Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(January 1999)

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Subject: Re: Un$ubscribe Requests
From: murr rhame <murr @ vnet . net>
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 08:50:24 -0500 (EST)
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <19990104215122 . A5291 @ gsp . org>

On Mon, 4 Jan 1999, Rich Kulawiec wrote:

> ...  If the offense is sufficiently egregious, I simply report the
> miscreant for abuse to their ISP/organization. ...

If a luser trashes your list or commits some other major offense out
of the blue, so be it.  Take the matter up with their sysadmin.  On
the other hand, bating a newbie into a flame war which results in
getting his account yanked is not my idea of a worthwhile endeavor.

> For *you*, sure.  But then all you have effectively done is teach
> these idiots that (a) mailbombing the entire list or (b) pestering
> the list admin *works*, instead of teaching them the right way.
> This means that future list admins will have to deal with the
> problem *you* have conveniently shifted onto their shoulders.

Apparently, some of you presume that I do nothing to help people
un$ubscribe themselves.  This is not true.  I send un$ubscribe
instructions in the welcome message.  I post instructions periodically
to my lists.  On my Lyris lists, every article and digest includes
un$ubscribe instructions in the signature.  I do my part inform and
train $ubscribers how to remove themselves from the list.  When I
explain something in plain and simple terms and they still don't get
it, I don't consider it worth my while to start a personal dialog.

> Personally, I have higher regard for my colleagues, and so I try
> to educate when possible and punish when necessary in order to try
> to spare them (my colleagues) the effort.

I am proud of you.  How many times have you successfully trained a
luser?  How many times have you only sparked a flame war with an
idiot?  Years ago, I regularly attempted to give private lessons to
lusers on how to un$ubscribe.  Damned few of them were even slightly
interested in learning anything.  In my experience, I have found that
private lessons are not a useful expenditure of effort.

A very small percentage of my $ubscribers have difficulty leaving.  
The majority of un$ubscribes are automated removals of addresses which
can not be reached.  Dead accounts, filled mail boxes, missconfigured
machines, etc.  Of those who actively choose to leave, most
un$ubscribe themselves with no problem.  The few remaining who have
trouble un$ubscribing themselves have made it clear by their actions
that they are either unwilling or unable to learn.

Why forestall the inevitable?  Punt them and be done with it.  Some
list admins would rather spend their time arguing with a brick wall.
Then they complain loudly about the time they have wasted.  I choose
not to beat my head against the wall.  I simply open the door when
someone asks.

> If you want to take the expedient way out instead of doing the
> right thing, that's your priviledge.

I am doing the right thing for my lists.  I'm also saving everyone
involved a lot of grief.  You are at liberty to do what you believe is
right for your lists.  I you want to argue with brain-dead $ubscribers
and attempt to train them, be my guest.  You may win a few converts.

- murr -

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