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A long-time member of a mailing list posts many off-topic messages, ranging from a couple a month to several a week, and rarely posts on-topic. This behavior frustrates some members of the list because of the noise it generates (both those posts and followups). Direct, private requests to the poster to stop doing this (from several people) have not changed his behavior. Requests to the owners of the mailing list have gone unanswered. Fairly often, now, when he posts one of these messages, somebody will respond to the list asking how this is related to the subject of the list. ("What's the [insert topic here] issue?" is the usual form.)

Aside from issues of what might be effective (that would be a question for a psychology or IT site), how may a (Jewish) member of the mailing list respond? Are the "what's the [topic] issue" responses appropriate, or does the possible embarrassment they cause preclude them? Does it matter if the poster is Jewish? Does it matter if it's a Jewish-topic mailing list -- do we expect a different standard of behavior among Jews than we would on, say, a gardening list? Would it be inappropriate to automatically send all of this person's messages to the trash, which would mean missing any apology or on-topic message he might post in the future?

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Wouldn't you say this post needs to be depersonalized? –  Double AA Aug 1 '12 at 4:49
    
I'm wondering if it's, um, on topic. –  Seth J Aug 1 '12 at 12:13
    
@SethJ, that would be ironic. :-) I'm asking what behaviors are appropriate in that situation; our tradition has a lot to say about dealing with other people, but I'm not sure how to apply them to this situation. If others feel it's off-topic, we can close. –  Monica Cellio Aug 1 '12 at 12:24
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I think it might be more generalized. Would it be different if it's a website, say, or an inter-office (physical or e-)mail system within a large corporate entity? –  Seth J Aug 1 '12 at 12:38
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@SethJ, a key difference between a mailing list and a web site is that the administrators can't delete or edit contributions -- once mail is sent, it's sent. (Versus, say, Mi Yodeya, where off-topic posts can be removed before they bother everybody.) Physical mail would be similar but is less likely to have the reply-to-all followups. –  Monica Cellio Aug 1 '12 at 12:48
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I don't have a full answer, but a few points:

Good mailing list software can be set so that specific users will need moderator approval for their messages. This is the IT solution for you.

If asking him to stop is not effective, most likely this means he is lonely and wants the attention, or that he feels unappreciated in his life and wants to feel like his is doing something.

A suggestion is to try to find him someplace else to also contribute.

For each message he sends write him "You should have sent that here xxxx."

This will require some work on your part to find these places, but you may be helping someone, so at least try it for a bit.

Are the "what's the [topic] issue" responses appropriate, or does the possible embarrassment they cause preclude them?

These should be sent directly to him, not the whole list. Among other things it reduces noise for everyone else.

Would it be inappropriate to automatically send all of this person's messages to the trash, which would mean missing any apology or on-topic message he might post in the future?

You have absolutely no requirement to read everything a person writes. So yes, if you want to do that feel perfectly free. Especially if you have not written to him recently (so you are not expecting any messages specifically to you). If you are worried, create a folder in your email software, and filter all his messages there. Then give them a quick check every month or so.

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"Aside from issues of what might be effective (that would be a question for a psychology or IT site), what methods of responding to him are appropriate for a Jew?" –  Seth J Aug 1 '12 at 12:45
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