Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(September 1998)

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Subject: Re: 1. Digests RFC? 2. Truncated Digests Mystery
From: TT <TH0M @ usa . net>
Date: Wed, 02 Sep 1998 21:56:41 -0700
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM

Thanks to Jeff for the RFC for digests:

David W. Tamkin quoted & wrote:
> | 2. Any idea why a plain ascii text message with no signature,
> |    no lines of hyphens or any other character, would truncate
> |    our list digests, on some subscribers' email systems?

Actually, one other person, one time, triggered truncation.
His message did end in two rows of asterisks, which were visible 
in single and digest, and after which nothing at all appeared... 
no footers on the single, no subsequeqent message or footers in 
the digest. That one did not puzzle me. I tho't the lines of 
asterisks constituted the problem.

> |    The majority of subscribers receive "whole" digests, even with
> |    her message.

On closer inspection, in her messages as received in AOL email,
footers didn't disappear completely, but were affected and oddly
corrupted. Sample below.

> |    ...Those of us whose digests are truncated use
> |    different email clients (Eudora Pro, Netscape Navigator 3.04)
> |    on different ISPs (AT&T,,
> |    The digest truncation occurred following her posts on two lists
> |    using different list automation software, on different providers.

Namely, Majordomo on Sparknet and bestserv (a "C"-written
imitation of many Majordomo features, but not much like Major-
domo, written by a tech) on

> Tommi, have you ever seen the rest of an issue after her post?  You see,
> I cannot tell whether the sample you attached includes the part that is
> normally truncated or not.

I saw some of them, when I was receiving a second copy of the 
digest on AOL, where subsequent text was affected but didn't
completely disappear. I didn't think to keep those. I do have
a sample (included below) which I mailed to myself when I left
AOL. It began life as a single, yet its footers are affected
and the end of the post which followed hers (in the digest, 
and as the next single message to go out) is mooshed in with 
her footers. Very odd.

When asked, she said that her original message had nothing 
under her first-name-only signoff, "Carol"

At my request, she sent me her originals a couple of times.
Nothing was visible at the end of her message. No period, no
line of any kind. Nothing. But I was having her mail it to my 
email account, running my Netscape Navigator 3.04 which had 
demonstrated that it was affected by her messages as received 
from the list. So... not such a good test, maybe, huh.

When I copy/pasted her text into Notepad (text editor in Win3.11)
then into a new email message from my NetscapeMail, and posted
it to the list, it did not affect the digest. 

> | Typical message below, in case that helps...
> |         From: C Anonymous <canonymous @
 netcom .
> |     Received: from canonymous ( [])
> |               by (8.8.5/NETCOM) id RAA05482;
> |               Thu, 26 Aug 1998 17:45:42 -0500 (EST)
> |   Message-ID: <1 .
 5 .
 4 .
 32 .
 19980826225053 .
 00672158 @
 popd .
 netcom .
> |     X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Light Version 1.5.4 (32)
> |      Subject: sponsorship list
> |     X-Sender: canonymous @
 popd .
 netcom .
> |         Date: Tue, 6 Jan 98 22:50:53 +0000
> | Mime-Version: 1.0
> | Content-Type: Text/Plain; charset="us-ascii"
> | X-Mozilla-Status: 0001
> |   Content-Length: 1503
> Well, we're already in trouble, because that's the format Tommi's mailer
> shows, already altered from mbox format ... no From_ for example (and maybe
> there shouldn't be), and look at those indentations.

Oh, sorry, I did the indentations, formatting for readability,
while scrupulously retaining the content. Not a good science 
habit. An old editor's habit.

Here's her same message, as I received it as a single on AOL.
The partial row of equal signs under her signature is a list
footer, but a corrupted one, with several lines missing from
above that row of equal signs, which itself does not extend
all the way across its original length. The second set of
footers(!) looks nearly as it should, except that it's included 
in her single message although it's from the single posting of
the next poster! The only corruption in that 2nd 3-part footer
is the leading *two* periods on a blank line, when only one
period had been inserted there, in my config file.

Subj:    [CAFG] STEP 10
Date:   97-10-10 21:43:37 EDT
From:   canonymous @
 netcom .
Sender: cafg-errors @
 lists .
 best .
To:     cafg @
 lists .
 best .

..                                                       .
-                        CAFG                           -

Hi Everyone,

I look at Step 10 as a way to continue to grow and take responsiblity...
<snip straight text, us-ascii>
...the screwdriver is.  What can I say I'm a work in progress.

Love & Hugs,

..                 cafg-REQUEST: INFO                    .
* For INFO, e-mail to: cafg-REQUEST @
 lists .
 best .
* Leave the Subject line blank, or type a period.
* The body of the message contains exactly one word:
..                                                       .



..             Topic 10/05 - 10/11: STEP 10              .

In single message, hitting "Reply" sends your response to
the author of the original message. To write to all 600
members, type in your "To:" line: CAFG @
 lists .
 best .
..                 cafg-REQUEST: INFO                    .
* For INFO, e-mail to: cafg-REQUEST @
 lists .
 best .
* Leave the Subject line blank, or type a period.
* The body of the message contains exactly one word:
..                                                       .

                <<<<  end quote  >>>>

Melissa's was the post after Carol's. I've never seen
single messages contaminated, mooshed together this way. 

The 3-section footer you see after Melissa's signature, is 
exactly as designed. As you can see, the same footer before
Melissa's sig, is not missing, but altered. part of the
line of equal signs is present, but it ends halfway thru.

This kind of corruption of the footers, rather than their
complete elimination, is what consistently happened in AOL
with Carol's messages. This seems more complex than if the
footers are missing completely, now that I think of it.

Note, no row of asterisks or hyphens is visible. Even when
one fellow's rows of asterisks prematurely ended a digest, 
the asterisks themselves were visible. Same is true of all 
the 30-hyphen and row-of-asterisk markers in digests.
In plain ascii text digests, anyway, they are visible.

> I wonder if Carol puts a lone period under her name in her .signature,
> ...Or maybe she uses a row of asterisks...

She said not, and no period or asterisk-row ever was visible.

> ...can you send the REST (or at least the next few lines), the part 
> that is cut off after Carol's posts?  That would tell us more.

The above single with corrupted footers is the best I have.
> Based on what I know so far, my best suggestion is for the list administrator
> to put in a special routine for Carol's posts to indent their bodies one
> column.  I'd have to guess that a single space between the left margin and
> whatever is poisonous in her posts would be the appropriate antivenin.

Oooo, interesting idea. I'm not sophisticated enough to make that
happen automatically, nor is the bestserv list automation software.
She didn't like being "moderated," so she left. She was a pretty
good contributor, so if I found an automatic way to handle it, I 
might entice her back, but my posting her messages was my solution 
and she didn't like it at all. Affected her sense of spontaneity and

Whatever is "poison" in her messages is unique in my list
experience, and does not seem to be a visible character. Can an
EOF marker be invisible? And can it cause corruption of footers
in some cases rather than simply eliminating them outright?

Thanks for all the brainstorming.

Tommi Thompson
mailto:TH0M @
 usa .

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