At 7:23 AM -0400 6/28/96, Dana Katherine Kressierer wrote:
>My problem with AOL/Compuserve/Wow is that their limit (100 or so
>messages) is so low!
ON AOL, I believe the limit is something like 300 or 400
messages. That's quite a lot to wade through, and we also have flash
sessions which allow users to download all their mail to their local
machine, in much the same way POP3 lets you download all your
messages so that you can read and respond to them offline with Eudora.
If you do your flashsessions reasonably frequently, then you have
the same situation as when you do POP3 sessions frequently to
download your mail -- your mailbox is never full.
> If a member of AIML, which generates over
>70 messages per day, is using Compuserve/AOL/Wow he or she is set
>to nomail quite often due to "full mailboxes."
Mailing lists that have this kind of traffic should have digests,
and users on systems that limit the number of messages a user should
subscribe to them. Alternatively, mailing lists with this kind of
traffic should be gatewayed to Usenet newsgroups, where users can hop
on and off at will, and read messages as they get a chance, but don't
have their mailbox get filled by too many messages sent per day.
The use of digests will be significantly improved when more
places have Mail User Agents that understand "standard" digest format
and can re-explode them back into individual messages. This *will*
happen (if nothing else, as more places support "standard" programs
like Eudora 3.0).
> This problem
>certainly does not occur as frequently with any other ISP through
>which our members subscribe to AIML. It's definately, in my
>experience, a problem unique to those three services.
We have six million users (approximately 20% of the entire
Internet, at least according to estimates I've heard). Any place
that has this many users will have more problems than any other,
simply because they have more users than any other. Compare the
number of problems you have with our users relative to how many users
we have, and how many users we have that are subscribed to your list,
and I think you'll find that our "problem" rate is roughly about the
same per user as the average for the list.
What we typically don't have is system-type problems, because if
we have a problem that stops all mail from getting through, you
better believe that we hear about it and fix it fast (you really
don't want to be responsible for losing two or three million
messages, trust me). I guess we trade system-type problems that are
more likely for other sites to have for more user-type problems, but
overall, I honestly think that we're probably at or somewhat below
your average error rate.
>I do agree, at least in theory. But I also think that A/C/W contributes
>greatly to this problem by setting such low limits. Do they have
>any justification for their ~100 message limit? I guess I just don't
>feel that ~100 messages/day is all that unusual for a lot of users,
>especially those on AIML. But, as stated above, I'm no expert on
>the maintenance of an ISP.
I can't speak for other companies, but when you survey the total
number of users that we have that have full mailboxes, it's a
surprising small percentage of our users (percentagewise, I think
it's down in the single digits), and we know that most of those
accounts belong to people who are illegally trading commercial
software by email.
The problem is that certain email "offenders" are more likely to
get themselves on a lot of high-traffic lists, and then suddenly go
away for a short period of time, and be unable or unwilling to
properly deal with the consequences (and unable or unwilling to take
the responsibility for making sure that these kinds of problems don't
occur in the first place, by properly unsubscribing/setting NOMAIL
before they leave).
>We use listserv. What it is currently set to do is send the bounced
>mail to one of our list managers who, at her discretion, sets the
>offending account to digest or nomail. In extreme cases, the user
>is dumped altogether. If you know of more automatic ways to handle
>this, I'd appreciate your comments (off-list would probably be
>better). I don't deal with our bounced mail unless it's from
>Compuserve/Wow and, as such, directly effecting our list members
>or list management.
Listserv is a very capable, industrial-strength program for doing
mailing list management. If there's anything to change, it's only in
the way of configuration, not the program itself (unless you're not
running the latest version of Listserv, which adds such new features
as understanding the Internet de-facto standard ".sig" separator of a
pair of dashed lines). Unfortunately, although I run several lists
hosted with Listserv, most of our management/configuration of
Listserv is done by people whose sole job in life is doing that, and
I don't know much about it.
You do bring up the very valid point that perhaps we should allow
users to have more than a certain number of messages in their
mailbox, but we should charge them extra if they go over that limit.
I know that we do have a higher internal limit for certain system
accounts, and if we could make that a "hard" limit, while the current
limit is a "soft" one, then I think the only changes that would be
required would be accounting changes.
And we could turn this into a profit center, too (of course, we'd
let users choose to make the smaller limit a "hard" limit, so that
they couldn't possibly be charged extra). I'll see if I can't take
this idea to our management, but if you like it as well, I recommend
you send your comments to "SteveCase@aol.com", as we have a whole
team of folks who read that mailbox and handle customer suggestions.
>I might be missing the boat here, and not really understanding the
>need for a ~100 message limit. All I do know is that the majority
>of our user problems stem from Compuserve and Wow, with AOL heading
>up the rear. The problems are mostly due to bounces, but the mail
>limits are an annoying secondary issue.
The bounces are simply a matter of them just flat screwing up
their SMTP listener program. As the second-busiest Internet email
site in the world, problems of this sort are greatly magnified. You
better believe that we're listening to the problems people are having
with CompuServe, and we're paying attention (of course, it's my
belief that we never would have made that mistake in the first place,
but that's irrelevant to this discussion).
Brad Knowles, MIME/PGP: email@example.com
comp.mail.sendmail FAQ Maintainer <http://www.his.com/~brad/>
finger firstname.lastname@example.org for my PGP Public Keys and Geek Code
The comp.mail.sendmail FAQ is at <http://www.his.com/~brad/sendmail/>