Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(September 1996)
 

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Subject: Re: Is the lists command legit?
From: "Lazlo Nibble" <lazlo @ swcp . com>
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 1996 23:04:46 -0600 (MDT)
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com (lm)

>> It sounds from your example like you're talking about contacting
>> individuals at random simply based on their presence on a particular
>> interest list.  If so, yes, I consider that abusive behavior.  My
>> presence on a mailing list is an invitation for mail *from that list*,
>> not from anyone else.
>
> Man, You've got a *serious* problem with the definition of abusive
> behavior.  Members of a mailing list typically seem to use the list as a
> resource. If it's a public list, it's a public resource.  Its value to
> any individual will depend on that part of the resource which is of
> interest.  Be it e-mail addresses or knowledge, it's still a resource.

Uh, no, sorry.  The "resource" I'm providing is the traffic on the lists I
run, not the names of the people who subscribe to the list.

> I don't see much difference between the above  example and an instance of my
> car breaking down in San Francisco (I live in Ohio), and my looking up
> Mechanics in the Yellow Pages. In this instance I am "talking about
> contacting individuals at random simply based on their presence" in the
> Yellow Pages.

I don't buy your claim that subscribing to a mailing list is equivalent to
buying an advertisement in the Yellow Pages offering the general public to
contact you if they want a service performed.  I subscribe to some lists
because I'm actively interested in the subject and want to offer my active
participation, and to some because I'm casually interested and just want
to lurk.  Someone who grabs my name off the subscriber list and emails me
at random about the subject is no better than someone who sees me driving
a VW pickup and tracks me down through my license plate number and calls
me at home trying to chat me up about VW pickups -- it is, at its best,
*unbelievably* rude.

I don't like having to make my lists more and more "private" with every
passing year, but these kinds of problems are dragging every list manager
further and further down that road.  If you leave subscriber information
viewable to the world or make list names available via a "lists" command
or allow open posting to a list, some jerk will inevitably come along
who's willing to abuse that fact.  And when you're picking up the pieces
afterward, some other jerk will be *doubly* sure to let you know that he 
thinks you "asked for it" . . .

-- 
::: Lazlo (lazlo @
 swcp .
 com; http://www.swcp.com/lazlo)

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