Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(December 2001)

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Subject: Periodic subscription renewal
From: "Michael S. Johnson" <michj @ nausicaa . net>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 15:32:39 -0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
To: Jeffrey Goldberg <jeffrey @ goldmark . org>
Cc: List Managers <List-Managers @ greatcircle . com>
In-reply-to: <Pine . LNX . 4 . 43 . 0112181430400 . 12080-100000 @ lehel . goldmark . private>

On Tue, 18 Dec 2001, Michael S. Johnson wrote:
> Automated periodic subscription renewal:

On Tue, 18 Dec 2001, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote:
> As someone else asked, I'd be curious to know what circumstances lead list
> managers to make us of this feature 

I used to use it.  Why?  To keep better track of the number of current
subscribers.  Every once in awhile, for example to commemorate the list's
birthday, I generate a report to the subscribers indicating how many of us
there are and from which countries we hail from (leaving the generic TLDs
assigned to the USA for lack of an easy way to determine otherwise).

LISTSERV supports a concept called NOMAIL which is similar to a VACATION
flag supported by other list servers such as Listar.  NOMAIL lets a
subscriber remain subscribed without receiving list mail.  Subscribers can
use it when they go on vacation.  List owners can use it to stop mail to
subscribers whose mail servers are generating bounces or other error
messages.  The result of this is that a significant number of subscribers
(about 10%) are no longer receiving mail from the list either because they
went on vacation and forgot to turn their mail back on, or because their
mail server was broken and they didn't bother to complain that they
weren't receiving e-mail anymore.

Why don't I use it anymore?  It has been a while, so I forget the exact
reason, but it could have been for any of the following:

* Subscribers were booted because they didn't know how to correctly 
  respond to the automated probe in order to renew their subscription.

* Subscribers were booted because their e-mail software generated a 
  "From" address different from their subscription address.  LISTSERV
  couldn't match them (and humans couldn't either without being told).

* Subscribers were booted because they didn't respond to the probe in
  time, or because their response didn't get delivered to LISTSERV in

Examples of all three generated enough complaints for me to stop using the
subscription renewal feature.  Your mileage may vary.


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