Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(October 2004)
 

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Subject: things that should be in the welcome message
From: JC Dill <lists04 @ equinephotoart . com>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2004 14:20:26 -0700
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 0.6 (Windows/20040502)

I recently had an unpleasant experience subscribing to a mailing list. 
The list owner had configured the list to subscribe new users with a 
variety of unusual settings.  The welcome message mentioned some of 
these settings, but not all, and it told how to change some of them, but 
not all.  Unfortunately, I wanted to change one of the settings that was 
not adequately described, and trying to determine the correct format for 
changing this setting was very difficult!  The list owner's name and 
email address (or list-owner alias) were not present in the welcome 
letter, and the reply address for the welcome letter looked like it went 
to the list *server* rather than to the list *owner* (although I later 
learned that it did go to the owner).  The list runs on a listserver 
that I'm not familiar with, and trying to decipher the list server's 
"help" messages was very frustrating.  It took me over a dozen emails 
back and forth with the list server and finally I had to go to a webpage 
to get the list owner's email address to get help getting my 
subscription properly configured to meet my needs.

The list owner claimed that there are no rules/standards/"laws" that 
detail what should be included in the welcome message and thus no 
obligation for the list owner to include the information I expected (how 
to change the subscription to the "default" settings, how to contact the 
list owner) in the welcome letter.  I coulda swore I've seen list owner 
standards outlined somewhere before!  Am I confused?  Is there a 
standards document that outlines what should be in the welcome message 
that is received when you subscribe to a list?  Am I unreasonable to 
expect that the welcome message at least include an email address (or 
alias) for the list owner in the *body* of the message, or that the 
message reply-to address clearly show that it goes to the owner (i.e. 
listname-owner alias)?  What about expecting clear instructions on how 
to do something as basic as setting one's subscription to individual 
emails instead of the list-default setting of mime-digest?

Thanks!

jc






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