Subject: Help?



  • Today i posted an email onto a mailing list with the sebject of help and recived this bounch back.

     

    Hi. This is the qmail-send program at sunsite.dk.
    I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
    This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

    <wxpython-users@lists.wxwidgets<wbr>.org>:
    ezmlm-reject:
    fatal: Sorry, I don't accept commands in the subject line. Please send
    a message to the -help address shown in the the ``Mailing-List:''
    header for command info (#5.7.0)

    --- Below this line is a copy of the message.



  • Use useful subjects, I mean, do not tell "HALP!!!111!" Instead, tell "I need help for [...]"

    And what you experienced is not in itself a wtf, there are systems that accept commands through e-mail, they tend to disappear, but they do existed.



  • Not a WTF, IMHO. There are mailing lists which accept commands on the subject line, like 'unsubscribe'.

    Use a decent subjectline. I usually skip messages with meaningless subjects, like 'HELP!!!111!! OMG <something> DOES NOT WRKO!!111'



  • @nytrokiss said:

    Today i posted an email onto a mailing list with the sebject of help and recived this bounch back.
    More of a PEBCAK than a WTF. See http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html#bespecific





  • Geez, give the guy a break.  Yes, the subject could be more specific, but surely you see the WTF in bouncing a message with 1) an ambiguous and non-obvious "command" subject (as opposed to "unsubscribe"), when 2) the server knows commands are not enabled and yet fails to consider that it might be a legitimate message?

     

     



  • @Renan_S2 said:

    Not a WTF, IMHO. There are mailing lists which accept commands on the subject line, like 'unsubscribe'.

    Bad choice of subject, I'll agree, but if the mailer does not have said commands enabled (which we know from the error message), then why not attempt to actually deliver it?



  • The error message you got is exactly correct - not a WTF.  Most MLMs will accept a series of commands in the body of the message such as

    help    (shows you what commands are available)
    info somelistname   (gives you info about the list)
    who somelistname   (tells you who is subscribed to the list)
    subscribe john@example.com   (durh...)
    end   (no more commands after this)

    On a side note, for your benefit, a subject of "help" to a mailing list or forum is probably the least helpful possible for people who you expect to provide assistance with whatever problem you have.  Try being more specific about what the problem is in your subject line, ie

    "Ethernet card 3Com 3c509 packet loss"

    "help" is entirely generic and will be ignored by most people.  :)
     

    ed. grumble if I'd bothered to look below the banner ad I would have seen all the replies already...is it time to go home yet? 



  • @cconroy said:

    Geez, give the guy a break.  Yes, the subject could be more specific, but surely you see the WTF in bouncing a message with 1) an ambiguous and non-obvious "command" subject (as opposed to "unsubscribe"), when 2) the server knows commands are not enabled and yet fails to consider that it might be a legitimate message?

    Coming from an era where Listserv was predominant, no.

    1) "help" is/was an obvious command, and not at all ambiguous. It's the equivalent of /?, -? or --help for a command line program (and don't tell me those are ambiguous and/or non-obvious) 

    2) Not WTFery. What's the point in sending a "tell me what you support" command to the subscribers of the list if the software doesn't have email commands enabled? IMNSHO actually doing so would be a WTF.



  • @Aaron said:

    @Renan_S2 said:
    Not a WTF, IMHO. There are mailing lists which accept commands on the subject line, like 'unsubscribe'.
    Bad choice of subject, I'll agree, but if the mailer does not have said commands enabled (which we know from the error message), then why not attempt to actually deliver it?
    As a member of said list, you'd appreciate blank emails with titles such as "Help" and "Unsubscribe" and "set nomail" (i.e. legitmate command mails) being sent to you?

     
    Of course you wouldn't. Neither would the other thousands (ok - maybe 10's or hundreds) of other members on that server/list.



  • @PJH said:

    @cconroy said:

    Geez, give the guy a break.  Yes, the subject could be more specific, but surely you see the WTF in bouncing a message with 1) an ambiguous and non-obvious "command" subject (as opposed to "unsubscribe"), when 2) the server knows commands are not enabled and yet fails to consider that it might be a legitimate message?

    Coming from an era where Listserv was predominant, no.

    1) "help" is/was an obvious command, and not at all ambiguous. It's the equivalent of /?, -? or --help for a command line program (and don't tell me those are ambiguous and/or non-obvious)

    No, those aren't. That's because it's unambiguous that they are flags and not 'content' [for a command line program, filenames etc]. But, if I had a file called "help", and "rm help" gave me info on how to use rm (or, even less usefully, said "rm does not support 'help' on the command line, please use '--help'" instead of deleting the file, I'd be pissed. And, since this is in an email to the same email address as messages to the list, it's more like "cat > foo.txt" and cat saying "please use '--help' on the command line instead of 'help' in input" if the first line of the file i'm creating is "Help".

    "help" is something that a reasonable person could write in a subject line intended for humans to read, unlike e.g. "unsubscribe". And you knew damn well that was what he meant by 'ambiguous and non-obvious'

    2) Not WTFery. What's the point in sending a "tell me what you support" command to the subscribers of the list if the software doesn't have email commands enabled?

    Begging the question - it's only a "tell me what you support" command if the software DOES have email commands enabled. If it doesn't and never has, it's just a subject line.

    If email commands are not enabled, no subject line sent to the main list should be interpreted as an email command. Doing so is a WTF. 

    IMNSHO actually doing so would be a WTF.



  • @Random832 said:

    @PJH said:
    @cconroy said:

    Geez, give the guy a break.  Yes, the subject could be more specific, but surely you see the WTF in bouncing a message with 1) an ambiguous and non-obvious "command" subject (as opposed to "unsubscribe"), when 2) the server knows commands are not enabled and yet fails to consider that it might be a legitimate message?

    Coming from an era where Listserv was predominant, no.

    1) "help" is/was an obvious command, and not at all ambiguous. It's the equivalent of /?, -? or --help for a command line program (and don't tell me those are ambiguous and/or non-obvious)

    No, those aren't. That's because it's unambiguous that they are flags and not 'content' [for a command line program, filenames etc]. But, if I had a file called "help", and "rm help" gave me info on how to use rm (or, even less usefully, said "rm does not support 'help' on the command line, please use '--help'" instead of deleting the file, I'd be pissed. And, since this is in an email to the same email address as messages to the list, it's more like "cat > foo.txt" and cat saying "please use '--help' on the command line instead of 'help' in input" if the first line of the file i'm creating is "Help".

    "help" is something that a reasonable person could write in a subject line intended for humans to read, unlike e.g. "unsubscribe". And you knew damn well that was what he meant by 'ambiguous and non-obvious'

    2) Not WTFery. What's the point in sending a "tell me what you support" command to the subscribers of the list if the software doesn't have email commands enabled?

    Begging the question - it's only a "tell me what you support" command if the software DOES have email commands enabled. If it doesn't and never has, it's just a subject line.

    If email commands are not enabled, no subject line sent to the main list should be interpreted as an email command. Doing so is a WTF. If this were a rejection of an email to some sort of ...-request address, I'd agree with you. But it's not.

    IMNSHO actually doing so would be a WTF.

     And this is what happens when you hit "reply" instead of "edit".
     



  • @Random832 said:

    @Random832 said:
    @PJH said:
    @cconroy said:

    Geez, give the guy a break.  Yes, the subject could be more specific, but surely you see the WTF in bouncing a message with 1) an ambiguous and non-obvious "command" subject (as opposed to "unsubscribe"), when 2) the server knows commands are not enabled and yet fails to consider that it might be a legitimate message?

    Coming from an era where Listserv was predominant, no.

    1) "help" is/was an obvious command, and not at all ambiguous. It's the equivalent of /?, -? or --help for a command line program (and don't tell me those are ambiguous and/or non-obvious)

    No, those aren't. That's because it's unambiguous that they are flags and not 'content' [for a command line program, filenames etc]. But, if I had a file called "help", and "rm help" gave me info on how to use rm (or, even less usefully, said "rm does not support 'help' on the command line, please use '--help'" instead of deleting the file, I'd be pissed. And, since this is in an email to the same email address as messages to the list, it's more like "cat > foo.txt" and cat saying "please use '--help' on the command line instead of 'help' in input" if the first line of the file i'm creating is "Help".

    "help" is something that a reasonable person could write in a subject line intended for humans to read, unlike e.g. "unsubscribe". And you knew damn well that was what he meant by 'ambiguous and non-obvious'

    2) Not WTFery. What's the point in sending a "tell me what you support" command to the subscribers of the list if the software doesn't have email commands enabled?

    Begging the question - it's only a "tell me what you support" command if the software DOES have email commands enabled. If it doesn't and never has, it's just a subject line.

    If email commands are not enabled, no subject line sent to the main list should be interpreted as an email command. Doing so is a WTF. If this were a rejection of an email to some sort of ...-request address, I'd agree with you. But it's not.

    IMNSHO actually doing so would be a WTF.

     And this is what happens when you hit "reply" instead of "edit".
     

    Surely it's what happens when you hit "quote"?



  • @PJH said:

    2) Not WTFery. What's the point in sending a "tell me what you support" command to the subscribers of the list if the software doesn't have email commands enabled? IMNSHO actually doing so would be a WTF.

    At least let's try to be smart about it.  How about only accepting commands when the message body is blank?  Otherwise, if there's text, assume it's a legitimate message and send it out, or at least place it in some kind of moderation queue.

    And if a poor clueless user replies to an existing message with a help command, and it gets sent to the list?  Then one of two things happens:

    1) Some kind-hearted soul enlightens the newbie as to the proper procedure, or

    2) The list members flame him mercilessly, at which point he either

        a) crawls back under a rock, never to be heard from again, or

        b) joins in the fray, proving himself to the crowd and generating some interesting list traffic for all.

    Yay!  Everybody's happy!  (Except DailyWTF users, who lose out on an exciting topic of discussion.) 



  • @cconroy said:

    @PJH said:

    2) Not WTFery. What's the point in sending a "tell me what you support" command to the subscribers of the list if the software doesn't have email commands enabled? IMNSHO actually doing so would be a WTF.

    At least let's try to be smart about it.  How about only accepting commands when the message body is blank?  Otherwise, if there's text, assume it's a legitimate message and send it out, or at least place it in some kind of moderation queue.

    Nobody ever accused ezmlm of being an appreciably good MLM. It's quite poor, by anybody's standards. It's not really a WTF though, particularly in the context of mail exploders (there have been some really whacked out ones, over the decades).


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