Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(November 1995)

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Subject: Re: Bouncy Bouncy routine
From: Michelle Dick <artemis @ rahul . net>
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 13:33:32 -0800
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <Pine . SOL . 3 . 91 . 951130151618 . 11431B-100000 @ tortoise>

Avi wrote:
> My list has 1500 and I get about 5-10 bounces a day also. At first I had
> the auto-delete function (listserv) on, but I found that too many of the
> bounces were not real (just like you). Now I just dump bounces in a folder
> and every few days check to see which addresses are habitually bad. Mostly
> bounces from "service unavailable" errors are temporary, while "user
> unknown" errors are usually true (about 3/4 of the time). 
> The system works well enough at this point that only about 1 in 20 times 
> is a valid user removed. I know it's labour-intensive, but good relations 
> with my subscribers are worth it.

When I ran my mailing list manually, without list software, I used to
actually keep a set of index cards and record the number of bounces
for each address.  20+ bounces in 2 days would get one removed from
the regular list, and 4 consecutive digest bounces would get a
subscriber removed from the digest.

Now that I use Smartlist, I'd never go back to processing bounces
manually.  Ugh.  I even switched ISPs when one removed permission for
me to use SmartList -- a move that is involving moving a 25MB web
site, complete with cgi scripts, to a site running a different server
and different UNIX flavor.  But that is much less trouble than having
to read bounces.

SmartList does exactly the same sort of bounce processing I did.  It
keeps track of the number of recent bounces from each address.  You
set a limit and it removes the address when the limit is reached.
Just like I was doing manually.  It's not perfect, I still have to
actually look at about 4% of the bounces.  I can live with that.  :-)

Michelle Dick       artemis @
 rahul .
 net       East Palo Alto, CA
          Owner, FATFREE Vegetarian Mailing List

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