Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 1997)

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Subject: Re: Funny AOL Address
From: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jul 1997 23:53:13 -0700
To: Chip Rosenthal <chip @ unicom . com>, list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <199707020528 . AAA01511 @ mail . unicom . com>
References: <v03102806afd642809aec @ [207 . 167 . 80 . 70]> from "Chuq Von Rospach" at Jun 24, 1997 08:37:16 PM

At 10:28 PM -0700 7/1/97, Chip Rosenthal wrote:

>Why are you even doing that?
>If the potential zubscriber has difficulty following simple instructions
>on how to join the list, don't you think they might have a few problems
>when they want to get off?

Well, for one thing, a number of my lists are oriented towards the
newer user. It'd be self-defeating to design a system or accept an
attitude that if they're not smart enough, they shouldn't be on the
list anyway. Part of the reason for the lists is to teach them....

Users aren't too stupid -- well, most of them. Many times, the systems
aren't smart enough. Or are built with assumptions that simply aren't
true any more, like baseline competencies. Now, if I was running a list
for list-admins, I could make different assumptions, because it would
be fairly stupid for a person who can barely run Claris emailer to run
mail lists (but it happens, and as the list tools improve, with things
like LetterRip and non-Unix beasts, you don't need to be a guru any
more... We have all sorts of thi stuff running nicely around apple...).
But I don't see a reason not to make my lists as easy to use and
accessible as I can, because I'm trying to be inclusive, not exclusive.

You can make things *too* simple. My web interfaces that allowed
multiple signups with one submission was that way. Not only did ti open
doors to *stupid* spammers, it opened doors to people who just signed
up to everything and drowned in the onslaught. Why'd they do that? Does
it matter? (mostly to see what they were about, and dropping the ones
they don't want later.. Yes, I check on this stuff.... And a lot of it
was not-thinking problems). The current version stops about 95% of the
spam and forces users to think about what lists to sign up, because you
won't thoughtlessly click around the page signing up for every one. It
raises the bar enough, but not too high. And about once a month,
someone bitches at me because they can't just click checkboxes instead
of radio buttons.... (grin).

>I think that if you have zubscribers do anything other than mail
>a -request address, ultimately you do yourself and the net-as-a-whole
>an overall disservice.

Well, we disagree then. I think list servers that allow administrative
requests (or worse, DEMAND them) to be sent to the main posting address
(as a lot of the ListStar stuff does, and I've had long discussions
iwth the developers about this...) do the net as a whole disservice. It
creates expectations that cause problems to *other* lists. I don't see
adding new features that improve list usage are bad, as long as the
"old" ways aren't thrown out willy-nilly, and for those used to the old
ways, they're still there. I'm layering in new stuff on top, not
replacing stuff, so I'm breaking none of the conventions. And if the
stuff works, others will adopt it, and it'll be a new convention some
day. That's how things improve over time....

I think I'm making things not-worse, or I wouldn't do it. And
hopefully, I make things better for the users. My end-user responses
are generally quite favorable. And if the stuff I'm building works,
I'll make it available, so that others can take advantage of it as
well, if they wish... Or not.

I don't see the problem with building on top of a known standard.
Ignoring standards, yes. But enhancing them? Why's that a problem, Chip?

         Chuq Von Rospach (chuq @
 apple .
 com) Apple IS&T Mail List Gnome

 Plaidworks Consulting (chuqui @
 plaidworks .
 com) <>
   (<> +-+ The home for Hockey on the net)

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