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From: "Brad Morrison" <brad at neosoft dot com>
Subject: Re: Question about GETTING OFF THE LIST
Date: May 5 2000 5:26AM
Hi. Before you automatically send me instructions on how to communicate
with firstname.lastname@example.org, read on. I'm writing to say that it doesn't
I'm a veteran of mailing lists and Usenet. I've been successfully using the
net for over 15 years.
I was in on the flame war between Blair Houghton and the rest of the world
in comp.lang.c, from the moment he insisted that the language spec should
allow him to multiply two pointers together, rather than a pointer and a
scalar, until someone finally posted a truly succinct explanation. Blair,
of course, flamed this poster, too, and the follow-up to his hasty missive
followed soon after: "Congratulations, Blair. You just flamed Dennis
Shortly thereafter, I read, but did not have the foresight to save a posting
from Linus Torvalds in comp.sys.unix (and several other O/S-related
newsgroups) which said, "I think this FreeBSD effort is OK, but I think it
will take too much time and probably cause a lawsuit. I think we can write
our own UNIX from the ground up. Whoever wants to work on this with me,
reply in email."
I got several jokes posted to the moderated rec.humor.funny, including a
parody that I wrote of the Beatles' "Nowhere Man", entitled "UNIX Man". I'm
flattered that it survives to this day, but I think it's ironic that the
very line of the original song which inspired me to write the whole parody
was changed. I converted "The world is at your command" to "The world is
your 'at' command." Someone changed it back--I suppose that the subtler
parts of parody are often lost.
It's this very topic that I wish to address today. The obvious mission of a
mailing list is communication between its members. The subtler part is
providing a reliable method for members whose interests no longer include
the mailing list to conveniently leave the mailing list.
I've tried unsuccessfully for three months to unsubscribe from this list.
It's not that bad, really. It's pretty low volume--but it *is* pretty
bursty. Days, even weeks go by, and just when I'm convinced that I have
actually been removed without notification, fifteen messages show up in my
I thought, briefly, that I'd subscribed with a server-qualified e-mail
address. I tried unsubscribing with "email@example.com", but, alas,
"CREN ListProc(tm) Version 8.2.09" said that I
hadn't subscribed with that address, but that it had found an address which
resembled mine: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just tried to unsubscribe again, right this very minute, but as usual, I
didn't get a reply. I've also tried sending messages with "help",
"information", and "get stuffed", but to no avail. The only answer I've
ever gotten is described above.
So, I conclude that it's broken. And I really want to get off. Can anyone
help me? What must I do, besides sending "UNSUBSCRIBE SYBPERL-L" to
I'm beginning to feel like the legendary Psychology prof who tried to print
out his final exam late one night. He went to the lab, where the
faculty-only printers were, but his printout didn't show up. After several
unsuccessful tries, he tired of trudging back and forth from his fifth-floor
office to the first-floor lab, so he decided to log in at a terminal in the
lab. It was late, and there was no one around. Unfortunately, he chose a
hardcopy terminal that was running a version of the now-classic AI program
"Eliza", which basically rearranged text input in same way that a
psychoanalyst does. The professor typed something like: PRINT EXAM
And the program answered: WHY DO YOU WANT TO PRINT THE EXAM?
Puzzled, the not-too-computer literate prof answered: BECAUSE IT IS THE
SEMESTER FINAL EXAM.
Eliza: THIS EXAM SEEMS TO BE IMPORTANT TO YOU.
Prof: JUST PRINT THE EXAM.
Eliza replied: YOU SEEM TO BE SOMEWHAT OBSESSED WITH THE EXAM.
Prof: YES, I AM. IT'S ALL I'VE BEEN WORKING ON THIS WEEK. PRINT IT! PRINT
Eliza: PERHAPS WE SHOULD TALK MORE ABOUT THE EXAM.
Prof: NO! NO MORE TALKING! PRINT THE DAMNED EXAM NOW!!!
Multiple pages of this dialogue were said to have been found the next day by
the grad students who had left their implementation of Eliza running for
testing. It was concluded that, although this was a brilliant version of
the model, it was not nearly as effective in analyzing patients as it was in
increasing their frustrations.