Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1998)

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Subject: Software vs List Management Skills
From: Mike Nolan <nolan @ celery . tssi . com>
Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 16:10:46 -0500 (CDT)
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . com (List Managers)
Reply-to: nolan @ tssi . com

Rich Kulawiec wrote:
> Nonsense.   No piece of software is a substitute for understanding the basics.

Hear, hear!!

No list management software is so good that it can replace 100% of the
list manager's intellect, whether that be for dealing with clueless
subscribers, arcane bounces, mail systems that refuse to follow the 
standards, or any other standard, rule, or protocol that one might envision
as being applicable to mailing lists.

And I think that while a healthy dose of technical information is useful
to list managers, it isn't an absolute requirement if there is someone
else in the loop who does have those skills and can be utilized as the need
arises, such as a system or mail adminstrator.

My experience is that most new list managers will pick up quite a bit of
information about e-mail from running their lists, but I think it is
incumbent on the system/mail managers NOT to inflict poorly configured new
lists upon the Internet.  These days I think that means not allowing
new lists without a confirm requirement for new subscribers unless there
is a mighty good reason for it.  (I can't THINK of such a reason right off
the top of my head, but I'm willing to allow that one might exist.)

I would go even further.  I don't think that new Internet hookups should be 
permitted if they have wide open SMTP ports that don't prohibit relaying 
from unknown parties, among other security holes.  And I think that the 
backbones should develop some real, ahem, backbone and disconnect sites 
or even entire networks that consistently abuse the net.
Mike Nolan

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