Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(April 1996)

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Subject: Re: Subscriber not here
From: close @ lunch . engr . sgi . com (Diane Barlow Close)
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 1996 11:50:15 -0700 (PDT)
To: rfrench @ teleport . com (Rae French)
Cc: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <> from "Rae French" at Apr 12, 1996 07:56:17 AM

Rae French <> wrote:
> I am getting messages regarding this subscriber at AOL who has a
> full mailbox. [snip]
> the only thing to do is unsubscribe them. But this person/subscriber is
> _not_ subscribed to my mailing list. Is there anything I can do to get this
> message to stop coming to me?

This has happened to me several times.  In all cases, the person was
subscribed under some other institution's address and was having their
mail *forwarded* from that account to AOL.  AOL returns an error to the
original mailing list just as if the person had subscribed using their AOL
address.  The only way to track it down is to look for similar names
signed up from other institutions, since most people aren't that creative
and use the same or very similar e-mail addresses across the board, and
test those addresses individually for errors.

In the one case where this proved impossible, where the person in question
actually DID use radically different account names, AOL management helped
track down the user from their end.  They provided me with a real name and
I used that to find their actual account on my system.  In that case,
here fictionalized for anonimity, Jane Blow had signed up to my list
as, but the error messages ("AOL user unknown") were all
coming from  I had NO on any of my
lists and 2500 accounts to search through.  Preliminary searching on
suspicious names was proving fruitless, so I contacted AOL directly and
they were able to help without too much difficulty.

Personally I think this type of problem could be solved if their error
messages were a bit more specific -- after all, the mail is being
_forwarded_ from; shouldn't the error message go back
there too?  Or at least indicate the fact that the path from them to me
has been altered?  Instead the messages appear as if they're directly to
me about an AOL user signed up to one of my lists.
Diane Close <> 
I'm at lunch all day. :-)
   If a Canadian Had Said It First (The Globe & Mail):
   "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance plus GST."

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