What To Do When You’re “Left wing Marxist racist scum”

Cross-posted on K Street Café

Well, at least we’ve gotten ONE thing settled this political year: we now know what e.politics actually IS. At least according to (former) reader-via-email-signup K— S——, who sent this friendly message a couple of days ago (font size rendered accurately).

You left wing Marxist racist scum!
Dont send me any more of your crap.

Which brings up one of the classic issues involved in running an email list: how to deal with people who unsubscribe violently.

Seriously, if you’re managing a list of any size, eventually you’re going to run into someone who wants off and doesn’t just want to click the “unsubscribe button” — he (and it’s almost always a he) wants you to KNOW about it. You rarely hear from the people who unsubscribe for other reasons (they’re on too many lists, aren’t interested in your issues, etc.), and the angry emails tend to dominate, particularly if your organization or campaign is taking strong positions in public. It gets REAL ugly if the person doesn’t remember signing up (a particular problem if you start using a semi-dormant list more actively) and sees you as a spammer, which seems to justify the use of linguistic weapons of mass destruction.

When I ran the National Environmental Trust e-advocacy “team” (me and an intern), I made it a point to try to reply to such “requests” politely, and of course I’d disable the list member’s account through the admin backend of our CRM system (GetActive). When I corresponded with the public (and we got a fair number of emails every week), I tried to be conscious of the fact that I was representing not only the organization, but in some sense the environmental movement itself — if someone had a bad experience with us, it could easily color their perception of our issues and of other groups working on them. It’s really just classic customer service — do your best to leave ’em happy.

In the case of the message quoted above, the guy’d signed up to receive updates daily via email back in April, but he must not have liked the (relatively occasional) forays into ideological minefields here on e.politics. I could have ignored his message, but how much fun would that be? Here’s what I sent back:

Hey dude, you signed up to get them, and if you can’t figure out how to find the unsubscribe button at the bottom of EVERY email you’ve ever gotten from this site, that’s your own business.

In any case, you’re certainly welcome to your own opinion. But if it’s Marxist to OWN YOUR OWN BUSINESS and pay people to do work for you [Ed. note: occasionally], then I’m a Marxist. If it’s racist to believe in the equality of all, regardless of their color, then I’m racist. Guilty. As. Charged.

Good day.

To be punctuated with the appropriate “harrumph” — channel Homer Simpson-as-Victorian Gentleman and you’ll get the idea. As always, Your Mileage May Vary — you’re currently reading the work of “scum,” after all.


Written by
Colin Delany
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