An AGORA-L debacle: Subscribed for life

After deep investigations by our reporter Anna Pamplona, we found out that unsubscribing from AEGEE’s mailing lists, AGORA-L seems more impossible than possible.

We still haven’t found a good reason why anyone would ever want to unsubscribe from AGORA-L, but we’re journalists and think outside of the box. So, as a matter of test, we tried unsubscribing from the mailing list. This was not easy.

It started with looking for a way to unsubscribe. After several hours of research, Anna found that at the bottom of each e-mail it has a few lines of information on the mailing list, including the fact that to unsubscribe you have to send ‘signoff AEGEE-AGORA-L’ to a certain email address. It only worked when we sent the e-mail in a non-HTML format, and in UTF-8 encoding. And in cyrillic.

When we finally succesfully managed to send the unsubscription mail, Anna stretched her arms and sat back in her chair for a bit. “It’s done and it was easy”, she said out loud. “The people complaining are just whi-” *plonk*

An automated response had just arrived.

Dear Miss Pamplona,

Thank you for sending an unsubscription request in order to be unsubscribed from AGORA-L. We would kindly like to assist you in the further process of unsubscribing from our mailing distribution list.

In order to verify your identity, we would like you to perform the following steps:

1: Send both a copy and the original of your identity document (Passport, ID-card or if you’re from the United Kingdom, a written letter from Her Majesty the Queen herself confirming your identity) to our headoffices (AEGEE-Europe, Einbahnstrasse 25, 33613 Bielefeld, Germany), preferably through the Europe on Pack parcel and mailing company.

2: Send a spoken video message of yourself to the UNSUBSCRIBE-L distribution list, stating 11 reasons why you don’t want to be subscribed any longer. UNSUBSCRIBE-L has 22.441 recipients, so this is your time to shine.

3: Send a well-engineered application letter for Autumn Agora 2020 to the members of the Comité Directeur to show your loyalty to our glorious leaders.
~ or~
3: Apply for the Secretary General-role within the Comité Directeur and commit to furfill the role for at least 6 months and 23 days to show your loyalty to our glorious leaders.

As soon as you have performed these tasks, we will kindly remove your e-mail address from the AGORA-L mailinglist within a timeframe of three months.

In case you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us through the UNSUBSCRIBE-L mailing list.

With kind regards,
The members of the Mailing List Committee

Anna sat down for a while and cried a little. Luckily, she recovered fast, and almost immediately her investigative senses kicked in and she quickly contacted the JC.

The JC confirms this way of working fits within the rules of the CIA and it is according to Belgian law and the GDPR: “It is a bit of a stretch, but it does specifically state that in order to comply with a request to unsubscribe from a mailing list or to remove one’s personal data, you are allowed to ask the recipient to perform one or more steps to verify their identity. The members of the Comité Directeur and the IT Committee have chosen to do this because they want AEGEE members to be really really really sure before they quit on of our most amazing mailing lists.”

This was a week ago. Today she finished her tasks, and just got the confirmation that within three months and 23 days after Autumn Agora Bielefeld 2020, she will be an unsubscribed member from AGORA-L and, as she just found out, unsubscribed members are automatically subscribed to the UNSUBSCRIBED-L alumni mailing list after unsubscribing from the unsubscribable AGORA-L subscribers list.

Anna then cried a little more.

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About the author

Anna Pamplona is the founder and Chief-in-Editor of the Silver Times, and has written many investigative articles. She received the Golden Silver Times-award for her article about unraveling the real location of the CD house in Bielefeld.

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