| Ken Dykes writes:
| > i force them to read them. my intro message includes a statement that
| > says they will be dropped in 3-4 days if they dont tell me they have
| > read that statement.
Chip Rosenthal rejoined:
| One interesting aspect about this approach is that it forces the
| subscriber to realize that there is a -request address distinct
| and different from the main list address.
My question is, how do you force them to remember after they've taken the
test? I have had lots of people subscribe at the right address, send
questions to the right address, decide to unsubscribe after a few months,
and address their signoff requests to the list.
Others have consistenty used the correct addresses themselves and suddenly
decided to do the list a favor by promoting it on netnews, saying to join
by writing to listname @
Yes, that has happened three times, all done
by people who have never once made that mistake in addressing their own mail.
I tried sending out a weekly reminder every Sunday night. If people had been
using the addresses correctly or told me they understood and didn't need to
be reminded any more, I took them off the reminder distribution (no, not off
the mailing list). Several used the wrong address to tell me they knew and
didn't need the reminder any more.
After some six months of that I gave up and made that list moderated mostly
because of the mismailed nonsense; and for every administrative item mailed
to the list, there was an article mailed to -request.
I finally concluded that there are four classes of list members:
1. those already familiar, from other lists they have already been on or
from reading about mailing lists, with the concept of one address for
sending articles and another for subscription matters;
2. those who learn it the first time you tell them;
3. those who learn it the second time you tell them;
4. those who just can't grasp it no matter what or can't learn to pay at-
tention to where their mail is going instead of worshipping their `r'
keys or reply icons as gods.
Nothing, but nothing, will get through to group #4. You'll tell them, and
they'll say it back to you, but the only reason they could say it is that
it was using their mouths as its escape route as it fled their brains.
So I gave up on the weekly reminders, and I don't have much faith in Ken's
method either. Like elementary school children who as soon as the test is
over forget what they never wanted to study, many will acknowledge having
read the instructions but a significant proportion will forget every word
of them within days (if not hours).