Joining an e-mail discussion list and then being surprised that you get e-mail

I have been a member of a number of e-mail discussion lists, on a variety of topics, for many years now. This means, of course, that I get a lot of e-mail each day, and I’m accustomed to the large volume.

One thing that never seems to change on these lists is the occasional person — usually somebody you’ve never seen post to the list before — who posts a message to a list, frantic to a lesser or greater degree, begging/demanding to be removed from the list because … they got a lot of e-mail. In the most recent instance of this, somebody posted an unsubscribe request and said, “When I got home today I had 25 e-mails!”(Wow, 25?)

Now, the frantic unsubscribe requests were understandable when I was subscribing to a list for consensual erotic spanking enthusiasts. Nearly 100% of those requests came from men with AOL addresses, and it was pretty clear that these AOLers must have thought they were signing up for a chat room or something, and panicked when spanking-related e-mails started showing up in their inboxes where wifey might see them.

It’s the unsubscribe requests citing “too much mail” that really puzzle me, especially when the number is so low. What were these people expecting when they signed up? Were they thinking they would only receive e-mail replying to their own posts? I don’t get how they could think that, even if they’re raw Internet noobs. I mean, I was a raw Internet noob myself once, and never made that mistake. Every e-mail discussion list I’ve been a part of has unambiguously explained up front that it’s an “e-mail discussion list”, and specifically stated that when I joined the list I would start receiving e-mails from other members. Most have also given some indication as to how much e-mail I could expect each day.

So I just don’t get why these people are surprised. What were they expecting?

A digest format E-mail list, perhaps? Over the years I’ve become much more weary of E-mail arriving in my inbox, and I’d probably prefer something that ran in a daily digest format.

besides the digests which you get one per day or every 25 or so emails there are also web based lists. they are mail lists for those who want to use their email but also can be accessed through the web. often people join through the web, plan to access through the web and don’t turn off getting the email.

also you may not know the list volume until you’ve joined the list. some lists might state the average and max per day emails somewhere before you actually sign up, though i think most just let you get surprised.

Or how hard is it to set up rules so all your spanking-related e-mails go into a folder labeled “Baseball Stats” or something.

I get people whining about a “miscellaneous” list at work. It’s the place where “washer and dryer for sale” notices go. People – that’s what the delete key is for. Or set up a rule to send anything from that address to the trash.