Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 2002)

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Subject: Re: Please prune this list!
From: Nick Simicich <njs @ scifi . squawk . com>
Date: Sat, 06 Jul 2002 00:07:34 -0400
To: list-managers <list-managers @ greatcircle . com>
In-reply-to: <24019 . 1025847869 @ kanga . nu>
References: <Message from "Roger B.A. Klorese" <rogerk @ queernet . org> <3D250BF4 . 6020502 @ queernet . org> <Pine . GSO . 4 . 44 . 0207050354550 . 9765-100000 @ stjorn . ifi . uio . no> <22440 . 1025836984 @ kanga . nu> <3D250BF4 . 6020502 @ queernet . org>

At 10:44 PM 2002-07-04 -0700, J C Lawrence wrote:
> Eudora doesn't have a "professional edition."  There are thre modes --
> lite, sponsored, and full -- and they don't handle attributions at all
> differently.

There is a product which identifies itself as Eudora Pro.  At the
attribution level it is recognisable due to the fact that unlike base
Eudora on a group reply it will attribute to the From: rather than the
inane "you".

There used to be such a product. It would only do the above if you actually did a reply-to-all or you edited your Eudora.ini to change the reply format.

At 10:54 PM 2002-07-04 -0700, Roger B.A. Klorese wrote:
Thomas Gramstad wrote:
Out* are produced by
the evil company who actively tries to make everyone helpless,
stupid, and militantly ignorant;
Yes, better to keep them off the net if they don't pass your intelligence tests, eh?

If a product is designed to be used by the "unwashed masses" it should make them appear washed. It should also protect them. Outrage, in particular, was actively bad in all these regards. Microsoft could have produced a product that worked and played well with other programs and protected naive users from the dangers of the Internet. The early versions were actively awful - if you were not talking to another Outskirts program, you sent large uuencoded sections, and it was hard to figure out how to turn them off since all of the "high function" stuff (i.e., only seemed like a good idea if you were high) seemed to be the default since Outset seemed to be assuming an all Microsoft world.

However, it is also possible to design a program to that the user who is not adverse to learning something is not prevented from doing so. I think that was the issue that people were referring to - the issue is "concealing complexity" without hiding it. Allowing those who want to use the details of the system access without forcing the people who do not want this level of detail to have to use it.

Microsoft was a large company, designing a program to be used by many users - they could have done a good job.

At 11:53 PM 2002-07-04 -0700, Roger B.A. Klorese wrote:
Thomas Gramstad wrote:
Not at all.  Better to give them safe, stable and simple tools,
and encourage them to learn to use those tools.

But what if, like most, they don't *want* to learn? I can show you about 350 of our 400 list-owners who believe they shouldn't need to learn anything to run a list -- imagine how most people feel about email.

You have weird users (where users == list owners). In terms of willingness to do things, to help themselves, to do things that are of significant complexity. But we just had this discussion on mj2-dev. Apply their attitude to almost anything else, from driving to cooking and it simply does not work. You can't do anything without reading and following instructions --- including making dinner. The fact that these people think that they can run a mailing list while giving it less attention than they would their dinner makes me think that they have unreasonable expectations.

At 11:51 AM 2002-07-05 -0400, Tom Neff wrote:
--On Friday, July 05, 2002 11:36 AM -0400 Bernie Cosell <bernie @
fantasyfarm .
com> wrote:
This isn't the place to engage in a side thread on HTML email, but I'll
just mention that "plain text" email is really the wave of the past.
Almost from the day email was born, a *LOT* of folk didn't like 'plain
text'.  The programmers, who were pretty used to plain text for source-
code, were pretty comfortable with plain text, but few others were and
the quest for something better began almost from the outset.

And I'll just mention that when this subject comes up, we debate it - in PLAIN TEXT - without so much as a second thought.

As a data point: I picked up an e-mail list that was actually willing to pay for their service -- the main reason they jumped to my server was that I would offer demime -- and therefore was able to remove attachments and to stop, as had happened a few times, the entire digest from appearing in white on mauve in a script font because one person liked writing in white on mauve in a script font. And they could not stop some users from posting advertising footers for their e-mail service which included gifs, while demime simply removed them (and could be set to elide the advertising footers).

The push to find a solution for this, by the way, came from the users. And, in answer to the comments a few down, the worst offenders were incredimail users.

At 09:14 AM 2002-07-05 -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
(This is for messages with a content-type of text/html.  Usage of
multipart/alternative is much more ambiguous, but in those cases I just
ignore the text/html portion, since it's almost without exception
formatted *less* readibly than the text version regardless of what HTML
browser I use to view it.)

Did I have this discussion with you on spam-l? I looked over the last year of demime filtering actions on my lists and the only common mailer that I can find that is actually using the Content-type: text/html in the RFC822 headers to create a single text/html section is hotmail.

At 09:58 AM 2002-07-05 -0700, Roger B.A. Klorese wrote:
JC Dill wrote:
[.....] And I really detest the duplicate messages this causes ME to receive. IMHO, this is worse than top-posting, with top-posting at least I only get one message.

It's the job of a decent MLM to deal with this.  Mj2 can; all others should.

I strongly disagree that Mj2 "deals with it" --- dealing with it would involve applying electric shocks to the end user. What Mj2 does, if you allow it to, is to decide that anyone who is in To: or CC: should not get a copy of the post from the list. This means that the posting will almost certainly be misfiled in the common mailbox rather in the list mailbox (if you sort your mail that way, I suspect that many people do) and, since the subject flag is optional it won't even have one of those. What this feature is really good for is to post to the list while suppressing copies from the MLM to certain members --- you simply put their address in the headers and you don't send them a copy. :-)

At 04:21 PM 2002-07-05 -0700, J C Lawrence wrote:

Really?  You have taken purposive lists and forked them successfully as
above, or you have taken lists that decayed into salon lists nd found
that they can survive as salon lists?  The two are quite different.

I know of at least one list that was successfully forked into a talk list and a purpose list --- the one in use by the local Linux user's group.

War is an ugly thing, but it is not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made so by the exertions of better men than himself. -- John Stuart Mill
Nick Simicich - njs @
scifi .
squawk .

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