Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 1994)

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Subject: Re: why no exploders?
From: "John P. Rouillard" <rouilj @ cs . umb . edu>
Date: Sat, 09 Jul 1994 18:24:58 -0400
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: Your message of "Sat, 09 Jul 1994 16:36:25 CDT." <9407091636 . AA01455 @ taronga . taronga . com>

In message <9407091636 .
 AA01455 @
 taronga .
 taronga .
 com>, Stephanie da
Silva writes:

>psrc @
 pegasus .
 att .
 com (Paul S R Chisholm) asks:
>> Why?  > Could you please say what
>> your bad experience with exploders has been, or why not dealing with
>> exploders has been better?
>> I'm asking from the point of view of a large service provider with
>> experienced users.  
>It has nothing to do with the technical aspects.  It has everything to
>do with the nature of the list.
> [...]
>At one point I did have some exploders but I found they caused some 
>confusion on the other end as the readers had no way of telling that 
>the newsgroup they were reading was really a gated mailing list, so I 
>removed them.  (Usually when talking with said confused person, upon 
>finding out it was a mailing list they lost interest, so it was just as 

Actually Stephanie put her finger on a couple of problems that I have
with exploders. Unlike her general statement, it is partly a technical
problem.  Setting up an exploder requires that the site do something
besides add:


to their aliases file. They also need to take steps to make sure that
bounces from their exploder do not make it back to the list
operator. Most people who set up exploders don't segment their
exploders this way, so I have to try to figure out why I am getting a
bounce for the address jim @
 bozo .
 xxx .
 com when jim @
 bozo .
 xxx .
 com isn't on
my list. Usually I analyze the reciebed lines, and see if there is an
exploded list somewhere along the way. If so, I try to get ahold of
the postmaser and work things out. If the poostmaster is
non-responsive after a week, the exploder gets dropped, and a standard
form letter explaining why the exploder was dropped and the
requirements for properly setting up an exploder is sent to the
exploder address.

The second problem is a people problem that Stephanie metions int he
second paragraph above. Some people who are subscribed via exploders
don't know how they are subscribed, and keep sending messages to the
list administrative (or worse the list address) to try to get off the
list. Of course I can't do anything about it, I have given up on
trying to explain how they are actually getting the list mail. The
concept of exploders is just too much for them to grasp. I just tell
them to talk to their local sysadmin (as well as cc'ing the exploder
owner and post,aster addrresses).

I won't discuss the people who try to unsubscribe from a local
newgroup using the list admin address rather than changing their
.newsrc 8-).

				-- John
John Rouillard

Senior Systems Consultant (SERL Project) University of Massachusetts at Boston
rouilj @
 cs .
 umb .
 edu (preferred)            Boston, MA, (617) 287-6480
My employers don't acknowledge my existence much less my opinions.

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