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From:
Subject: Spamming the lists and the value of the RootsWeb Review
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 11:39:57 EST


First some background: This past week's RootsWeb Review included an article
of interest to all genealogists regarding Senate Bill 2845 (which has since
passed and been forwarded to the President for signing). The impact of this
legislation for genealogists concerns restrictions on obtaining birth
certificates for our research.

Second, the issue at hand: Many people copied this article and embellished
it/commented on it/corrupted its message, etc. and it ended up being recopied
to more than 100 (probably more like several hundred or maybe several
thousand) mailing lists -- and on many of these lists a general subject such as
this one was OFF-TOPIC--surname lists, for instance. The end result was that I,
and other admins, had to step in and appear to be "ogres" in ending
discussion and cross-posting of genealogical information--but information which we
felt was not germane to our lists.

Naturally, some list members agreed with the admin action and others
disagreed which is par for the course. What bothered me most, though, as I
explained to the folks who said they had not known about the bill prior to the other
list member copying the message onto the MILLER or MYERS or whatever surname
list, was the fact that it became clear to me that quite a few of the folks
NEW to RootsWeb lists are totally oblivious to the fact that we have a free
weekly publication which benefits ALL RootsWeb users called The RootsWeb
Review.

Thirdly, the point of this message: I think it would be a great idea for
ALL list admins to be sure their list members--especially those NEW to RootsWeb
lists, know about the RootsWeb Review and how to subscribe to it. At one
time, new list subscribers were automatically subbed to the RWR but that hasn't
been happening now for quite some time because of tightened spam
(unsolicited mail) regulations at many ISPs. So it is important for us to get to get
the word out.

I actually wonder if it might not be a good idea for RootsWeb to add a blurb
to ALL list welcome messages instructing new subscribers how to subscribe to
the RWR. I think I'll suggest that on the List Development list.

Anyway, the point is that items of a general nature such as information
about this bill--do NOT belong being cross-posted to every one of RootsWeb's
nearly 29,000 lists with various and sundry comments (correct and incorrect and
misleading) being tacked on to them as fact--both by list admins and by list
members. The place for general information is on ROOTS-L and the RootsWeb
Review and other general information sources with, hopefully, all RootsWeb
subscribed to them and reading them. That is the point of having such
publications and lists. BUT, it is becoming apparent to me that we need to get the word
out about the RWR and how people can subscribe to it.

The answer to that question is that they can go to the main RootsWeb page:
http://www.rootsweb.com/ and click on the NEWSLETTER MANAGEMENT CENTER at the
bottom of the page. From there they can subscribe.

Joan


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