Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(February 1997)

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Subject: Clueless Subscribers
From: Cindy Stanley <connect @ ecentral . com>
Organization: Unschooling List
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 1997 12:14:02 -0700
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
References: <199701222307 . SAA22835 @ www6 . clever . net> <v03010d5daf19d6da75ac @ [207 . 167 . 80 . 70]>
Reply-to: connect @ ecentral . com

Chuq Von Rospach wrote (in part):
> And the responses I got back from AOL made it clear these folks don't
> know how to operate the machinery. Period. Despite my system sending
> instructions on subscription, and re-sending them to the list every two
> weeks, these people in many cases had no clue how to unsubscribe, had
> no clue how to get help, never bothered to read any of the
> instructions, don't know basics like e-mailing postmaster for help --
> nothing. And when the information *is* presented to them, there's a
> high level of simply choosing to ignore it, doing what they want, and
> assuming it'll work anyway.

Sad as it is, I got a really good laugh while reading this.  It is 
OH-SO-TRUE!  But, I must also add that these problems are not just limited to 
AOLers.  Clueless subscribers are *everywhere*.

Just in the past month for example I have had bounces from:

* 2 former university employees who repeatedly tried to use their now 
nonexistent email accounts to attempt to subscribe (and subscribe and 
subscribe, and then complain to me about it - all from an address I can't use 
to reply to them).
* 20 or so addresses from with full mailboxes (50% have had this 
same problem before)
* 15 or so addresses from with full mailboxes (40% repeat problem)
* 25 or so addresses from various, smaller ISPs with full mailboxes (50% 
repeat problem)
* 14 folks who have changed servers, resubscribed with their new address, but 
never unsubbed their old address
* 131 mangled "unsub me (or) change me over to the digest" requests, all sent 
to the wrong address (mine or the list's, rather than Majordomo's)
* 12 "help me, I don't know how to reply to mail/how to change my 
preferences/how to create a sig file, etc. etc. etc. laments)
My list has only 300 or so subscribers.  I just can't imagine how crazy this 
situation must get for those with thousands of subscribers!

Brad Knowles then wrote in response to Chuq's comments:

>         We clearly need to educate our users better.
>         But, taking my AOL hat off now, how would you educate a large
> user community like this?  I mean, the average Usenet poster seems
> quite clueless enough (give most of the posts I've read and personal
> email messages I get from people asking me to solve their problem for
> them), and quite incapable of reading the amazingly complete and
> accurate array of information that can be found in the FAQ archives.
> I mean, you can lead a user to the FAQ Archives, but you can't make
> them drink from the Font of Knowledge or the Well of Wisdom.
>         As a guy who sees the FAQ he currently maintains growing ad
> infinitum (as I dumb it down further and further, to try and answer
> more and more basic questions), I'm beginning to get quite
> disheartened here.

I think Brad has hit the nail on the head here.  How *do* we educate these 
people?  I also keep dumbing down my list's Welcome Message to include more 
basic information.  I've even added in URLs that really explain the basics in 
detail.  Using the Net for private email and/or mailing lists is really not 
all that difficult, IMHO.  But, no matter how much info you provide the 
newbies with, you can't *make* them read it.

Or can you?

Unschooling List Mom
Aurora, Colorado
connect @
 ecentral .

      ~' `,      )"  
    o-)O \ \'''"/    
     \_   ,,}   ) 
woof!  '',,,,, ,   
         ||  ||    We learn from history 
        "--'"--'   that we do not learn anything from history.

Indexed By Date Previous: Re: Is Bob Metcalfe right or wrong?
From: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>
Next: Re: Educating large masses of users (was: Re: fresh horror from
From: "Gess Shankar" <gess @ earthchannel . com>
Indexed By Thread Previous: Re: fresh horror from AOL
From: Tim Bowden <tcbowden @ clovis . nerdnosh . org>
Next: Re: Clueless Subscribers
From: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>

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