[Mailman-Users] AOL redacts user addresses even with VERP and full personalization enabled

Lindsay Haisley fmouse-mailman at fmp.com
Tue Jun 19 20:40:19 CEST 2012

On Tue, 2012-06-19 at 17:17 +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Nice try, but we still can't define AOL's policy for them.  AOL's
> claim is that we need to fix our spam problem, not unsubscribe the
> member,

Isn't that the same thing?  The object is to prevent the complaining
recipient from receiving offensive emails, whatever one calls them.  The
complaint is, in AOL's collective mind, evidence of a "spam problem"
which needs to be fixed.  It's a far stretch of their assumed authority
to presume that the "spam problem" is the list itself.  What action,
other than severing the link between the sender (the list) and the
recipient (the AOL subscriber) would AOL expect, or consider a justified
use of an Email Feedback Report?

>  so trying to identify the member *is* an invasion of privacy.

Mailman identifies recipients all the time in the process of doing
bounce processing.  The only difference here is that the bounce is
explicitly initiated by the recipient by pressing the "Report spam"
button, rather than implicitly by, say, changing email addresses without
updating associated list subscriptions.

> Nor should we judge what the member "obviously wants," especially
> given the draconian "solution."

Unsubscribing a list subscriber is hardly draconian.  Perhaps banning
the user from resubscribing might be considered so, but I don't think
that automatic unsubscription of an address rises anywhere near this
level.  The system I've built here to parse AOL's Feedback Reports uses
a withlist script to identify the list administrator and provides
him/her with a detailed explanation of the automated action and what the
admin's options are, which include counseling the unsubscribed user and
re-subscribing him/her.

> Unsubscribing the member is a
> forceful act that they may not want (you in particular should not
> forget that, Dave!)
I would use "intentional" rather than "forceful", and in many cases,
perhaps most, hitting the "Report Spam" button is probably seen as a way
to to get AOL to help them stop receiving emails that they may have long
ago subscribed to, and they don't have the patience or knowledge to jump
through the hoops required to explicitly unsubscribe from the list.

Lindsay Haisley       | "It is better to bite a single
FMP Computer Services |    cannibal than to curse the doggies"
512-259-1190          |
http://www.fmp.com    |        -- John Day

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