[conspire] PenLUG this week - Gumstix - Thursday Feb 22

Paul Reiber reiber at gmail.com
Thu Feb 22 18:35:35 PST 2007

On 2/22/07, Deirdre Saoirse Moen <deirdre at deirdre.net> wrote:
> On Feb 22, 2007, at 3:24 PM, Paul Reiber wrote:
> > Deirdre - are there any documents you can cite regarding this
> > particular corner of the "netiquette" universe?
> Having had to handle thousands of messages where there was a bounce
> or a message WITHOUT a voluntary reply from someone not subscribed to
> a list, frankly, I wish to burn anyone who crossposts alive.

First please understand I'm not trying to cause grief here - just
investigating an area that's been a bit of a rubik's cube for me over
the years.   What's REALLY at the heart of this particular problem?
We're combining various technologies, and the end result bugs some
people - why? How to fix that?

I'm trying to understand your perspective on this, but so far I'm
still somewhat in the dark.  I can't quite see how bouncing emails (or
the after-the-"or" part of your sentence, which I couldn't quite
parse) occur more often or are somehow made worse by cross-posting.  I
_do_ see how they're probably made worse by _follow-on_ emails (badly
formed replies to the original cross-posted message) but the
cross-post itself isn't at fault here, it's the people AFTER that who
who cause the problem, by using "reply to all" instead of "reply", or
otherwise blindly plodding forward.

Digging into this... is a cross-post with a well formed "reply-to"
header field somewhat better than one without that header field?

Rick mentioned that there are numerous things that can go wrong after
one crossposts among multiple lists.  I'd be interested to see those
things separated into three categories - things that can go wrong
which affect the author, things that can go wrong that affect the
readership of the lists in question, and things that can go wrong that
affect the list admins.

If I understand correctly, the problems seem to be localized to those
functioning as list admins.  I'm pretty sure that for the sender,
there's no real down-side (other than wrath).  (Please elaborate if
this isn't accurate!)
And for those reading the message on various lists, it seems to me
that the worst that might occur is that they'll see the message N
times if they're subscribed on N lists.  That's a pretty darn
acceptable scenario for subscribed list members - after all, they
chose to be recipients of all messages from all N lists in the first

My intuition is that it's the list setup that causes the problems, and
(as Bill mentioned) people _responding_ to those emails without
thinking clearly about _who_ they're responding to.  Lists which don't
allow posts from non-members, but which also don't simply DISCARD
posts from non-members, but rather leave them for a list admin to
peruse, create work for the list admin _because of how they're set
up_.  Changing the options so the admin isn't given more work to do
might make the list less friendly... but then again, so does making it
members-only-can-post in the first place.

Along these lines, I've been pondering whether any changes would be
sensible to the SVLUG mailinglists with respect to processing
non-member posts, etc.  So far, I've left things alone, on the
assumption that they're the way they are because Rick's found their
current set-up to be an acceptable balance.  I.e. that whatever
grief/workload the current set-up entails is somehow "worth it"
because he finds enough "real" messages (that deserve to make it to
the list) in the queue that plodding through the spam is an acceptable
overhead.    If/when I hear him saying otherwise, we'll probably be
changing the list options to start auto-discarding crap faster.

I likewise would like to ensure this remains a relaxed discussion of
the situation.  We may well find a pony in here somewhere in the
process - there may be some technology changes which could help the

Thanks & see you again sometime soon!

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