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GNLIB - Graphic Novels in Libraries
Hundreds of Librarians Can't Be Wrong! 


Temporarily Suspending Your Subscription
Learn how to safely suspend your subscription for a short time.

How to unsubscribe to GNLIB-L.
To leave the Graphic Novels in Libraries list, simply send a blank message to gnlib-l-unsubscribe@topica.com.  The server will then remove that email address from the mailing list.  You must send the un-subscribe request message from the email address that you wish to be removed from the list.

How to subscribe to GNLIB-L.
To join the Graphic Novels in Libraries list, simply send a blank email message to gnlib-l-subscribe@topica.com.  The server will then add that email address to the mailing list.  You must send the subscription request message from the email address at which you wish to receive the GNLIB-L messages.

Why to do  it,
It is always a good idea to temporarily cancel your listserv subscriptions while on vacation.  If you leave your email account unattended for more than a few days with these lists sending in messages every day, you may find your inbox clogged with hundreds (or maybe thousands) of messages when you were gone.  This is remedied by canceling (unsubscribing) and re-joining (subscribing).
    If you are the type of person who doesn't want to miss anything, feel free to leave your subscription active.  BEFORE YOU LEAVE ON VACATION, however, talk to the person in charge of your system's email.  Tell Them You Do Not Wish An Auto-Responder To Be Engaged While You Are On Vacation. Doing so will, likely, cause you embarrassment, banishment from the discussion group, and possibly a few rude emails.  Read on to learn why.

What can go wrong with Auto-Responders??
The System Administrators of many computers systems are often very helpful.  When they learn an employee is leaving for vacation, they "turn off" that person's email account.  They place the account on "auto-respond."  This means that the computer will automatically send out a "Hi!  Thanks for writing.  I'm on vacation.  You can reach me after (date)." message to each message received.  System Admins sometimes set up the auto-responder as standard-operating-procedure, often without the employee's knowledge. This feature works great for person-to-person email.  But it can create serious problems when it encounters a email list server.
    So, the function of an Auto-Responder is to automatically reply to messages.  The function of a listserv is to share messages with its subscribers.  You can only post to the listserv if you are a member.  (Do you see where this is going?)
    Let's say you go on vacation, and your helpful System Administrator turns on the auto-responder for your email.  She warns you, "Remember, the computer will not save any incoming messages, but it will let everyone know you are on vacation."  "How nice," you think, beginning to appreciate how polite these new-fangled contraptions are becoming.  You leave for that long awaited trip to Boise.  See you in two weeks!  But no one reminded you to unsubscribe from your email lists..
    As of that moment, a chain of unfortunate events is set into motion.
    An innocent list-member posts a message to the group asking for advice.  This message hits the list server, and is forwarded to all the members.  When the message arrives in your email account, the auto-responder will discard it and generate a reply back to the sender.  This is not the person who posted the message, but the email address that sent the message: The List.  When the "I'm on Vacation!" message reaches the list's email computer, the machine says "Yup!  This person is a member! Okay, let's forward their message to everyone on the routing list!"  Your vacation message just got sent to hundreds of people.  Including yourself.
   When your email account receives this "new" message saying "I'm on Vacation!" it will discard it, and generate a reply back to the sender (the list).   The server then forwards that message to everyone again and once again, your email receives another copy of it.  To which it automatically responds, again.
    Woe betide any list member who posts a message amidst this!  These messages are then added to the back-and-forth between the list server and the auto-responder.  Every message sent to the group, generates an equal number of automatic responses back to the group, which in turn, generate another flood of outgoing messages to the auto-responder, which politely informs all of those messages that you are on vacation!  The problem increases geometrically with each additional message posted to the group.
    So, how can things go wrong with an auto-responder?  This back-and-forth process can all by itself create about 10 messages a minutes for the entire time the auto-responder is active.  Each additional message posted by confused list members will only complicate the issue.  Now, if you are on vacation for two weeks, and each day has 24 hours ... well, you do the math.
    This is a bad thing.
    September 13, 2000 was a dark day for GNLIB-L.  A member went on vacation, and an auto-responder was activated on his email account.  That scenario generated over 15,000 email messages before the list owner was able to deactivate that account at Topica.  On a slightly less dark day, another member generated over 5,000 posts in three hours.
    On a more positive note, as of April, 2002, Topica is working on a method to block auto-responders.  The list owner will advise the list when this upgrade is completed.
    Web-based email providers such as Yahoo and Hotmail do not provide auto-responding.  The only way to stop email from coming in while you are on vacation is to unsubscribe.

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Content copyright 2002-2005, Steve Miller, except for quotations taken from emails,
which are credited to the respective authors.