On 2 Feb 97 at 21:06, Merrill Cook wrote:
> On a simpler level, how about: people send an unsubscribe message
> to the list address. It gets filtered and forwarded to the list
> owner, who unsubscribes them manually. The lesson? "To
> unsubscribe, you don't have to learn anything or RTFM; just reply
> to the list address, someone will take care of it." That's the
> message we give.
Not me. Every error message gets sent to me and I make extensive use
of mail filters to send instructions. I only unsubscribe bounces.
I've had a few get mad, but the vast majority appreciate that me
doing it for them will not shorten the learning curve. My list is
made up mainly of women over the age of 50. The few times I've had
really nasty notes from someone, it was a guy. I've been threatened
with legal action for not removing a person from a list, only to have
to explain to his ISP that I don't own the list the person wanted off
of and have been trying to tell him that for weeks. I've also had
someone send my complete list of archive requests to the request
address with the word unsubscribe in the subject when I've repeatedly
told people that SmartList doesn't like text in the body (like 25k
worth) when sending requests. Then they scream when 5 mgs of archives
arrive in their mailbox. DUH!!!
I think one of the main problems we are dealing with is that in order
to make the 'net accessible to *everyone* there has been a rush to
automate things you simply had to know how to do in the past. And
quite frankly, the internet was mainly for computer oriented people
until just recently. People who realized that in order to get
something accomplished, cooperation and standardization was
essential. That is not the case anymore.
For instance, my digest is in multipart/boundary form. How many mail
readers can properly handle this type of digest? Not very many and
none of the national online services mail readers can. Consequently,
few of the 500 digest subscribers can properly respond to a message
in a digest. Why? The digest itself is set to go back to the
-request address. So that's where all the replies go unless the user
manually changes the "to:" in the reply. The other option I have is
to set the "reply-to:" to the list address, but is that a solution?
Wouldn't the smart way to deal with that situation be to make mail
readers handle mail properly? From my discussion with various
services and software authors, this is not an option. So users start
with a crippled mail reader and coupled with a general learning
curve... well you get the picture.
I've tried many things to educate my listers. I tried breaking the
information into smaller chunks. I tried a little instructional blurb
at the bottom of every email. I tried quizzes and now I have a
little blurb at the bottom of my Welcome Letter asking them to drop
me a line when they get to that part letting me know they read it.
I've gotten about 20 of them out of 1500 subcriptions in the past
year. None of it works. So what do I do? I tell them in the
first paragraph of the Welcome letter that the Welcome letter and
the subscription confirmation are the 2 most important pieces of
information they can possess about the list. If they ask me to
unsubscribe them I send instructions along with the reminder that
they needed to hold onto those 2 pieces of information. All this is
automated with a keystroke. And then I do not unsubscribe them.
Amazingly enough, most of them figure it out (or close their
account). If someone gets mouthy with me about it, I resend the
Welcome letter (which clearly states that the task of unsubscribing
is the responsibility of the subscriber) and inform them that staying
on the list implied agreement to the rules of the list (as that is
clearly stated, also) and suggest they read it carefully, like they
should have done to begin with.
While it's much easier for me to just unsubscribe them. It's really
not doing them any favors.
Sometimes it's like being a parent. For me, list members taking care
of unsubscribing and getting their mail to the right address is
pretty essential, so I don't fudge on that. I don't do it for them.