Robert G. Brown rgb at
Thu Jan 25 04:15:34 PST 2001

On Thu, 25 Jan 2001, Kathy Haigh Hutchinson wrote:

> Some of us joined the list by subscribing via Majordomo. The information
> we received then for quitting no longer works. When we go to the given
> http it offers us a chance to subscribe. We don't have user names and
> passwords so we cannot access the mailman section to unsubscribe.
> We are caught in a timewarp.
> Since there is so much traffic on the list we are reluctant to subscribe
> via the website. If we fail to unsubscribe there we end up with double the
> unwanted mail.
> Is there any way for people who subscribed years ago, who do not have user
> names and passwords for the web page to unsubscribe?
> Kathy HH

If you are receiving list traffic, chances are good that you are in
mailman -- if you go to the bottom of the

page, you will see an entry box with an "Edit Options" button next to
it.  Enter the email address that you see in the email headers when you
receive mail from the list (which may be an old address that is
forwarded to a new address, so be careful).  Click the button.

You then hit a configuration/options editing page for your own private
account.  There is a button there prominently labelled "Email my
password to me".  Click this button.  Wait a few minutes and check your
mail.  Enter your password into the entry box next to the "Unsubscribe"
button and click it, and you should be unsubscribed.

However, look over the configuration options below before unsubscribing.
You can (for example) change your password from a random mish-mosh to
something memorable.  This isn't exactly a high-security password, so it
doesn't need to be as carefully selected as your regular passwords but
should probably still not be a dictionary word (and shouldn't BE one of
your regular high security passwords -- going over the web in cleartext,
it is considerably more vulnerable to being trapped).

The options you can set from this page include:

  Turning delivery OFF while remaining subscribed.  Many departing users
will prefer to do this rather than unsubscribe all the way.  That way
they can always turn it on again without having to resubscribe.  Handy
for vacations, too.

  Set Digest Mode.  This is a godsend to those folks who are feeling
harried by the 20-30 messages a day from the list (and just can't take
it anymore) but who really do like to be able to skim through list
traffic or at least monitor the daily topics.  It takes the day's
traffic, packs it up in a single message with a composite subject line,
and sends it.  A single "d" deletes the whole day's traffic if you are
too busy to read it, and just the skimming the subject lines helps keep
you in touch and select messages you want to read in entirety.

There are a few other options that let you control mime/plaintext,
whether you receive your own posts (or at least acknowledgement of those
posts) and you can even conceal your existence from other subscribers,
although this option isn't needed on this list as everybody is
automatically so concealed.

There is also a mailman feature that would REALLY short circuit the
daily pleas for help unsubscribing, but it relies on the keeper of the
mailman-administered site turning on a standard feature of mailman for
the list.  Mailman can easily be configured (in fact tends to come
autoconfigured -- one has to turn the feature off:-) to send a
once-a-month message to all subscribed persons reminding them of their
passwords and various list options.  I'm on a half-dozen such lists, and
the first day of every month I get a half-dozen such reminders.  I don't
mind at all -- I NEVER get pestered with "unsubscribe" messages mailed
to the list as a whole throughout that months -- hitting a few extra
"d"'s at the header line one day a month is a small price to pay.

Perhaps it might help if the list footer were less terse, as well.
Changing to to:

and follow the instructions at the bottom of the page!

would help.


Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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