Re: ADMIN: Re: OT How do I unsubscribe?

Subject: Re: ADMIN: Re: OT How do I unsubscribe?
From: "Steven J. Owens" <puff -at- netcom -dot- com>
To: ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 11:51:45 -0800 (PST)

Eric Ray writes:

> All, you know, there is an interesting technical communication
> connection here. The process to unsubscribe is pretty
> straightforward (see below). The process is also documented in every
> message from the list, on the Web site in multiple places, in the
> instructions that you received when you subscribed, and in periodic
> administrative postings to the list. That notwithstanding, I get at
> least two messages every day asking how to do it. It does call into
> question the overall efficacy of documentation in general, doesn't
> it?

Not really. This list has what, 4000 subscribers? And how many
people join and leave on a regular basis? Only two a day? I'm
impressed. On another account, which is subscribed to three fairly
high-traffic java programming mailing lists that together add up to
about the same amount of traffic as techwr-l, I routinely start each
day by deleting 6-12 unsubscribe messages from my mailbox.

Even with the huge number of subscribers posting on what I often
consider inane topics, even as bad as the signal-to-noise ratio has
gotten, compared to the golden age (1992-1993 :-) when there were 200
hardcore technical writers swapping war stories over 2400 baud modems,
this list is still surprisingly polite, well-mannered, content-rich,
and generally friendly.

This discussion reminds me of the times back in the mid-nineties
when somebody would disagree with some post and they'd thresh out the
finer points of a topic, only to have somebody post an urgent,
"Please, stop FLAMING!"

Iain (iain -at- hairydog -dot- co -dot- uk, iainh -at- cix -dot- co -dot- uk) writes:
> I wonder if there ought to be a sort of puzzle to test people before they
> join a list? Maybe if it were 10 times as difficult to join as it is to
> leave, the problem would be minimised...

I recently proposed that approach for a new java programming list
(spinning off from one of the above lists because of excessive noise).
To be specific, I suggested that we make the "list FAQ" in the form of
a fairly obvious, humorous multiple-choice quiz that new subscribers
would have to take before being allowed to post. By forcing new
subscribers to interact with the document, we'd increase the
likelihood that they'd actually read and remember it.

Having to keep the list FAQ lean enoug to fit into a format like
that would also keep *us* on our toes. A document that's too
voluminous and detailed to find the answer in is almost as bad as no
document at all.

Steven J. Owens
puff -at- netcom -dot- com

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