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Message Posted: Fri, 05 Jan 2001 @ 17:07:28 GMT

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Subj:   Re: Is Advertising to List Members SPAM?
From:   Jay Selkie

Michael & Robin:

Thanks for your notes. The intent really isn't to lay down a rule every time I'm having a cranky day. Nor am I starting my day by looking for somebody to pick-on. Actually, I think that there are a minimum of rules on the TDATA-L list and they have been applied with an even-hand.

At the same time, there are rules that have to be absolute. As someone who takes an active role in the fight against spam (and telemarketing), it's not something that I'm going to tolerate on this list - whether the spam is sent directly to the list or the list has been harvested for addresses.

Since I've taken my definition of spam from nationally recognized anti-spam organizations and their definition has been accepted in legal actions against spammers, I don't consider the definition questionable at all.

There seems to be as many ways to run a list as there are list owners. Some lists can only be joined by the privileged few, others are open to everybody and with a set of rough and tumble rules. We are working to place the TDATA-L list someplace in between.

I belong to quite a few lists. One list was largely self-regulating, but devolved into a social clique - it certainly lost it's purpose and me as a member. On another list which is also technical, I've been thrown off several times because I post too many notes that are considered too philosophical (I apologize, I'm allowed to re-join and then my fellow list members take turns throwing tar and facts at me - with the hope that some of their 'facts' will stick). Most list management actions occur off of the list and so not hearing about them isn't the same as saying that they aren't occurring.

In this case, since the offending spam was sent with harvested addresses, I sent the 'Admin Comment' so that if anybody else received the spam, then they would know that I had taken action. I suspect that most of the actions you hear about on other lists are of a similar nature.

Finally, I haven't fooled myself into believing that removing somebody from the list will stop spam - or that harvesting the TDATA-L list won't occur again. Instead, consider my actions in another light: I believe that there are legal requirements that must be taken to protect the nature of this list and those requirements are not always obvious. The biggest requirement is that I must be proactive.

As an example, consider the situation with Disney and their characters. I'm sure that we have all heard about how Disney Corporation has taken action against some small pre-school who had painted Mickey Mouse (and Friends) on their walls. In the media, it's always the nasty corporation against the tiny pre-school. The actual situation is that Disney is required by law to defend its trademarks and copyrights - no matter how minor the infraction. If they aren't agressive, then they risk losing the ownership of their trademarks and copyrights. They simply don't have a choice.

I believe that list owners are actually in the same situation. There are relatively few litigations in this area, but I don't want to find myself in the situation were I haven't been agressive in protecting the TDATA-L list or applying its rules.

So once again, thanks for your feedback. It is welcomed and it will be kept in mind - but I don't think that it's really any different than how the TDATA-L list has been managed to date. Give the TDATA-L list some more time and I think that you'll agree.

Also thanks to everybody who has been sending me notes off-list. Your notes are very appreciated.


PS - Just one more piece of business: Please be careful to trim replies to the list. Although it's not much of a problem for those of us who receive individual postings, it becomes a real problem for those who get the TDATA-L list in digest mode. Thanks again.

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