When Mailing Lists Go Wrong

I’m signed up on a good few mailing lists, last night it seems, one went wrong. Usually it is set up as an announcement list, sending out the messages that the company who runs the list wants to send out to it’s customers, however at some point it seems to have been switched over to a discussion list mode, whereby it sends any message from any member of the list to any other. As a result, after the message they sent out last night, this morning I had a stack of ‘out of office’ messages initially from some of the subscribers.

However, as with many of these problems, the situation is made significantly worse by some of the other mailing list subscribers. There were one or two ‘unsubscribe’ messages, but the real annoyance was the person who had bulk replied to all the ‘out of office’ messages asking them not to send them again – fine, aside from the fact that the messages all have a reply-to pointing to the list address and so he’d sent all the replies there instead and they had all bounced around to all the subscribers too! The original message header does say that that is what it would do, but then how many people actually look at the detail in that before hitting reply?

Fingers crossed, the owner of the list should now be in the office, and sorting out the problem, otherwise I suspect I’m going to have some more bouncing messages to deal with…

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