Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(September 1996)

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Subject: Re: list command/.sigs
From: meo @ schoneal . com (Miles O'Neal)
Organization: Schober O'Neal, Inc / Net Ads
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 1996 08:14:49 -0500 (CDT)
To: today @ di . com (Todd Day)
Cc: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <3 . 0b15 . 32 . 19960904024306 . 00b7e818 @ mail . di . com> from "Todd Day" at Sep 4, 96 02:43:10 am
Reply-to: meo @ schoneal . com (Miles O'Neal)

Todd Day said...
|I used to run with open lists.  Got burned by spammers.  Now I have to deal
|with tracking down these unsubscribe (and address change) cases myself.
|That's why you'll find list managers bitter over crap caused by these email
|spammers.  You go out of your way to do a service for the net to pay back
|the institution that has given you so much, and some johnny-come-lately
|appears and screws it all up for you - making you into the computer
|security nazi you always loathed as an undergraduate.

Actually, I loathe the spammers as much as anyone.  My only point
is that there are actually legitimate reasons for an outsider to
run a lists command.  I contend that doing that is not a wrong,
illegal, sinful, immoral or fattening act in and of itself.  It's
why you do it and what you do with it that determines this.  And
I would have no problem with first time spammers being put in the
stocks, publicly, for a week or so, on a diet of bread and water.
Further acts of spam should be subject to much, much stiffer
penalties.  And if anyone cares, obnoxious telephone solicitors
would receive the same fate If I Ran The Justice System (polite
ones who accept your "no", don't call at dinnertime, and don't
call back would go free).

|[Warning, strong opinions ahead]
|Personally, I've always considered .sigs to be the appendix of the
|electronic letter body - perhaps useful early in its evolution, but
|completely useless today (possibly poisonous :-)  I mean, if I want your
|address or phone number, I'll just email you for it.

Well, an email address is sometimes useful, because there are *still*
mailers and gateways and list software and whatnot that mangle the
return addresses.  And a phone number/address can be handy if someone
is on a link thet gets mail infrequently, or doesn't sit in front of
a screen with a mail app or biff running all the time.

|Or, hey, I don't
|think I've ever seen *that* clever quote from (insert science fiction film
|or book or tv series) in all my ten years of reading USENET!  Hell, one of
|my workmates still uses that "To err is human... to really screw things up
|requires a computer" quote in his .sig.  Even the cheez gift industry
|stopped using that one - the last coffee mug I saw with that quote actually
|used greenbar paper with the font found at the bottom of checks!

And herein lies the real use of .sigs - they tell you something
about the person.  Your workmate, for instance, either has a
severely devolved sense of humor, or really doesn't "get" computers.
(Or maybe it's caraso, and that's just newbie bait.)

-Miles, no .sig most of the time

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