Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 1994)

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Subject: Re: How to handle threats from disgruntled members
From: merchant @ anuxv . att . com (s.merchant)
Date: 7 Jul 1994 17:03 EDT
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
Original-to: list-managers @ greatcircle . com

>The problem is that most people unsubscribe from lists very rarely in
>their lives.  Also, they are not really all that interested in
>learning computer geek stuff.  As a result, no amount of insults will
>teach them. 

That pretty much sums it up.  I have a standard message that's firm
but not insulting (I don't think) but makes it quite clear that they
have to resend the request.  Based on my experiences, I would recommend
the following:

1. Do not ignore the request as it will generate repeat requests.  At
   this point, you should be considering the other members of the list
   rather than trying to punish the errant one.  I send a "canned" message
   that tells them the right way to do it, and indicates that they need
   to resend the message.  However, I delete them anyway at my next
   deletion interval (my list is manually administered) even if they
2. Post periodic reminders.  Since this can be construed as noise too,
   I try to piggy-back this with other administrative messages or my
   own contributions to the list.  But then it must be the very first
   paragraph, with suitable emphasis.
	A good time to do it is just after someone posts to the wrong
   address.  I find that for some reason, these unsubscription requests
   to the whole list seem to cluster together.  Perhaps people see the
   one message and say, "Oh, so *that's* how one unsubscribes to the
3. I liked to suggestion someone had earlier about capitalizing just the
   -REQUEST part of the address; I've used it since and found it helps.
4. I'd like to see a general capability in mailing list servers like
   majordomo that allows a "Message of the Day" to be prepended and/or
   appended to the *body* of messages sent to the list.  However, there
   should also be a parameter so that only every N'th message contains
   this message--I would set N to about 10 (which would be once every
   2 days for my list), and put a 1- or 2-line message at the front.
   A more general capability that allowed you to rotate through a small
   set of messages would be nice too.
5. Despite all this, you will STILL get messages sent to the whole list.
   You have to accept that that's part of what you signed up for when you
   decided to be the list owner.  The best you can do is to keep the
   number small.

Shahrukh Merchant

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