Great Circle Associates Majordomo-Users
(October 1995)

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Subject: Re: who <listname> command
From: Thomas Gramstad <thomasg @ ifi . uio . no>
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 1995 23:06:26 +0100
To: majordomo-users @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: "Dr. Howard M. Berlin" <>'s message of Wed, 25 Oct 1995 05:59:27 -0400 (EDT)
References: <>
Reply-to: thomasg @ ifi . uio . no

> I have just recently started a mail list and am using MV
> version 1.93. If I have an unmoderated list (for
> simplicity) how can I restrict the use of the "who
> <listname>" command to just me (the list owner). I have
> looked at the FAQ and don't see any that pertains to this
> point. In the config file I see the "private_who"
> statement. Currently it is set at "yes" but I don't want
> even the list members to be able to use it.
> Any advice? Inquiring minds want to know.

I asked the very same question a week ago, and I'm really
disappointed that noone answered -- which I interpret to mean
that it isn't possible, and that noone particularly cares.

In my mind there are many reasons to want to be able to have
*really* private subscriber lists, and it will only become
more and more important as the net is commercialized.  There
are more and more cases where companies compile lists of
E-mail addresses to people who have posted in certain usenet
newsgroups, and use these lists for target marketing.  So
what do you think will happen when they find out that mailing
lists, who are usually even more narrow in their focus than
newsgroups, and thus even better suited to target marketing,
can be compiled the same way; that in fact you can get all
the subscribers, even the lurkers, by the who-command?

Isn't it nice to think about that when you subscribe to a
Majordomo-managed mailing list, you may be compiled and
marked by hundreds and thousands of companies hungry for
target marketing, and filling your mail box with trash?  That
in fact, anyone who wants to, could run a match of your
e-mail address against a set of subscriber files compiled
from various mailing lists, in order to make an all-round
profile of you?  And maybe sell or distribute that profile to
anyone who would want it?

And even if you don't mind all that, and you don't care what
people know about you, and you don't mind the possibilities
for being compiled, targeted, profiled etc., don't you think
that people should have a choice about what they want to
reveal about themselves and their interests, memberships,
subscriptions etc., just like they do elsewhere in life, in
the old non-virtual reality?

So, will this be considered in later versions of Majordomo?

Thanks, that felt good, I'll get off my soapbox now.

Thomas Gramstad              

my previous message:

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 1995 01:18:03 +0100
From: Thomas Gramstad <>
Subject: *private* subscriber lists?

I have a mailing list, and I want the list of subscribers to
be really private, that is, I don't want subscribers to the
list to be able to get it either.  How do I do this?
I thought fiddling with the protection of the subscriber
file might help, but that doesn't seem to work.

I do hope it is possible to keep the list of subscribers
private?  The only alternatives I have seen so far is the
choice whether everyone or just subscribers should be allowed
to get the subscriber list, but that really isn't much of a
choice, since anyone could send a message like this:

subscribe list me@myself
who list
unsubscribe me@myself

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