"To Hell With Darwin ...

P.T. Barnum Was Right!"

              -- V.S.

The Great HumourNet Unsubscription-Fee Debacle

The Background (This helps set the stage)

On (or about) 9 August 96, HumourNet suffered another ListProc Catastrophe(tm). The details are much too gruesome to discuss in a family-oriented setting such as this; suffice it to say that I got to spend a beautiful summer weekend sitting inside, trying to get my mailing list back on its feet. I had tried to send out two admin messages as the list was "going down" on Friday, 9 August, but with only marginal success. By Sunday, it appeared that things were not going to be working for at least a few days, so I sent an update to the list via "Macjordomo" -- a Macintosh-based list server. Took all day, but hey, it worked better than the high-profile/high-price-tag listproc.

By Sunday night, I'd managed to figure out the problem, and I had things up and running again by Monday morning. I sent out an admin message to test out the list, and tell everyone that we were provisionally back up; the message was delivered successfully.

However, I had "locked" the list during the weekend's adventures so it wouldn't process subscribe or unsubscribe requests. Though they're supposed to be queued for later processing, it became immediately apparent, once the list was unlocked, that none of the sub/unsub requests had actually been queued.


Nothing I could do about the subscribe requests -- I had no way of reaching them -- but I could at least tell everyone on HumourNet that the listproc was now ready to process unsub requests. So I sent another admin message to the list, informing them that it was now unlocked, and ready to process unsub requests. And I put a joke in the message about ... well, you can read it for yourself....

Shortly after the unsub message hit the list, I started receiving complaints about the "unsubscription fee" that was mentioned in the message. This eventually prompted me to respond with the third (and last) admin message of the day: "Darwin Was Right."

The response was overwhelming -- but you can read all about it in the Collage that summarized the Great HumourNet Unsubscription Fee Debacle. (You should also check out the rather hysterical page that Susan Wallace (a HumourNet subscriber) put together just for the occasion; it is dedicated to everyone who fell for the "Unsubscription Fee.")

And now you know the rest of the story!

Well, not so fast ... here is the 1997 [nearly] Annual Unsubscription Fee Collage.

And here are the 1999 Unsubscription Fee Collages (it now requires two Collages to do this) ...

Stay tuned. No doubt there's more to come ... <g>

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Page created: 31 Aug 96
Page last updated: 26 Jul 99