Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(January 1996)

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Subject: Re: How was "-request" coined?
From: ala @ LunaCity . com (alyson l abramowitz)
Date: Mon, 08 Jan 96 09:45:52 PST
To: dattier @ wwa . com (David W. Tamkin)
Cc: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <m0tZIub-000Y4YC @ miso . wwa . com>


I hope you don't go through with the change you are proposing
for a number of reasons.  First,  by not following convention
you make it harder for your subscribers.  Second,  unless you
only handle subscriptions (not special requests,  archive requests,
mailing problems,  etc),  the names you propose become confusing
in a different manner.  

Tho I'm reluctant to try to read Roger's mind of more than 15 years
ago,  the -request address always had functions beyond adds/deletes.
So maybe that is why he picked the word:  what every message had
in common was a request.

My suspicion is that the list @
 site convention came from the already
in usage requirement of his software.  Roger simply set the list @
address to a file.

And,  just to mop up a few other related comments from others,  the
archives for SFL were rarely munged despite the fact that it would
have been easy to do so (all you needed to do was to edit the file
and save it with some modification:  MIT-AI had NO file protection).

We also had lots of people coming on to the ARPAnet in the early days
that didn't have a clue.  Some were even fairly computer 
illiterate (e.g.,  admins).  The numbers were smaller.  When they
goofed we took them aside and politely read them the riot act.  The
large lists were some of the most obvious places where they appeared.
Remember,  ALL the initial large lists were technically not supposed
to exist (the net was for DOD/work traffic only).  They were ignored
by the Powers That Be only if certain rules (like non-commercialism)
happened.  A remember spending quite a bit of time explaining that
to our readers (all behind the scenes).

dattier @
 wwa .
 com (David W. Tamkin) writes:

> Thanks to Alyson Abramowitz and Brent Chapman for their glimpses into the
> origins of the "-request" suffix.
> But Miles O'Neal gave me this pat (as in what he did to his own back) answer:
> | Please add me top the list.
> | Please remove me from the list.
> |
> | Sounds like requests to me...
> Miles, you missed the point.  Try reasoning forward (from the viewpoint of
> someone who isn't already familiar with the suffix "-request" and is trying
> to come up with a convention) instead of backward (from the perspective of
> somebody justifying a choice already made).
> Yes, a case can be made for "-request," but lots of other choices would have
> been logical at that point as well, and they would not have had the same
> problems today (they might have had different ones that -request doesn't
> have).  I wanted to know why, out of all the ideas possible, "-request" got
> chosen.  Why not "-changes" or "-membership"?  If either of those had become
> the standard, and someone asked today how they came about, anyone could say
> what Miles O'Neal did: "add me, remove me -- those sound like changes to me"
> or "add me, remove me -- those sound like mail about list membership to me."
> And it still wouldn't answer the question.
> Then again, if I had used corolla-changes instead of corolla-request, people
> would write in thinking I would take their cars in trade, replace their
> parts, or upgrade their options.
> With the advantange of hindsight from 1996, I am seriously considering
> changing the aliases for the list I still run to something grossly obvious
> like listname-submissions and listname-subscriptions.  That won't help for
> replies, since virtually nobody pays attention to whether his or her MUA
> picked out the right reply address, but it will for original mailings. 
> listname @
 site and listname-request @
 site will still have to be active (if only
> to return autoreplies that this list breaks convention) because people will
> assume they exist.
> David W. Tamkin    dattier @
 wwa .
 com    MCI Mail: 426-1818


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