[Mailman-Users] Promotion

Barry Warsaw barry at list.org
Fri Jan 25 01:55:20 CET 2008

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On Jan 24, 2008, at 6:31 PM, Allan Hansen wrote:

> I agree, and it's not harsh enough.
> My first reaction to this was Oh-My-God.
> My second reaction was to think that we needed an agreement among  
> Mailman list users that Mailman not be used for spam. Then I  
> realized that that would only inconvenience legit Mailman users and  
> spammers would not care to lie, just as they don't care about how  
> grievously they inconvenience and lie to everyone on their 1,000,000  
> long subscriber lists.
> So I suppose that the best response is to simply ignore requests  
> such as this which so obviously is from a spammer.

Let me chime in for just a second.

Without really knowing the details of this specific case, I should  
point out a few things.  First, as anybody who's seen my replybot  
message knows, I consider spammers reprehensible and am saddened  
whenever I see them using Mailman for their nefarious purposes.   
Fortunately, I'm always gladdened in more than equal measure by all  
the great people using Mailman for positive, fun, interesting, and  
socially important ways.

Second, because GNU Mailman is licensed under the GPL, we cannot  
legally restrict Mailman from being used for any purpose.  The GPL is  
copyright based -- there's no user agreement anywhere to be found.  I  
sometimes wish we could legally prevent spammers from using Mailman,  
but we cannot, and in fact I think in the long run, that benefits all  
of us.  Spamming activities certainly run afoul of other, better laws,  
and I'd rather err on the side of more freedom than less.

However, I think it's perfectly appropriate to denounce spammers, and  
refuse to help them.  I hope we can also educate them so that people  
who might be inadvertently or naively spamming people will come to  
understand that there is a better way.  Some people know exactly what  
they are doing and don't care.  Those people deserve our scorn.  But I  
also know of cases where people really didn't realize that what they  
were doing was unacceptable or possibly illegal.  Let's help them  
understand they can use tools like Mailman in a more acceptable way.   
If they still want to do bad things, we don't have to help them.

- -Barry

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