Oct. 24, 1996
Vol. 16, No. 4

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    Improper use of e-mail causes slow service

    Improper use of electronic mailing lists contributed to temporary slow-downs in the University's electronic mail system earlier this month, according to Joel Mambretti, Director of Academic Computing Services, Networking Services & Information Technologies.

    "Campus computer-users are discovering the utility and practicality of using electronic mailing lists to distribute information, and we've seen an exponential growth in the use of these lists," said Mambretti. "But it's important to keep in mind that the network is a shared resource with many other users. Users of network services must understand that they have responsibilities to other users."

    Mambretti suggested that if mailing lists are very large (more than 50 recipients) mail should not be sent during the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., but instead diverted to a lower-traffic time period after working hours.

    "We have very robust systems with high performance levels, but regardless of the level of system performance, improper mail-list use can be a problem," Mambretti said.

    He also advised senders to send volume e-mail only when warranted. "Compiling lists of e-mail recipients is easy, but you should think carefully before using such lists. Broadcast e-mail messages often aren't well-received."

    To further help e-mail traffic flow, people who use programs, such as Eudora, that check e-mail automatically should set their programs to check mail no more frequently than every 10 minutes.

    "Thousands of people checking e-mail continually can create traffic jams," he said. "Most universities have policies regulating e-mail use to prevent these problems. We're hoping that educating computer users on campus will help avoid problems in the future."

    Questions about e-mail use may be directed to Mambretti at 702-7167.