Unsolicited Broadcast Email

Here is a nice set of rules about how to manage a mailing list without offending anyone. -->HERE<-- The basic idea is never put people on a mailing list without their permission in advance.

Our Majordomo software makes this easy. Its automation asks your new subscriber to return a unique key to prove they're really requesting a subscription. It defends against pranksters who subscribe victims to lists to cause trouble for the victim or the list operator.

Don't let this policy make you afraid to send mail to people. You can send all the mail you want, as long as everyone on any list you use for sending requested the mail somehow.

Here are some of the ways people might request email from you:

  • Participate in an online forum with you. This is not a solicitation for mail on all topics, just mail that would be welcome in that forum, or direct replies to things you said there. It is often appropriate to reply to a forum message ``in private.'' This applies to Netnews, Web forums, and mailing lists.
  • You have a prior relationship. For example, you are free to send your immediate family all the chain letters and offshore investment opportunities they can stand.
  • Post a Web page. That's not a solicitation on all subjects, just on the specific material on that page. If I've never heard of you and you ask me about something on my Web site, that's cool. But if you say, ``Hey, saw your page! Lemme tell you about my Herbal Baldness Cure!!'' I will have a word with your Internet Service Provider about it.
  • Media outlets offer an address to receive press releases.
  • Print a contact address on literature with the same topic as your mail.
  • Here's a simple rule from Sam V. that works pretty well:

    If I can't figure out why you sent this message to me in particular, then the message is probably spam.