A fitting proverb


Yesterday, I came across the following proverb:

Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.
Proverbs 14:4, NIV

In context, this passage is saying that if you have an ox, you have to keep it somewhere and you keep it in the manger.  But having an ox means that you will have to clean up after it because oxen make a mess (i.e., you put food into it and out it comes… and someone has to scoop it up).  Nobody likes to do this.  However, the point of having an ox is that you can leverage it for agricultural purposes.  With an ox, it is very strong and you can get far more crops in the harvest than you could ever do with human power.  Thus, the unpleasant mess you have to clean up is a byproduct for the pleasantness you get in obtaining food.  In other words, some things are good but not everything associated with it is good.

I think this aptly describes the outbound mail filtering/relay process.  As an outbound mail relay, we are providing our customers a service and taking care of their delivery issues.  In return, they pay us money.  However, that money comes with a cost because the unpleasant side effect is dealing with outbound spam.  All services have to deal with outbound spam and from time to time, it leaks out.  That is the nature of the service, just like an ox generates waste.  You cannot get away from it.  Yet hopefully, we can deal with it and figure good waste management systems and minimize that unpleasantness and maximize the positive side of the mail relay business.

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