Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 1994)

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Subject: Re: Attitudes, Service, and Mailing Lists
From: Software Development <junkyard @ primate . wisc . edu>
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 1994 15:26:24 -0500 (CDT)
To: gwalker @ rtfm . mlb . fl . us (Grayson Walker)
Cc: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <Pine . 3 . 03 . 9407071507 . A15381-c100000 @ rtfm> from "Grayson Walker" at Jul 7, 94 03:32:08 pm

> 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.

They may be customers, and they may be paying, but this paragraph
cuts no ice with me, and I suspect with many of use who run lists for
nothing.  I sympathize with subscribers who have to pay per-message
when they get too many messages, but not overly much.  Your bringing
"paying customer" into the equation has little meaning for me.  They're
paying *someone else* to get the messages.  Someone *else* is making
money off my volunteer efforts, and you're expecting me to shoulder the
burden of providing paid-level support?  Sorry.

I'm not advocating telling subscribers to take a hike, but they're
accessing a service which is offered by me for free.  If they have to
pay someone else to get it, that doesn't obligate me to provide the
level of support that would come were I billing them for access.

> 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.

Again, they're not paying me.  Someone else is issuing the bill.
And taking in the money.

Paul DuBois
dubois @
 primate .
 wisc .

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