[Mailman-Users] Feature Request: Selective Mass Subscription

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Fri Jul 11 09:09:38 CEST 2008

Larry Stone writes:

 > Brad, I'm glad you added that. But it raises an interesting topic of
 > discussion which is why is e-mail held to a different standard than
 > other means of communication.

Because it's different.  First, the costs are several orders of
magnitude cheaper.  Second, identifying the agent who caused an email
to be sent (who doesn't want to be identified) is orders of magnitude
harder, let alone forcing them to appear in court.

 > Now have any of them given permission to be added to a mailing
 > list?

The software you use is irrelevant.  Did they give you permission to
send them email?  As you explain it, implicitly, they did.  Between
you and them, legally and ethically, cased closed.

The problem is that email operates at internet speed, for good and for
bad.  ISPs can have their whole IP block blacklisted within seconds
after a mailing goes out.  They don't have time for drawn out due
process; if they receive a complaint, they need to make a decision

 > Nobody asks for confirmed opt-in for snail mail mailings or phone
 > calls. So why is e-mail held to a different standard?

Practically speaking, because it's not possible to for random
individuals to stop snail mail or phone calls simply by setting up a
special-purpose nameserver (or a filter in the MTA of a mega-ISP).  To
stop snail mail or phone calls, a third party needs to go through the
courts.  Furthermore, even if I get banned from sending mass mail
through the USPS, the rest of my zip code is unaffected.  That's not
necessarily true if you get your ISP's whole IP block listed on one of
the black holes.

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