[Mailman-Users] Feature Request: Selective Mass Subscription

Brad Knowles brad at shub-internet.org
Wed Jul 16 07:52:00 CEST 2008

On 7/15/08, Savoy, Jim wrote:

>                                                   We have class lists,
>  lab lists, club lists, team lists, student lists, employee lists,
>  security lists (some of which contain every soul on our campus - rarely
>  ever used (never used yet, in fact, knock wood) for Virginia Tech-type
>  campus-wide emergencies, etc).

Mailing lists are useful for a wide variety of things, but VT-type 
emergencies are not among them.

IIRC, just a day or two after that event, the CIO of VT came to this 
very list to ask for assistance in setting up Mailman for future 
cases like this, to send out emergency notices to everyone on campus. 
My understanding is that he went away very disheartened when he was 
informed of:

	1.  The inherently unreliable nature of e-mail and how long it
		can take to get delivered under "normal" circumstances

	2.  The more time-sensitive the subject, the less likely you
		are to meet your desired goals of reachability in a
		given amount of time

	3.  The fact that most carriers are literally dropping billions
		and billions of SMS messages per day that are coming
		across the e-mail-to-SMS gateways

There are commercial companies who specialize in these kinds of 
emergency broadcast notification systems.  For this function, you 
want to go with one of these companies.  Mailing lists are *NOT* a 
good solution here.

>    But in all these years, we've had very few complaints and everything
>  has run very smoothly. We usually comply quickly if someone wants out,
>  but we would never in a million years want people to have to opt-in!

When you have some control over the potential population (like a 
University does over their faculty, staff, and students, or how a 
company would have control over their employees), then an opt-out 
solution of the sort you describe is quite reasonable.

Again, we get back to this issue where not everyone uses it that way, 
and the feature can be sorely abused.  However, considering 
circumstances such as you have described, the feature is provided in 
the code and is not currently disabled by default.

And, despite my own personal views, I realize the situation that 
other sites may be in, so I don't agitate too loudly to try to change 
that default.

Brad Knowles <brad at shub-internet.org>
LinkedIn Profile: <http://tinyurl.com/y8kpxu>

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