Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 1995)

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Subject: Re: Abuse of newsgroup space by a mailing list manager. (fwd)
From: "CPT Larry J. Schauer" <schauer @ darmstadt-22sig . army . mil>
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 95 23:06:09 EDT (0306Z)
To: Joe George <jgeorge @ nbi . com>
Cc: list-managers @ greatcircle . com

I thought this was interesting, especially the method of using USENET
news to notify subscribers.  Personally, when mail starts bouncing
to a member, I usually just unsubscribe them (and hope the unsub msg
will get to them, but knowing that it probably won't).  Sometimes,
based on the error, I'll remove the user from ALL the lists at my site
(to save the other list owners the hassle).  Is it wrong to do this (in
general)?  I.e. do we, as  list managers, OWE our users notification
when they drop from lists?

     I think the problem is compounded by not having another reference
to each user (besides e-mail).  For example, if we had a phone number,
we could call them (Hey, your mail's bouncing!).  Unfortunately, in
most cases this isn't possible.

>If there is no other recourse to contact these people, yes, we post a short
>message to a Usenet newsgroup with the same general emphasis as the mailing
>list in question.

While this is a UNIQUE way of contacting users, it is not a SMART way.
First, there's NO guarantee that the user even reads USENET news, let
alone that particular newsgroup.  For example, I'm subscribed to quite
a few mailing lists, but I don't read USENET.  Second, posting a msg
to USENET that is destined for one user is a waste of B/W.  It's the
same as me posting a msg saying "Hey Bob, how about a game of golf
this Thurs?".

As a side note, a few of us tried to get a USENET feed recently.  We
were told that Army regs prohibit USENET feeds from travelling across
the MILNET (our network).  Although I'm not sure how true this is, it's
the story we got.  And this is a shame, for although USENET news has
a lot of noise it in, there's still a lot of GOOD STUFF.

>We send, on the average, one of these Usenet posts every FOUR TO SIX WEEKS.
>I can count on my fingers the total number of these posts that have EVER
>been made to Usenet.  The postings average 1KB or less.

To me this is irrelevant.  The key is the tradition it starts.  If it
becomes accepted for one group to do this, then others will follow.  And
then USENET will become a gigantic personal e-mail relay.  In order to
prevent this from happening, we need to police ourselves.  That's
what made the Internet what it is today---people agreeing to a "standard"
of behavior.

>If this means that I should be "ostracized by my peers" then so be it, but
>please make sure that you're a peer when you attempt to ostracize me. I pay

I'm the sysadmin for 6 mailing lists and the owner of 3 of them.

>the bills for's hardware and net access. People who run mailing
>lists from their JOBS (like, for example,, and I doubt sincerely
>that Ms. Close pays for sgi's net access) need not complain to me about it.
This is also irrelevant.  Since I don't directly pay for my network access,
are you saying that I don't have a duty to protect the Govt's money?
To me it's like saying to someone "Don't tell me to conserve water unless
YOU'RE paying for it, cuz I'M paying for it".  Resources are resources,
and money is money.

Larry Schauer

Indexed By Date Previous: Re: Not spam, but an abuse of net resources nonetheless.
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From: Kjetil Torgrim Homme <kjetilho @ ifi . uio . no>
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