Communitarian spam

by Henry on October 20, 2006

I doubt very much that I’m the only person in the CT community who has found themselves for some reason unbeknownst to them signed up to the Comnet Communitarian Letter (which I find to be rather trite and platitudinous; but then, I’m not a communitarian nor do I ever want to be). Nor am I the only person who’s found that it’s impossible to get off the mailing list; I know this for a fact as one of my mates was bitching about this very problem to me the other day. There’s an email address at the bottom of the Letter that you’re supposed to write to if you want to get off the listserv, but the way that they’ve configured their software, the only result you get is an error message . This is not an acceptable way to configure an email list that you then sign people up to without their permission. I believe that communitarians are big into collective shaming mechanisms, where you call people out for bad behavior in front of the community, so that they will mend their ways and do better in future. Here goes.



engels 10.20.06 at 11:38 am

Expect them to reply that it’s selfish to think that you can just opt in an out of these things: the idea that you existed as an individual “prior” to joining the mailing list is metaphysical claptrap.


c .l. ball 10.20.06 at 4:11 pm

I get those annoying emails too. Why not just set you spam/junk filter to exclude it?


Eszter 10.20.06 at 4:12 pm

If I recall you use GMail, so I recommend an automatic filter delete. Of course, that doesn’t excuse their practices at all, but it works well. This method also works very well for other organizations that put you on their mailing lists for press releases without ever asking you about it (or even sending an introductory note to mention it). “Skip the Inbox” & “Delete It” is a very helpful combination.


aaron 10.20.06 at 6:55 pm

shame shame shame, for bloody shame


Henry 10.20.06 at 9:09 pm

Thanks for practical suggestions – I have a rule set up to do this – but I’m more venting my general annoyance here at what seems to me to be bad practice than asking for suggestions of how to deal with it. c.l. ball – I actually think it’s a bad idea to use the spam filter to get rid of it, at least if it’s Bayesian (as in Thunderbird) as the filter will be more likely to delete useful messages that talk about politics in the future.


Cardinal Fang 10.20.06 at 11:51 pm

Don’t tell Gmail it’s spam. Just set up a filter to automatically delete anything from that address.


Eszter 10.21.06 at 12:13 am

Henry, I had a feeling you were more focused on the annoyance than a question of how-to. You’re absolutely right to be questioning their practices. I suspect many of these have happened, because we blog. Other culprits have included the Boston Globe and the L.A. Times with daily messages.


Ajax 10.21.06 at 7:32 am

Your experience underscores my long-held belief that communitarianism is a form of fascism. First they tell you that you should work only within walking distance of your home, then they force you to receive their emails.


Jacob T. Levy 10.21.06 at 11:17 am

Seconded, or thirded. Like you I’ve been worried about filtering it for fear of teaching my filter the wrong lessons, but, good lord. As I recall Etzioni even wrote a book ostensibly about privacy, commercialization, and the internet (though, for all I know, he came out as pro-spam).


Benjamin Nelson 10.21.06 at 1:35 pm

Communitarianism is a form of fascism? Wow. For a second, I thought I was at FrontPageMag or something.

Would somebody here be so good as to post and endorse an intelligible set of reasons for distrusting or disagreeing with the whole body of work known as “communitarianism”? Or should this post just be a mere complaint over some organization’s mailspam?

I myself would never go whole hog and endorse the radical community-before-individual view of the social order. But neither would I be so flippant as to say that liberalism qua liberalism can seriously offer solutions to great sources of human misery in contemporary times, like urban decay. Liberalism is a great overall framework, but it fails at the local level. This is the key insight which has inspired communitarian writers.


Walt 10.21.06 at 3:07 pm

Benjamin: I’m pretty sure that Ajax’ post was a joke.


Benjamin Nelson 10.22.06 at 5:23 pm

Alas, I have no sense of humor :(


robotslave 10.22.06 at 6:34 pm

The problem with communitarianism, briefly, is that people self-segregate geographically, even when incomes and real estate prices are comparable.

On a snarkier note, I would suggest that the communitarians keep a good chunk of their audience of liberal professionals by focussing on the immediate local community and the total global community, while avoiding issues and ideas that crop up when you look at the less immediate but still local “community” (or “region,” if you prefer).

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