Another angle, which might help to clarify the discussion, of list
owner responsibilities towards list subscribers:
Consider the system administrator of the overal list server system
(whether Majordomo, ListProc, or LISTSERV), who has to keep the whole
shebang running and handle occasional errors and irate complaints
(when they bounce to Postmaster).
The system administrator has the individual list owners, for each list
hosted on the system, as "customers". Then, in turn, the list owner
for each list has the list subscribers as further "customers" in the
manner being debated now. But I don't see the first relationship being
discussed as much, i.e. what the list owner owes to the system
By starting a mailing list on someone's system, you may introduce
significant new mail traffic load, error bounces, irate complaints,
attract hackers' attention to the host, etc. etc.
At the U. of Chicago we're getting ready to introduce a new Majordomo
list service host, and we're working on our support policies and
documentation etc. for the new list owners.
As the overall system administrators, we definitely do NOT want to
hear from your subscribers, on your individual mailing list..... part
of your responsibility as a list owner is to keep them out of our
hair! We get lots of requests, "I want to start a mailing list for
XX", "I want to take over this national mailing list YY", etc. so
we're finally almost ready to take them on in a supported, systematic
Part of our problem right now is to figure out what to do when lots of
professors, TA's, etc. want to establish mailing lists for each
section of the courses they teach, but don't have time to do proper
mailing list owner administration (in our limited tests, professors
add student addresses by hand, often incorrectly, and then simply
won't fix them, causing errors on every single message sent to the
list) ..... how far do we go in providing assistance, etc.
I think we are also going to restrict the kind of mailing lists
offered, at least initially, to only on-campus lists, focused on
research and instruction at the University. So no one will be hosting
international interest lists on our server, not at first. This
decision may cut down on the problems we encounter, we'll see. At
least, I think that's the plan.
Chris Koenigsberg: ckk @
edu, ckoenig @
U. of Chicago Academic Information Technologies