Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 1994)

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Subject: Attitudes, Service, and Mailing Lists
From: Grayson Walker <gwalker @ rtfm . mlb . fl . us>
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 1994 15:32:08 -0400 (EDT)
To: William LeFebvre <lefebvre @ athens . dis . anl . gov>
Cc: Grayson Walker <gwalker @ rtfm . mlb . fl . us>, Michelle Dick <artemis @ rahul . net>, list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <199407071515 . KAA01306 @ athens . dis . anl . gov>

> > The members of the list are YOUR customers. Customers expect service,
> > nothing more. Your list is a service. 
> My list is a service which is provided free of charge and for which I
> receive absolutely zero renumeration.  I am a volunteer.  This places
> these so-called "customers" in a very different category.  My primary
> concern is providing an adequate forum for discussion while minimizing
> my time commitment.  This is, I believe, a very reasonable stand to
> take since I am a volunteer for this task.

I recognize this as mildly polemic. Your position may have been defensible
in the Arpanet and early Internet days, but not today. Today we have lots
of mailing list members who pay for access to our 'Net. Some of them
pay non-trivial fees -- I've seen some who pay on a per message basis --
they get excited when a list upchucks hundreds of null messages -- as the
Commercial Real Estate list did last weekend. YOU and I may not receive
financial compensation, but there are lots of paying customers. Just one
more piece of a complex and flawed process. They are customers.

We're also talking about an orientation towards service, and, yes plain
courtesy. I know you've seen the (fortunately) occasional arrogance that
some self-styled experts dump upon the neophyte. This must end. 

> This "customer" expectation you have described is only valid if these
> folks were indeed paying a list maintainer for the service.  Then they

I disagree. If they paying somebody for a service you provide without
compensation, I think you're undervaluing your service. Regardless of the
prices, there is a service-customer relationship here.

> But that one "customer" has just ticked off thousands of other
> "customers".  So which "customer" do we adapt to?  The one who sent
> the message, or the hundreds whining about it?  If the former, then we
> quietly process the request and everyone gets used to the idea that
> that's how administrative requests are handled, and more "customers"
> are inconvenienced by people sending administrative mail to the entire
> list.  If the latter, then we do something similar to the very thing
> you are objecting to.  Either way we make some of our "customers"
> unhappy.  So NOW what do you suggest?

Simple. To which customer do we adapt? All of them. Until the 
processes deal with all the needs of the service providers and their
consumer/customer, the processes are flawed. Just because we cannot solve
the problem given today's software or technology in no way prevents us
from recognizing the flaws in the processes.

Indexed By Date Previous: Re: How to handle threats from disgruntled members
From: Sharon Shea <sshea @ world . std . com>
Next: Re: Attitudes, Service, and Mailing Lists
From: Brent Chapman <brent @ mycroft . GreatCircle . COM>
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From: William LeFebvre <lefebvre @ athens . dis . anl . gov>
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From: Software Development <junkyard @ primate . wisc . edu>

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