Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(February 1997)

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Subject: Re: Educating large masses of users (was: Re: fresh horror from AOL)
From: Mark Sienkiewicz <mark @ tis . com>
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 18:33:57 -0500 (EST)
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM

>What if 
>	- there were a standard listmanager protocol for commands
>	- mail clients knew that protocol, and how to query list-servers
>	  about supported features
>	- mail clients maintained lists of active subscriptions, and
>	  provided intelligent support for posting, suspending,
>	  un-subscribing, etc

This would go a long way toward helping with the problem.  I suggest
that people who are interested in this idea should form a draft
proposal and distribute it as an RFC.  It would want to go beyond
the usual protocol specification and talk a bit about what a user
actually sees -- that way someone who drops AOL and starts using
Eudora through a local ISP can still understand how to do it.

This will take years to implement.  Even if I snap my fingers and new
software appears overnight, it will be a long time before everybody
upgrades.  [e.g. I still prefer the same mailer I used 16 years
ago, and I don't plan to upgrade to a user-hostile GUI now. :) ]

In the mean time, there may be some band-aid solutions that will help
us out.  I wonder if there is some way to help the clueless
self-select themselves off the list.  

For example, suppose a subscribe request didn't actually put you
on the list-- it could send you instructions to follow.  If you
can't follow the instructions, you can't get on the list.  Or if
you can't get a replyable address in your message header, you can't
get on the list...

Or perhaps the default action for mail sent to the list address is
to unsubscribe the sender.  Require the first line of the message
to be the word "post".

Or perhaps user-by-user moderation.  Only users who are known to
be clueful get un-moderated.

I'm sure none of these would be perfect solutions, but perhaps some
ideas along these lines could help.

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