Monday, March 17, 2008


I am on many listserve, a few of them are big, but none of them are as big as the Second Life Education (SLED) list. As of the last report, there are nearly 5000 individual email addresses on this list.

The list is unmoderated. Not only does this mean that messages go out as they come in, meaning nobody has to “approve” them, but it also means that, for the most part, no admin is “watching” the list. Are some of the folks from Linden Labs on the list? Sure, but they are not there, apparently, to administrate the list.

Every few weeks someone realizes that the list volume is gigantic and they don’t feel like they can handle the sheer number of emails generated daily. In an effort to get off the list they send an email to the list asking to be unsubscribed.

If handled properly, this is not such a bad thing - someone writing and saying “I’m not sure how to get off this list, can someone point me in the direction?” Normally, however, it is someone just writing “unsubscribe” or “unsubscribe me”, and that’s it.

I delete these but some other folks get very upset by them. This massive list is right now going through gyrations about how to handle this problem and how these people making these requests should be shot, stabbed, drawn, quartered, burned at the stake, and then made to sit in the corner.

Do I think these folks asking to be unsubscribed are lazy? Yes, some. I mean, there are clear instructions at the very bottom of each email from the listserve telling people how to unsubscribe. I’m on a number of listserves and most of them have unsubscribed instructions at the bottom.

Do I think some of these folks requesting an unsubscribe are inconsiderate? Yes, some. Instead of figuring it out on their own, they now have to generate 5000 emails in inboxes to solve a fairly simple problem. Lets keep one thing in mind here – this is a listserve for people who are interested in using what is still a leading edge, if not bleeding edge, technology. So, the question might be, should they be allowed to do that when they can’t even figure out how to unsubscribe themselves from a listserve?

I think most of these folks are just busy. They get inundated with 50-100 emails right after signing up – freak out – and just want to get off the list. So, we have the lazy, the inconsiderate, and the desperate. Not a particularly attractive group, huh?

The fury that has surrounded these requests on the list takes up so much more effort than just hitting delete. So, if you’re on the SLED list, and you read my blog – next time someone posts an unsubscribe, or you get an auto-away message, save yourselves the time and effort and just hit delete. And then you can vent about it in your blog. LOL

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