Ottawa city councillor turned mayoral candidate Clive Doucet has one very small problem. He doesn’t quite get how mailing lists–particularly those advertising his position leading up to a municipal election–are actually supposed to work. Instead of allowing folks to choose to sign up for his advertisements, he chose instead to assume anyone who’s emailed him for any reason must be interested in his platform and has therefore given instead the option of simply being removed. Why is this a problem? Much to Clive’s dismay, not all of us are really all that interested.
I sent one, maybe two emails to councillor Doucet in early 2009, as a direct response to the fact OC Transpo had been dragging the bus strike out and making it nearly as political as some of the crap that came out of the house of commons. The response I got to that email was, pretty much, a politically correct version of “Go screw yourself”, and a reminder that the wicked evil cruel union wouldn’t be pushing the city around if he could help it. I pretty much wrote him off as an ass–even if he was one of the two people who actually did get back to me (the other was a form letter that pretty much said they’d look into it).
That was pretty much the end of my exchange with Ottawa city councillors in general and Doucet in particular. Flash forward to the start of the municipal campaign runs. I get up, go through my morning routine, and the very first email that shows up in my inbox? a newsletter from “Clive Doucet for mayor”. Flash forward again to tonight. I wrote that off as a simple mistake–he doesn’t strike me as very tech savvy, honestly–none of them do, really, but him in particular. Tonight when I got in, I was treated to another newsletter from “Clive Doucet for mayor”. This one, at least, came with an unsubscribe link–the last one didn’t exactly have one.
Hey, Clive? I emailed you a year and a half ago. At most twice. How does that translate to I want to receive advertisements or what have you from you? Most particularly after I no longer live in the city you fully intend to handle I’m sure with the same positively charming touch you demonstrated during our brief conversation. Tell you what. Nobody likes opt-out mailing lists. Particularly from charismatic individuals such as yourself. On the up side, at least you’ve given me a solid reason to avoid emailing you from anything other than a throw-away address from this point. Thanks for that, at least. Now, please, set your spam on fire. I’d appreciate that very much.