Date: Tue, 4 Feb 1997 23:33:44 -0500
From: Brad Knowles <brad @
At 2:46 AM -0500 2/3/1997, David B. Smith wrote:
>AOL could essentially do what I've done here. Create an AOL conference
>-- or whatever they call them there -- for each list that has a
>"significant" number of AOL subscribers. The interface becomes
>consistent for all the users, as well as being manageable by AOL staff.
My mailing list is gatewayed to aol (aol.lists.immune). This is something
I asked them to do for me, years ago, to avoid the huge numbers of AOL
users (then about 25% of my subscriber base) who would sign on then off
quickly, complaining about the huge volume of posts (20 a day...sigh).
>No subscribing or unsubscribing by users is necessary at all -- AOL
>subscribes, and provides access in that fashion. The mailbox
>limitations become meaningless -- individuals don't have to keep the
>message flow in their personal mailboxes anymore. No more bounces to
>the list -- AOL absorbs the incoming traffic seamlessly. (I assume.)
It does help. For many users it is better access, especially for those who
do their reading on-line. And it makes them less likely to bounce mail
from full mailboxes. And they can "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" at will
without bothering me.
The issue of posting becomes a problem, however. If a list only
allows subscribed users to post, how do the hundreds (or thousands)
of AOL users who are "subscribed" to the list via Usenet news post to
it? Unfortunately, they don't (which makes the idea virtually
useless to most of them).
Well, not quite. Back when I had a manually-run list, when someone from
AOL usenet posted it automactically sent the post to my posting address and
therefore got to the whole list. The header looked different from the
other posts so I could tell who did this. Posts from AOL usenet were
actually fairly rare and none of them (in about 3 years) were spams or
ads. I had been worried about this and wanted to disabled posting but
decided to try it and have had no problems at all with it.
Now that my list has changed addresses and is machine automated with
subscriber-only posting, I talked with AOL (not you, obviously :-) about
how to do the gateway now. We decided to keep it the same; posts go to the
posting address. If the poster is not subscribed then s/he gets a return
email saying the post did not go through and why. My system
(best.com..."bestserv") allows users to set an alias so you can have
posting access without getting posts. I assume most systems allow the
There are definately disadvantages to this, though, as someone who provides
archives for anyone who wants them, it hasnt been an issue for me. Of
course, AOL (or anyplace) should not do this without the list-owner's
permission. Immune is also gatewayed to some smaller local lists (5-10 ppl
each) at the discretion of the sysop, with my permission.
"There's nothing wrong with me. Maybe there's Cyndi Norman
something wrong with the universe." (ST:TNG) cnorman @