Listserv Spam Is Annoying

For those of you that attend UW you all know what a listserv (or listproc) is. For those of you who don’t know what it is, I’ll give you a brief explanation. Each class at the UW gets a list of users (the class list) on an email list that the class can use to ask questions of the whole class by just typing in one email address. This makes it very convenient to get in contact with everyone in your class, but when used poorly (or too much) it just becomes inbox spam. This is the case of this past weekend.

Now, I understand that people wait until the last minute to do assignments and to get things done. But, what I don’t get is how stupid some of them are. Some of the questions that were passed back and forth could have been answered in the following places:

  1. In class. Many of the questions were things that were covered in the Lab on Friday or in class.
  2. In the assignment brief. If you read the assignment paper you’d know what you were supposed to do and how to format your output. But, reading your assignment would be too much to ask now wouldn’t it?
  3. A search on Google. It is amazing what you find when you just do a little search. Personal exploration is key in learning.

I do realize that people stress out when it comes down to crunch time for an assignment, but this was borderline ridiculous. This assignment is just the tip of the iceberg for this quarter and if you are asking this many questions now, I can hardly wait for later in the quarter (can I say mail filter?).

I had no problem with the occasional email on Saturday in the afternoon, but then (for some reason I do not know) a plethora of email just seemed to fill my inbox that evening and on into Sunday morning. I had changed my email auto check to 1 minute to see when the emails actually came in. What I learned from this is that people are really stupid sometimes when they ask their questions, people check their email every damn minute (not like I can talk), and people don’t know the proper way to use a listserv. It’s a listserver not a forum. There is a difference.

This just frustrates me that people use the listserv like this the days leading up to an assignment’s due date. All I know is that after the 10th or so email I just gave up on even reading the list emails. Too many of them were stupid questions (yes stupid) that were answered in class or could have been found from one of the three ways listed above. So, I just stopped reading them and began moving them into the Informatics folder on my computer. I don’t even know why the hell I put them there, since I am never going to read them. The only reason that comes to mind is that I can look back and be like, look here; you asked the most stupid questions on the class listserv. Did you even pay attention in class? Then, of course, the reply is, “Well, I just don’t know this as well as you.” Alright, please, cop out more? Seriously. I just learned JSP like the rest of you and you all know Object Oriented Programming (or you should). So, I don’t know how you can even say that. Please think then speak. It works out better that way.

I am just frustrated because this email spam is not helping things. I don’t have time to read all the crap that people post to it. I equate this to reading forums and when someone doesn’t take the time to search the forums to find the answer to their question before they ask it. You just look even more stupid and piss off the people that would more than likely help you. This just makes me wonder why I even read them in the first place. I mean, come on. If you are not taking the time to read the emails that people send out about how to answer a specific problem, you should not expect a response to your question. If this was a forum not related to school I would be flaming you out and telling you to search the forum for the answer. But, I don’t have that luxury since this is an academic listserv. So, I restrain from posting things like this on the class listserv.

In either case I have just given up on helping people on the listserv. The majority of them take a “me first you later” approach to it and that is not how it should operate. You all should take the time to read the past postings before you make one of your own. The way to access the iSchool VPN doesn’t change from email to email, nor does the classpath to compile JAVA files. So, read your damn email and then maybe, just maybe, I’ll come back and help you on the listserv again. Until then, all of your emails will remain unread and pushed into the Informatics folder with the rest of the iSpam that I get from the program.