Q. How do I handle it when new or careless users waste our time by sending test messages or requests to be added to the list to the discussion group?
First, assume that they are new, not careless -- that they simply don't know any better. Then, politely and sympathetically inform them of their error by email. Don't post your correction to the group. Say something like, "You must not have realized that there is a newsgroup just for test messages. If you use it, you won't interrupt the readers of rec.tv.wonder-years" or "FYI, here's how to sign up for a mailing list. This way, only the system administrator gets your request -- not everyone on the list. Welcome to the group!" Be friendly about it.
As a rule, don't post this note to the discussion group -- that's usually a
prescription for a really stupid
flame war. If several people post inappropriate messages within a few days, it may be a sign that a fresh boatload of newbies has arrived in your area. In that case, go ahead and post
an explanation of proper posting behavior -- but again, say it nicely.