com (alyson l abramowitz) writes:
> Long, long, ago; Far, far away, in the days of the ARPAnet....
> David asks if anyone remembers how and when the names listname @
> and listname-request @
site were created. As an oldster on the list
> of an ancient 30something in age, I remember this.
> I believe both terms were created by Roger Duffey. Roger was
> an MIT graduate student who tried to keep a science fiction interest
> list from overrunning the DEC-10 machine he was using for research.
> I have the printouts I could look up the year in. 1979/80 sounds
> about right. I'm not off by more than a year.
> Back in those days, that particular DEC-10 (MIT-AI) and its
> sister MIT machines had some interesting mailing software on it
> which allowed someone to send to a distribution list name and have
> it exploded to all of its members (something few other pieces of
> mailing software supported gracefully).
> The list in question threatened to overwhelm MIT-AI. So Roger
> bundled up a days worth of messages into a digest. So the
> SF-Lover's Digest (and digest lists, in general) were born.
> I believe Roger created the -Request versus the mailing list
> convention shortly after he started inventing the Digest. The
> original packagings were very primitive and developed over
> a (relatively short) period of time to have a complex indexing
> system (which only 15 years later we are in a position to take
> advantage of now).
> Having a -Request mailbox made it possible to automate much of
> the process of physically making a digest once messages were
> selected and ordered (tho I don't think Roger actually did
> this; others of us did; he was on a funky OS so we couldn't
> share software easily). The two streams also allowed for the
> potential automation of add/deletes that LISTSERV eventually
> Although I ran one of the major redistributions of that list,
> I never thought to ask Roger why he picked -Request as the
> name for administrative requests. He had had a lot of background
> in moderating groups. He always contented that he used much of
> the same techniques on the digest lists. I don't know. Perhaps
> it was just as simple as thinking that people were asking for a
> request to be added or removed.
> I find it interesting that people were asking you for parts and
> other such questions. When I did my stints as moderator (many
> years ago) those kinds of requests never occured. Maybe its
> just that the world and the Internet has changed.
> I know one thing I did when I was handling redistribution and
> moderating was to educate my list members about how to communicate
> and what was acceptable net behavior. Every one of the early
> digest lists came with a welcome letter explaining this kind of
> stuff (a concept Roger created for the Internet). And when someone
> didn't behave appropriately, I would send them a polite message
> in my moderator/redistributor role explaining why their behavior
> was in violation of net behavior/rules (and sometimes rejecting
> a contribution or suggesting revision).
> Well, David, you've got me feeling all nostalgic now. Maybe I'll
> get energetic and go reread those old printouts I've lugged from
> house to house for years (I still have a copy of the original lists
> in TOPS-20 tape format, too!).