Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(December 1995)

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Subject: Re: "Phantom" Subscribers
From: james @ sagarmatha . com (James C. Armstrong)
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 04:53:43 -0800 (PST)
To: jjflash @ pobox . com (jjflash)
Cc: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <> from "jjflash" at Dec 11, 95 07:21:54 pm

According to unnamed sources, jjflash is alleged to have written:
=> I have a list (Majordomo) that has been subjected lately to a problem of
=> "phantom" subscribers/posters.  Up until about a week ago, anyone could
=> *sub* and post or just post.  We recently had a person (likely already a
=> member) post (s/he may have *subbed* first) using a newly created AOL
=> screen-name for the sole purpose of flaming a few of our regular members.
=> As soon as that person posted their nasties, they deleted the AOL
=> screen-name (and, if they were subbed, they probably un-subbed).  As I have
=> a full-time job I cannot be constantly monitoring the membership list,
=> especially since we have over 200 members.  This person has done this at
=> least 3 or 4 times, each time using a different AOL screen-name.  I have
=> changed the list to a closed-list, only allowing posts from members.
=> The posts from this person have resulted in a prolonged flame war with some
=> casualties (un-subs) along the way.  The nature of the list is to give
=> emotional support to members.  Therefore, this problem has caused some
=> significant harm to some of our members.  I recently implemented a policy of
=> manually subbing new members, requiring some basic information including
=> name, phone number, etc.  Some of the members (either brand new ones or
=> those who are changing ISP's) object to my requiring this information as an
=> invasion of their privacy.  Naturally, this is causing new problems for our
=> list.
=> I suppose that I could out-of-hand reject subscriptions from AOL'ers, but
=> that would not be a fair thing to do.
=> Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

I run some mailing lists for sports, and recently on one of them, 
supporters of a rival team have started joining and posting inflamatory
comments.  (The two teams, Rangers and Celtic, have a long rivalry
with religous overtones.  I run the Rangers list, and the latest
postings from Celtic supports have been very IRA pro-terrorism.)
We welcome interlopers who have on-topic things to say about the
football teams.  We strongly dislike off-topic postings, and insulting
postings.  The list has seen a few unsubscribes as a result.

We've also seen some "subscribe/unsubscribe" wars with forged messages.

As a result, the list has created an "expulsion" procedure, where we
can vote to eject subscribers who violate the list's "rules."  I've
also started to screen all subscribes and unsubscribes.  It adds to
the work load a little bit, maybe 2 minutes/day.

James C. Armstrong, Jr.	       | I want a new toy           | To keep my head expanding!
                               | I want a new toy
                               | Nothing too demanding...

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