[Mailman-Users] how to create an announce-only list / newsletter / admin-post only list

Scott Courtney courtney at 4th.com
Thu Jun 20 17:54:13 CEST 2002

On Thursday 20 June 2002 11:17 am, Nils Vogels wrote:
> Could you please explain me, why it is a good thing that people can not
> unsubscribe from such a list ?
> I can imagine cases where the administrator of the list finds it important
> that a message gets delivered to all the people /he/ wishes to explicitly
> receive the message.
> While I agree this could easily be used for UCE, imagine a list of people
> you want to send a christmas-postcard via email to. I'd really like the
> good things from mailman, such as bounce detection, archiving etc, while I
> also want to make sure that each of my online friends gets the digital
> postcard.

Even in this case, though, I think it is bad form not to allow unsubscription.
If you have a greeting card list, and someone takes the trouble to specifically
follow a link or send a list command to unsubscribe, wouldn't that suggest that
the greeting card is unwelcome? Unsubscriptions rarely happen by accident.

I have online acquaintances -- note that I don't say friends -- who insist on
sending me those web-based greeting cards constantly. Unfortunately, quite a
few of them only work if you have Shockwave Flash, or CaptiveX plugins, or
other eye-candy technologies. CaptiveX only works on Wintendo systems, as with
some versions of Shockwave, last time I checked. The people who
send them often are sending them out to large numbers of people; they're not
even a personal message. I *dream* of being able to permanently "unsubscribe"
from being on clueless people's "everyone" mailing list.

Likewise virus warnings, which don't apply to me as a Linux-only user. Somehow
my acquaintances who are totally non-technical figure that if they see a virus
"warning" (often a hoax) on the Internet, that they somehow must have seen it
before I did, so they all forward every warning to me because they figure as
a techie I just *have* to be interested in such things. I've got a techie
reputation, so they all figure that they are the very first one to make me
aware of this horrible new threat to civilization. I don't just get one copy
of a hoax -- I get a dozen or more. And I have to try to be polite when I
tell them that they've just been bamboozled *again* by a hoax that is identical
to the one that fooled them last month. sed -e 's/Mojo Virus539/Ultra Virus/g'


Can you imagine giving either of these groups of people Mailman, with the
ability to block unsubscriptions? I shudder at the thought:

"Hello. I have just opted you in for Joe's Virus Warning, Internet Joke,
Multilevel Marketing, Health Care News, and E-mail Blog List!!! I hope you
enjoy all the great things I'm going to send you! I'll be updating this
list ten or fifteen times a day, and will be sending great pix of my
dog once I figure out how to do that in Outlook Express. I know that if
you get confused as easily as I do with these computer thingies, that it's
really really REALLY easy to lose your mail list subscriptions, so I just
turned off the unsubscribe thingie in this list. Neato, huh? Anyway, have
a great day! Oh, P.S. -- I subscribed my whole addressbook to this
list, so we can all keep in touch. So you guys should all send your Blog
stuff, too, so we can read each other's! For starters, here's a really
cool online quiz to find out how much like Britney Spears you are!!!"

There are times when even PLONK just feels so...insufficient.


I don't mean any disrespect to your views, but I'm still unable to come up with
any non-spam reason for blocking unsubscriptions. If someone can think of one
that I've overlooked, I'll gladly stand corrected. :-)

Kind regards,

Scott Courtney         | "I don't mind Microsoft making money. I mind them
courtney at 4th.com       | having a bad operating system."    -- Linus Torvalds
http://4th.com/        | ("The Rebel Code," NY Times, 21 February 1999)

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