Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(January 1996)

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Subject: Re: How was "-request" coined?
From: dattier @ wwa . com (David W. Tamkin)
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 15:09:34 -0600 (CST)
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com

Miles O'Neal wrote,

O> The early net was primarily composed of literate, thoughtful people.
O> Or at least geeks.  The -request concept was of, by and for such people.
O> These people usually at least glanced at the instructions, or go the
O> whole rundown from a net-savvy friend.

Precisely; in 1988, when I first learned about mailing lists, I qualified as
thoughtful (I won't lay claim to "literate") and I did read the instructions.
And "-request" struck me at the time as just as good as anything else ... if
not intuitively obvious, still sensible enough after one learned of it and
easy enough to get used to.

O> So what was obvious then is counter-intuitive for many netters today.

And therein lies the problem: people who are relying on intuition instead of
taking the trouble to get the full scoop.  They do whatever they guess sounds
right (or take someone else's authoritatively proclaimed guess as gospel) and
forge ahead.  The result of this trial-and-error method is that their errors
become our trials.

Greg Woods wrote,

W> As for why "-request" was chosen instead of some other suffix that
W> might now be less confusing: I challenge you to come up with anything
W> that won't be confusing to SOMEONE.

Indeed; as I have said before -- and even illustrated when I said that if I'd
used "corolla-changes" instead of "corolla-request" non-members would write
to that address asking for option upgrades -- any choice would have had its

W> I also doubt that [Roger Duffey] really intended to set a standard when
W> he did that; he was just trying to solve an immediate problem with one
W> particular list.

But the pebble started rolling down the snowy slope, and the rest is history.

jgreshes @
 netaxs .
 com (who didn't give a surname but I'll use "G>" to cite him)
 wrote, immediately after quoting my "corolla-changes" scenario,

G> No matter what you change the aliases to, there will still be enough
G> stupid people to annoy you. ...  We can spend all the time in world
G> debating whether to use this word or that word, but you are never going to
G> make your lists or aliases idiot proof.

Right: that is exactly the point I was making Monday.  Jason is rephrasing
something I already said.

Finally, Alyson Abramowitz recommended strongly that I not change my list's
aliases to those I was considering.  I'd had similar thoughts myself: if I
do change them I won't disable the traditional addresses, because doing that
would confuse not only the clueless newbie types but also the net.veterans
who know about every mailing list except mine.  listname-request @
 site and
listname @
 site would have to continue working if only to return a short list
of the addresses to use instead, because the convention is well established.

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