Berg Oswell wrote:
> Sending something, anything, off-list does not use your service.
> Do your list rules specifically forbid the use of auto-responders
> by people on the list? If so, then you can ban someone for using one, if
> the penalty for using one, in the rules they agreed to, specify banning.
> But if it's not in the rules, then you have no right to govern someone's
> activities off-list.
The OOO was triggered by a posting to the list. It does not matter that it was
sent off-list. If the OOO-sender had not been subscribed to the list, or if the
OOO-sender had configured the auto-responder to ignore list postings, or if the
OOO-sender had set his/her list subscription to NOMAIL or DIGEST before leaving,
the OOO would not have been sent. We do not actively monitor the list for OOOs,
but if the list owners receive complaints about OOOs sent in response to list
postings, we take appropriate action. We may decide to notify the OOO-sender
that his/her subscription has been set to NOMAIL, and that he/she can reset it
when he/she disables the OOO-bot. If we have had previous problems with the
subscriber, we may decide that it is time to dump the problem child and block
future subscription requests. It is our list and we can run it any way we like.
Those who do not like the way we run it are free to leave. If we run it in an
arbitrary, capricious, and boneheaded manner, we will eventually lose all our
subscribers. People do not use a free service because it is free; they use it
because it is useful. If it ceases to be useful, they will stop using it.
In another posting to this list, you suggested that the recipient of an unwanted
OOO should complain to the OOO-sender's Internet service provider. Do you
honestly believe that any ISP is going to do anything at all about a single
complaint regarding a single unwanted OOO? Even those who actually do something
about real abuse reports are likely send your report to the Big Bit Bucket in
I am the owner or co-owner of several lists, including a discussion list with
over 1200 international subscribers who post approximately 150 messages per day;
the primary sysadmin of a list server with over 9,000 lists and half a million
subscribers; and the primary postmaster for an .edu domain with approximately
20,000 email accounts and a quarter of a million local deliveries per day. I
have no doubt there are others on this list with more responsibility and more
experience; I simply want to make it clear that my position on this issue is
based on actual experience, not some philosophical ideal of The Way The World
Ought To Be.