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Avoid Useless Messages

Useless messages, or junk messages, fall into the following categories:

Unsubscribe messages mistakenly sent by subscribers who did not read (or locate) the instructions for leaving the list. Every list goes to lengths to simplify the process of signing off and yet a large number of people still send unsubscribe messages to the list itself. Read and save the welcome message you receive when you subscribe to a list, then refer to it when you want to unsubscribe.

"Me too" posts sent by well meaning list members replying only to convey that they agree with a message or had a similar experience. A web based poll is a better way to take votes on a topic; or, send such replies directly to the list member for them to tabulate.

Welcome messages that appear when someone new joins the list. No one on a mailing list needs to read "Glad to have you on the list!" from everyone; send such messages to the new member in private mail.

Congratulation messages that appear after a member of the list has mentioned some milestone or personal triumph. Again, send these in private email.

The moral of the story is simple: avoid sending junk messages to a list. They are easy to identify as you type - just ask yourself if the message would be of interest to the majority of the mailing list. If not, that does not mean your message is worthless: the original sender might appreciate being welcomed or congratulated via private email. But, in all likelihood, the whole list would not.

Consider, why would it matter to everyone on a list dedicated to, for example, house cats, want to know that you are happy that some new member has joined the list? They would not; so, send such message privately.

The same holds true when diagnosing technical issues with the operation of the list itself. The list administrator and/or moderator will always direct people when it is needed for members to post messages directly to the list for testing or diagnosis purposes. Otherwise, such messages should always be direct privately to the list administrator or moderator.

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