Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(October 2004)
 

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Subject: things that should be in the welcome message
From: JC Dill <lists04 @ equinephotoart . com>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2004 14:20:26 -0700
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 0.6 (Windows/20040502)

I recently had an unpleasant experience subscribing to a mailing list. The list owner had configured the list to subscribe new users with a variety of unusual settings. The welcome message mentioned some of these settings, but not all, and it told how to change some of them, but not all. Unfortunately, I wanted to change one of the settings that was not adequately described, and trying to determine the correct format for changing this setting was very difficult! The list owner's name and email address (or list-owner alias) were not present in the welcome letter, and the reply address for the welcome letter looked like it went to the list *server* rather than to the list *owner* (although I later learned that it did go to the owner). The list runs on a listserver that I'm not familiar with, and trying to decipher the list server's "help" messages was very frustrating. It took me over a dozen emails back and forth with the list server and finally I had to go to a webpage to get the list owner's email address to get help getting my subscription properly configured to meet my needs.

The list owner claimed that there are no rules/standards/"laws" that detail what should be included in the welcome message and thus no obligation for the list owner to include the information I expected (how to change the subscription to the "default" settings, how to contact the list owner) in the welcome letter. I coulda swore I've seen list owner standards outlined somewhere before! Am I confused? Is there a standards document that outlines what should be in the welcome message that is received when you subscribe to a list? Am I unreasonable to expect that the welcome message at least include an email address (or alias) for the list owner in the *body* of the message, or that the message reply-to address clearly show that it goes to the owner (i.e. listname-owner alias)? What about expecting clear instructions on how to do something as basic as setting one's subscription to individual emails instead of the list-default setting of mime-digest?

Thanks!

jc






Follow-Ups:
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From: Omar Thameen <omar @ westside . urbanblight . com>
Next: Re: things that should be in the welcome message
From: Paul Russell <prussell @ nd . edu>
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From: Omar Thameen <omar @ westside . urbanblight . com>
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