654] Y. Rekhter (et al), "A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-
4)", RFC 1654, T.J. Watson Research Center, IBM Corp.,
07/21/1994.

[RFC1655] Y. Rekhter (et al), "Application of the Border Gateway
Protocol in the Internet", RFC 1655, T.J. Watson Research Center,
IBM Corp., 07/21/1994.

[RFC1656] P. Traina, "BGP-4 Protocol Document Roadmap and
Implementation Experience", RFC 1656, cisco Systems, July 1994.

[HTTP] T. Berners-Lee (et al), "Hypertext Transfer Protocol --
HTTP/1.0", <draft-ietf-http-v10-spec-05.txt>, February 19, 1996.



11. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This specification derived from an earlier draft written by Paul
Vixie.  Thanks to Stan Barber, Michael Dillon, James Aldridge, J.
D. Falk, Peter Kaminski, Brett Watson, Russ Wright, Neal
McBurnett, and Ed Morin for their comments on that draft.



12. AUTHOR'S ADDRESS

     Dave Crocker
     Internet Mail Consortium
     127 Segre Ave.
     Santa Cruz, CA

     +1 408 246 8253
     <dcrocker@imc.org>


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