Sunday, October 02, 2005

Mailing Lists

Hoping to find information about an elusive ancestor on a mailing list is a nice dream, especially if the list covers topics such as a vast geographical area or a common surname. But even if you don't learn anything new about your family, the lists are still helpful for picking up tips about where to find records, etc.

I don't want to miss any new tips, but it's time to start cutting back by unsubscribing from some of the dozens of RootsWeb lists I read. For starters, I'm done with the Prussia-Roots and Bavaria lists. These choices are easy. Prussia-Roots, in particular, has had problems in the past, mostly caused by one person and the list admin's failure to deal with them. (I don't know exactly what could be done, though.) Recently both lists have been spammed with messages about a free service offered by one person. To some it seems that this offer is a gateway, or ad, to future services. I tend to agree, considering that a business URL is always mentioned in the posts. I also consider this thread spam because it has nothing to do with the list as a whole and is being repeated on the Bavaria list.

There is, by the way, a list which would be entirely appropriate for such "discussions," and perhaps this free offer (though RootsWeb does or did have a policy about promoting services).

Last winter I believe these two lists also were home to the barrage of postings about German traditions, recipes, etc. I did see some interesting messages, but there are other lists for such topics (1, 2; I recall a third but can't find the link) and few tried to make their posts relevant to the topic at hand.

I guess the RSS feeds offered by RootsWeb will be a better way to handle this situation. I'm tired of having so many useless emails and the bickering that follows.

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