A tale of an old subscriber list

So if you’re on this page it’s very likely because you clicked a link to it in an e-mail we’ve just sent you!

That e-mail was sent January 2020 and is basically just a reworded version of an e-mail originally sent back in August 2019 reminding people that the LUG has relaunched.

The short version…

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We’re sorry if you’ve got an e-mail from us a second time!

Our main reason for sending another e-mail was because we’d randomly stumbled upon an old file with the e-mail addresses of older subscribers who we think we’ve likely forgot to tell about our relaunch. It’d always been meant to be a one-off e-mail and we won’t be doing it again… that file is also now gone.

For a better explanation (and how we’re protecting your personal information) you’ll need the longer version below…

Oh and we also threw in about 4 or 5 extra e-mail addresses in… who were already on the general@ mailing list but not on meetings@, just in case you’d forgotten we have both!

The longer version 🙂

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When we relaunched back in August we sent an e-mail out to everyone who was still on the older (Mailman 2.1 based) mailing list of “staffslug@staffslug.org.uk” (which has since been retired and archived).

Basically it just said that we were finally back and how you could re-subscribe yourself manually (either by sending an e-mail or using the web interface) to the new Mailman 3 based mailing lists.

This had a few issues…

  • Many of you just wanted a button to push which would do it for you.
  • The list of people on the old mailing list had dwindled a lot (from 150 to about 70) presumably during the LUGs dormant phase!
  • All the e-mails were sent using BCC, which I imagine got some of the e-mails trapped in spam filters.

We only know it was about 150 as an old e-mail with minutes from a meeting in 2013 (yes, even back then a bunch of us were trying to restart things!) shows the old LUGMaster stating that figure.

Anyway, after the e-mail in August was sent… we deleted the sent copy of the e-mail (with all the BCC’s) so that we weren’t retaining those addresses.

However over the last few years… files have been accumulating from past attempts to move the mailing lists over. In a recent tidy up we’ve spotted an old CSV format file with e-mail addresses of those who we’re guessing have either subscribed to an older mailing list before or used one in some way.

Dusting this off a bit… we removed from that list anyone who is already subscribed or we remembered e-mailing/telling back in August (although it’s a lot of e-mail addresses, sorry if our memory isn’t great!).

Suffice to say this latest reminder e-mail is based on what was left… sorry if you got one in August as well!

This time we’ve sent it using an excellent “Mail Merge” add-on for Thunderbird (and not using BCC) which accepts CSV files! It also includes handy buttons for resubscribing… which we have connected to little scripts we’ve made to automate the job!

The file we’ve discovered has since been deleted and additionally (just like with the BCC e-mail from before) sent copies of the e-mails have gone too.

Hope this all makes sense!

Ideas on Coverage

Since 1999 the LUG has always been fully titled as Staffordshire Linux User Group, abbreviated as simply StaffsLUG. However Staffordshire is a rather large county with the majority of it’s population in the northern end of it. This is mostly due to the city of Stoke-on-Trent. Many local community and campaign groups in the area have chosen to either title themselves with the prefix ‘North Staffordshire’ or ‘Potteries’ to try and specifically target the northern end of the county.

Although a large number of our local members (past and present) are from the northern end of the county, there are still plenty that have come in from places such as Crewe and Stafford. These are not ‘North Staffordshire’, neither are they part of ‘the Potteries’ either.

Given the well established Wolverhampton LUG is very close to both Cannock and Lichfield in the south of Staffordshire, it’s very likely they are catering for people from those neighbouring areas too. This makes sense as Wolverhampton is by far the closest/largest urban area. Equally we’d like to hope that the east of Staffordshire (such as Burton-upon-Trent) could be catered for by a LUG in Derby for the same reason, but as of yet no LUG seems to have popped up there (contact us if you know of one).

As for our LUGs own name? Well StaffsLUG has a nice ring to it, it’s not completely inaccurate nor does it seem to be really bothering anyone. It’s been thought to change the name some day (both for geographical reasons and to sound less Linux-centric), but certainly not for the foreseeable future and not without a lot of people really wanting that.

Ultimately this blog post is just here to show off a map with a big circle on it! It certainly does seem to show the Potteries area mostly in the middle, which makes sense as that’s our closest large urban area. Keele is marked in blue mostly just for clarity about where our meetings are normally held. That in itself is a good location for meetings as it’s both outside of the busy roads of Stoke-on-Trent, whilst also near the M6 that runs its way vertically through the centre of the map.

Of course this in no way changes who can participate in the LUG! Anyone from anywhere in the world can show up at meetings and join in on the mailing list. But this does give people a general idea as to the locality of people we generally pull in. If you feel like the circle isn’t quite right (e.g… extra towns you know we’ve had local members from, etc…) or just want to share your thoughts then comment below, contact us or use the mailing lists. It’s roughly a 15 mile radius with postcode ST5 8SN at the centre (a postcode of no particular note, except that it’s at the centre of the circle).

p.s. If anyone knows of a way of showing the same amount of detail and clarity (at that map zoom distance) using OpenStreetMaps let us know. We’d have much rather preferred to use that, but it never seemed to quite look as good.

Click me to make me bigger!