Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(March 1999)

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Subject: Re: no 'get a real client' [kind of long as it turns out]
From: Michelle Dick <artemis @ rahul . net>
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 99 16:30:34 -0800
To: <List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM>
In-reply-to: <>

Tom wrote:
>  "Get a real mailer" is not coping with the issues

Sure it is.  I've never had any of my 2000 list members ask for
tagging, but at this point in time, the economics of the list do not
permit me to run software that would provide it (can't afford it) and
while I could provide universal tagging, it would annoy the majority
of other list members to do so.  Thus, telling a member who asked for
it this and advising them on mailers that would help with their
problem (i.e. "get a real mailer", but in nicer words), is most
definately copping with the issues.

Not copping with the issues is ignoring the fact that economics and
particular situations do not allow all list managers to serve the ever
changing needs of a diverse public.

>(This is the founding principle of LISTSERV.)

Interesting you again mention listserv.  It is very, very expensive,
far out of range of most non-paid, non-commercial, large list, list
managers.  Especially, say, if I wanted it for my 2000-member list,
with bounce handling (I have bounce handling already with smartlist
and could not afford the time to do it manually).  How many thousands
of dollars does it cost these days?  Just curious, I notice that Lsoft
doesn't list pricing for the full model on their pages.  Personally I
think the Lyris product looks awfully good and if it were free or even
a just a hundred or two, I'd grab it in an instant (after it was
available for linux, that is).  I've nothing against either of them
charging for their product, just as I am not required to work for free
or give money away, neither are they.

> Pure discussion lists should never have arbitrary client
> restrictions im posed.

Ah, we've uncovered the strawman.  Those of use who would advise a
requesting list member on how they can handle their mail without
tagging (GARM, to you) do so for non-arbitrary reasons.  Chiefly among

1. We can't afford software and computer resources to provide
individual-level tagging options.  Or we can't afford our time in
changing the software or programming in the ability.

2. The only economically feasible option is universal tagging and we
don't want to impose it on all members.

3. Our list is run on a commercial site that doesn't allow that option
and just as the list member who can't change their mailer, we are
list-manager who can't change their list software.

There are things a list manager is ethically required to do no matter
what the cost in time, money, and inconvenience.  If they can't they
should not run the list.  Examples are: honoring proper unsubscribe
requests in a timely manner and not sending mailings unsolicited.
There are others.  However, individualized tagging options, or other
changing whims of individual members of the public are not among those
things that a list manager is ethically required to provide no matter
what the cost in time and money.

Michelle Dick       East Palo Alto, CA
          Owner, FATFREE Vegetarian Mailing List

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