Making the Most of E-mail Addresses Populated from LDS Account

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nutterb
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Making the Most of E-mail Addresses Populated from LDS Account

Postby nutterb » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:16 am

For the most part, I'm thinking out loud in this thread. My hope is to identify potential problems, pitfalls, and solutions to using the e-mail addresses in MLS in place of the LUWS E-mail broadcast system. (or if need be, get talked out of it).

So this idea assumes that e-mail addresses will be populated in MLS based on this discussion.

In my experience so far, the chief limitations of the LUWS e-mail broadcast are
1) It doesn't always work
2) It only allows plain text
3) All e-mails come from the website administrator.

So, if the MLS e-mails were to be populated from LDS Account, I should theoretically be able to use this new information to create mailing lists that are more likely to work, allow for formatting, and come from the individuals sending the messages.

The first problem I see coming from this is privacy. I'd really like to prevent these e-mail lists from getting used for non-Church use. The BCC will likely be my friend here. Plus, one of our auxiliaries maintains a Google Group (yeah yeah, I know...) that we've come to a compromise over--no ward information may be disseminated over the group, but may be used for all the non-Church stuff. So, I figure if I can keep on the auxiliary leaders to use the BCC and non-Church stuff stays on the group, privacy should be settled.

The next problem I see is distributing the lists. I would imagine custom reports could be used for this. It can't be that challenging to write custom reports that mirror the mailing lists in LUWS. However, this doesn't resolve the question of subscriptions. The subscription issue is one I'm really not sure how to get past. If I proceed on this idea, it will probably be an issue I ignore until the new messaging system is available.

The last problem is getting people to sign up for LDS Account. My best solution so far is to put this on the auxiliaries. If they want the most accurate e-mail lists, then they need to get their members registered. I've talked to the Elders' Quorum President and he's willing to pilot this. He's actually rather pleased with the idea since he's been maintaining an e-mail list for the quorum and would love to automate that process a little.

Am I missing any other obvious problems? Do you think it will work?

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Postby RossEvans » Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:58 am

nutterb wrote:Am I missing any other obvious problems? Do you think it will work?


One problem is the case of members who have chosen to suppress their email addresses in LUWS. Propagating their LDS Account email addresses to MLS for leadership use is one thing. But exporting that data and redistributing it to others is another matter.

nutterb
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Postby nutterb » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:12 am

boomerbubba wrote:One problem is the case of members who have chosen to suppress their email addresses in LUWS. Propagating their LDS Account email addresses to MLS for leadership use is one thing. But exporting that data and redistributing it to others is another matter.


I wonder how much of an issue that really is. For instance, a member can suppress their e-mail on LUWS--that is, make their e-mail address invisible to those browsing the directory--but that doesn't preclude them from subscribing to and receiving mail from one of the lists.

But you're right, this gives no way to stop the e-mail to a person who has unsubscribed from all the mailing lists.

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Postby RossEvans » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:39 am

nutterb wrote:I wonder how much of an issue that really is. For instance, a member can suppress their e-mail on LUWS--that is, make their e-mail address invisible to those browsing the directory--but that doesn't preclude them from subscribing to and receiving mail from one of the lists.

But you're right, this gives no way to stop the e-mail to a person who has unsubscribed from all the mailing lists.


Yes. But my other question is: To whom do you plan to distribute these lists? When subscription email is generated out of LUWS, only LUWS knows the addresses if they have been suppressed from display. I understood you to say that you plan to generate your own mailing lists from MLS, and distribute those lists to various members (auxiliary leaders, etc.) to originate their own mailings with a BCC.

nutterb
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Postby nutterb » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:15 pm

boomerbubba wrote:Yes. But my other question is: To whom do you plan to distribute these lists? When subscription email is generated out of LUWS, only LUWS knows the addresses if they have been suppressed from display. I understood you to say that you plan to generate your own mailing lists from MLS, and distribute those lists to various members (auxiliary leaders, etc.) to originate their own mailings with a BCC.


You're correct, I would have the intent of giving these suppressed e-mail addresses to auxiliary presidents. My assumption is that they'll be responsible for safe keeping the information.

Whereas most of the members are willfully* giving their e-mail addresses to the auxiliary presidencies already (even the ones with suppressed e-mails in LUWS) I don't feel too bad about this at the moment. Unfortunately, circumstances could easily change where this creates a problem. hrrmmmmm <pensive>



* Ironically, even though I refused to give my e-mail address to quorum leaders when they put together their e-mail list, my address found it's way on. Website administrators have no solace.

rmrichesjr
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How about hidden malware?

Postby rmrichesjr » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:44 pm

nutterb wrote:You're correct, I would have the intent of giving these suppressed e-mail addresses to auxiliary presidents. My assumption is that they'll be responsible for safe keeping the information.

...


How many of those auxiliary presidents will have undetected malware hiding on their home computers that will harvest email addresses and sent them to spammers?

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Postby lajackson » Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:19 pm

nutterb wrote:You're correct, I would have the intent of giving these suppressed e-mail addresses to auxiliary presidents. My assumption is that they'll be responsible for safe keeping the information. . . .

* Ironically, even though I refused to give my e-mail address to quorum leaders when they put together their e-mail list, my address found it's way on. Website administrators have no solace.


Most of our auxiliary leaders do not understand bcc. They just put everybody in the To box and fire away. It is a bit disconcerting.

As for your e-mail address, I use two approaches, depending on the situation. The easiest way is to ignore the e-mail. Take no action. Act as if you never received it. If you are asked, you did not provide an e-mail address for them to contact you, so they need to phone, write, speak to you at church, whatever.

The other way is to bounce it back, telling them they are not authorized to use it. My "computer" does that all the time. I use that approach when I am feeling feisty and really do want them to wonder whether or not I got the e-mail.

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Postby RossEvans » Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:26 pm

nutterb wrote:You're correct, I would have the intent of giving these suppressed e-mail addresses to auxiliary presidents. My assumption is that they'll be responsible for safe keeping the information. ...

Ironically, even though I refused to give my e-mail address to quorum leaders when they put together their e-mail list, my address found it's way on. Website administrators have no solace.


Just as a matter of protocol, a website administrator may need more authority than his own to disseminate data exported from MLS. Ultimately that is up to the bishop's discretion, as I understand it. But as long as he is okay with sharing this data with various auxiliary leaders, I see no problem.

The email addresses themselves are provided voluntarily by LDS Account registrants. I assume that the LDS Account Privacy Policy is being examined, and if need be modified, congruent with the announced policy of propagating that data to MLS.

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Postby kisaac » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:55 pm

nutterb wrote: So, I figure if I can keep on the auxiliary leaders to use the BCC


Yes, nobody understands BCC as was already mentioned, and it just takes once for somebody who does understand it to forget to use it, and your list is out like feathers in the wind...

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Postby aebrown » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:06 pm

On this thread, various people have raised concerns about mailing lists using e-mail addresses from MLS. These include:

  • Senders neglecting to use BCC, so all the addresses are revealed to all recipients;
  • Senders having malware on their machines so that e-mail addresses get sent on to spammers and other bad guys;
  • No mechanism for members to indicate they don't want their e-mail address used, or other privacy concerns.
These are all good points to be aware of. But I would note that every one of these things can happen, even if no clerk ever gathers e-mail addresses from MLS and distributes them to auxiliary leaders, as was proposed at the start of this thread.

Remember that class and other organization lists now include individual and/or household e-mail addresses. Auxiliary and quorum leaders would certainly have such lists for their organizations, so they will have the e-mail addresses and thus have the capability to use those e-mail addresses.

So it's prudent to worry about those risks, and to take whatever steps are reasonable to educate members about them. But I don't see much point in worrying about distributing electronic versions of the lists to auxiliary and quorum leaders who already have that exact information in paper form (except to be sure that the distribution of the electronic versions is reasonably secure).


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