[Mailman-Users] This is unixstuff warning

Chuq Von Rospach chuqui at plaidworks.com
Thu Jun 14 20:04:00 CEST 2001

On Thursday, June 14, 2001, at 07:41 AM, JT wrote:

> Any job that brings you into contact with the
> general public is going to bring you to the inescapable conclusions
> that a good percentage of the population might as well walk around
> dressed in animal skins, dragging a human femur.

A small percentage. maybe 1/2 of 1%. The problem is that their hassle 
factor is way out of proportion to their numbers.

This is one of the classic reasons why things like usenet groups and 
mail lists don't scale well -- if you have a 500 member list and one 
dweeb on it, that's tolerable. If you have 5000 members and 10 dweebs, 
you and your members are going crazy from the noise. And it doesn't 
matter what size your list is, if a troll moves in. One is enough.

>  Try working a cash
> register for a couple months and you'll see how true this is.

or a telephone as a support person.

> For some reason (I'd guess the real power that technical competency
> brings), technical folks seem to have a little less patience to bring
> to dealing with the troublemakers.

Partly, I think, because computers tend to attract people who aren't 
necessarily socially adept. Which probably sounds like more of a slap 
than I intend it to be, so I'll apologize for it up front. But computers 
have moved out of the raise-floor room and into the living room, so even 
the people who build the things can no longer get away with just dealing 
with other geeks...

> 	1) Include the subscription address in the body of administrative
> 	mails sent to the individual user.  Truly half the people who
> 	can't unsubscribe don't even know what address is subscribed.
> 	Majordomo suffers this flaw too - and To headers don't cut it,
> 	forget about Received.  This should be in default installations.

And the reason this was done was performance and resources. In other 
words -- it makes it easier for the MLM and the server, not the user.

Which, when majordomo was designed and the user base was primarily small 
and technical, wasn't a bad design choice. Remember, majordomo's design 
goes back to the days of UUCP, 2400 baud modems and really slow 
networks. All of that changed, but the underlying designs haven't. This 
is one place where Lyris really has some good ideas, FWIW.  We need to 
get out of the mindset of doing things to make it easier for the 
computer/software/network/admin, and put the end-users (i.e. customer) 

> 	2) Simplify the 'unsubscribe' option for people who've forgotten
> 	the passwords

One of the things I'm working on is creating a one-click unsubscribe for 
my systems. It'll encode enough user information in the URL to be able 
to auto-search for the user and bring that user record up on the web 
page; and also extend the email side to use the plus notation 
(unsubscribe+userdata at applenews.lists.apple.com) to pre-encode that as 
well, and get away from trying to use the From: line on email unsubs, 
since that's bogus on 5-7% of the email requests I see these days, 
thanks to hotmail, yahoo, corporate naming systems and people's wide use 
of .forwards...

and passwords on unsubs are silly (sorry, Barry). Users who want to 
unsubscribe want off. they don't want to play games, they just want to 
leave. I have, in the last decade, seen ONE instance of forged unsubs on 
my mail lists, and that was a guy who was trying to make a point and so 
unsubsribed me from my own lists. Let's just say he didn't appreciate 
the response.

Chuq Von Rospach, Internet Gnome <http://www.chuqui.com>
[<chuqui at plaidworks.com> = <me at chuqui.com> = <chuq at apple.com>]
Yes, yes, I've finally finished my home page. Lucky you.

You know, I Remember When I Used To Speak In Capitals, Too. It's 
It also encourages people to poke sticks at you. Justifiably. (chuq, 

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