Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(March 1999)

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Subject: Re: Putting the listname on the Subject line
From: Keith Flippin <DrJesus @ iss . dccc . edu>
Organization: NE-Raves Discussion List Admin.
Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 17:13:14 -0800
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
References: <>
Reply-to: DrJesus @ iss . dccc . edu

"Bernie Cosell" <> wrote:

> Gripe of the day is putting the list-name as a prefix on the subject
> line.  Majordomo has had the ability to do this for some time,

And as was already notes, handles this better than OneList. I use this
on my Majordomo-based list, and I find it to be a boon both to myself
and to my users.

The reasons are, to me, fairly simple, but they may also be fairly
unique. The list I run is one of a number of regional lists dealing with
the underground dance music scene. There are a number of the lists that
cover wide areas, such as the NorthEast (NER), SouthEast (SER), MidWest
(MWR), etc. But there are also smaller subregions, such as the following
in my NER area: New York City (NYC), Baltimore/Washington (DCR),
Pitsburgh/Cleveland (PB-CLE), Boston (BR), and Western New York/Southern
Ontario (WNYSOR). Crossposting is frequent between the subregions and
the superregion, since posts are often on-topic for both, and having the
tag in the subject is handy, particularly when the thread started in a

Also, the different lists have different moderation styles, which are
usually more lax in the subregions; thus many NER readers have told me
they delete anything with, say, (nyc) in the subject since they know
it's likely to be useless drek, particularly when that reader lives
near, say, Pittsburgh and wouldn't go to an NYC event even if it were

> if it is gatewayed to usenet [as it is in this case] it is actually
> in violation of rfc850:

And none of these are; thankfully, considering the state of alt.rave.

Rich Kulawiec <> wrote:

> I figure that users fall into two categories:
>    1) Those who don't get very much mail (whether from mailing lists
>            or private individuals) and who therefore don't need to
>            filter/sort it (e.g. procmail).
>    2) Those who get a lot of mail and need to filter/sort it.

Maybe this is true on your lists. The rave lists, however, attract a
rather high quotient of net.newbies who wouldn't know a filter if it
leapt up and bit them on the ass. Many are on both my list and one or
more subregional lists, and all of these are fairly high traffic (20-200
msg/day regional, 50-300 or thereabouts subregional) and a lot of people
leave precisely because they can't handle the traffic and refuse to deal
with a digest. <shrug>

And even the ones who have heard of filters aren't likely to use them,
in my experience. Firstly because people who still post unzubscribe
messages to the list address are not likely to be cacpable of properly
configuring their filters. Secondly because most people stick with the
software they got bundled with their system, and if it doesn't have
filters they can figure out how to use, they are *not* going to go out
and spend money to get a mail reader that does. They're far more likely
to whine (on the list, of course) about the things they personally don't
think should be allowed on the list. FWIW, I tend to squelch those
threads quickly.

> Further, this scheme falls apart the moment two mailing lists pick the
> same acronym.   Is [FB] traffic about football or furballs?

Good point, but again irrelevant in my case at least. The Rave lists
tend to remain aware of eachother, especially since many of them are
hosted off the same server (, on the same box as and there's some tacit agreement avoiding mane collision.
It's not impossible for it to happen, but it is a safe bet that, should
it ever occur, the previous "owner" of the tag would get the upstart to

> I consider it a misguided attempt to solve a problem that is better
> solved by sufficiently smart filtering tools.

And are you buying your users better filtering tools? Or just forcing
your opinions on them? I feel that part of my job is to make the list as
easy to use for as many people as possible without it becoming a new
unpaid full-time job. But then, these lists have been historically more
of an anarchodemocracy than many other lists, so perhaps this again is a
case of different strokes.

"Kenneth E. Bannister" <> wrote:

> It lets them know that the message is in fact from my list and is not
> just a personal message from someone.

I find this is often not the case. Particularly when someone replies
privately to a public post, almost no one removes the list-tag from the
subject line. People who rely exclusively on that tag for determining
the origin of mail then often mistakenly assume that the private mail
was a public post, and reply publicly. This, IMHO, is the greatest
failing of the subject tag system, and I find myself often reminding my
users to check their headers and keep private mail private. FWIW, I
*always* remove the tag before replying privately, just to avoid that
issue; and if it's especially important that it remain private, I state
at the top that "This is private e-mail; direct your reply to me and not
to the list" or something to that effect.


<> NE-Raves Account Admin
<>  Geoff Capp Productions
"Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum"

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