Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 2000)

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Subject: Re: Confirmation Required
From: "Ronald F. Guilmette" <rfg @ monkeys . com>
Date: Fri, 05 May 2000 20:11:59 -0700
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: Your message of Fri, 05 May 2000 15:10:11 -0000. <200005052210 . PAA04046 @ server . postmodern . com>

In message <200005052210 .
 PAA04046 @
 server .
 postmodern .
mcb @
 postmodern .
 com (Michael C. Berch) wrote:

>Chuq writes:
>> The biggest problem I have on my lists today are people who refuse to 
>> read the instructions. How do you teach THEM?
>You don't.  I consider it a self-executing bozo filter.  If someone is
>1) unable to follow simply-worded instructions; 2) unable to comply
>with the concept of mailing back a confirmation token, or clicking on
>a confirmation link; 3) unable to handle the common everyday concepts
>and actions of reading and sending e-mail ... my lists are better off
>without them.  

I couldn't have said it better myself.

>My experience shows that this group is highly correlated with the
>group of people who post drivel, chain letters, Net hoaxes, etc.,
>or have misconfigured vacation programs, or post everything as HTML
>or rich text or try to send through encoded binaries or graphics.
>I get a lot of Majordomo "please approve" requests for people who sent
>the message
>	subscribe <listname> your-email-address


>to Majordomo.  If they don't understand the level of abstraction
>(which is explained in the following line in the help message) that
>causes "your-email-address" to be replaced by an actual e-mail address,
>they're unlikely to be a valuable contributor to the list.  So I don't
>do it manually or even send a further help message.  If they're
>interested, and figure it out later, they'll come back.
>Some lists have business or other purposes that make this unacceptable,

I disagree.  The prinicpals are the same in both cases.

>...but for the type of hobbyist, fan, and other recreationsl lists I
>run, it seems the best policy.

Congratulations.  You have identified the REAL issue that is lurking
behind these discussions.

I have yet to meet a single mailing list admin of a NON-COMMERCIAL TWO-WAY
discussion-type list who would argue AGAINST having proper security setup
for mailing list subscriptions.

Conversely, I have yet to meet a single mailing list admin of a COMMERCIAL
ONE-WAY ``marketing & sales'' fecal matter newletter who would argue IN
FAVOR of having proper security setup for mailing list subscriptions.

The reasons for this discrepancy are clear.  People who operate discussion
lists want reasonably intelligent *contributors*, whereas COMPANIES that
operate one-way ADVERTISING lists don't give a damn if the life form
receiving their messages can even hold a spoon.  The only thing they care
about is whether or not they own a wallet.  And the incentives, as perceived
from their perspectives, cause them to delude themselves into believing
that every living thing on the planet, concious or otherwise, NEEDS to
hear about their special products and services.

I've talked to a LOT of admins of commercial one-way mailing lists and
I've done my best, talking until I'm blue in the face on many occasions,
to try to explain to them that no, not every creature on planet earth
that happens to have disposable income really has a desire to learn
about their wonderful products and serives, and yes, I really AM annoyed
that they allowed some net-hooligan to subscribe me to their lists.

Almost without exception, they don't get it.

I've come to one inescapable conclusion after numerous attempts to explain
these concepts to innumerable marketing managers... they don't get it
because they don't WANT to get it.

It's not that they are stupid or that they really aren't able to grasp
ethical concepts.  It's just that they have that marvelous in-built human
capacity which allows us all to reach ``logical'' conclusions which
conveniently suit our own narrow self-interest.

But this isn't going to work in the long run.  Over time, netizens are
getting more and more irate about getting spammed all of the time, and
they are becoming more and more aware that if a company has... either by
concious choice or by acts of omission... allowed net-hooligans to get
the company to send unsolicited e-mail to someone, this is only one step
(and only one SMALL step) away from the company being spammers themselves.

And how exactly is the recipient/victim supposed to tell the difference
anyway?  The answer is simple.  You can't.

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From: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>
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From: "Bernie Cosell" <bernie @ fantasyfarm . com>
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