This site is supposed to be about software management. But sometimes you don't have the power to create change in your organization by executive fiat. Obviously, if you're just a grunt programmer at the bottom of the totem pole, you can't exactly order people to start creating schedules or bug databases. And in fact even if you're a manager, you've probably discovered that managing developers is a lot like herding cats, only not as fun. Merely saying "make it so" doesn't make it so.
WhatCounts Replaces Mailman
I used to use mailman to send the notification email to the 7568 subscribers who signed up. It had some problems. The biggest one was that every email that went out had to be exactly the same, and there was no way to include a recipient's email address in the text of the outgoing message. This made it a pain to unsubscribe people who didn't quite know why they were subscribed (usually they had an old email address forwarding to their current address). In fact I'm embarassed to admit that under the old system the only way to unsubscribe people was for me to go through all the unsubscribe messages and remove people manually. Why I put up with this for so long is completely beyond me.
Thanks to David Geller at WhatCounts, I have a new system to manage the notification email. Every outgoing message will automatically have a custom return address on the WhatCounts server and a custom link you can click to unsubscribe. I hope this will make list management, finally, a totally painless process. The only problem with the new system is that if you receive one of my notifications and reply to it, I never see the reply. WhatCounts will assume it's a bounce or an unsubscribe request and deal with it appropriately. If you want to contact me you have to send email, rather than just replying to the message.
You’re reading Joel on Software, stuffed with years and years of completely raving mad articles about software development, managing software teams, designing user interfaces, running successful software companies, and rubber duckies.