Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(November 1999)

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Subject: Re: What is list-managers? (was Re: AOL dropping mail
From: "Nathan J. Mehl" <memory @ blank . org>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 13:51:27 -0500
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <>; from Nick Simicich on Mon, Nov 22, 1999 at 10:34:59AM -0500
References: <> <> <> <>

Gah.  I've been promising myself to stay out of this thread, but this
is getting ridiculous.

In the immortal words of Nick Simicich (
> BS.  It is more like saying that, no matter how many more restaurants
> McDonalds adds, you should still expect them to serve a burger, and not to
> claim, "We can't get you your burger today becaus we are the biggest chain
> in the world and it is too hard to ship burgers to all of our restaurants
> every day."

Networks are not burgers.  McDonalds does not have to invent a new
breed of cow every time the old one runs out of gas.

> I've been running non-IP based mailing lists (frequently internally
> in IBM) since the mid 80's.

Yawn.  So in other words, not only are you clueless about the _scale_ of
the problems that AOL and similar outfits face, but you probably
aren't even all that familiar with the _type_.

Here's my free clue to you, and then I'm going back to ignoring this
sorry excuse for a discussion: you're taking a lot of static over your AOL
bashing, not because anybody here has any reflexive love of AOL or
desire to defend them (we don't), but because there are people on this
list who are responsible for systems of similar scale, and your "oh
well, it should be easy to do that right" carping is, simply, armchair
postmastering.  Smug assumptions about the "right thing" die a fast
and ignoble death somewhere around the ten million deliveries per day
mark, and the more you insist otherwise, the more obvious it becomes
that you've never had to confront the problem professionally.

I do not agree with all of the design decisions that AOL has made, but
unlike you I have enough respect for the intractability of the
problems they face on a daily basis to not make an ass of myself by
belittling their work.

In short, if you can do better, do feel free to demonstrate.  I think
they've got open positions in their mail group, as do Hotmail,
Earthlink, Mail.Com and other similar-sized outfits.  Talk is cheap.


"You don't qualify as the typical male snakebite victim: you weren't drinking,
you don't have any tattoos, and you have all your teeth."

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