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Sinclair Discussion List mechanics
There seems to be some confusion about the Sinclair Discussion List
and how it works. Here are some comments about some recent issues.
After the reposting loop of last holiday season, which happened
during the few days when I happened to be offline, I asked two
people to assist me in keeping the list running. You all know
them; they are:
Margaret Stokes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gary M. Sinclair <email@example.com>
Yes, Gary is the same Gary M. Sinclair who runs the Sinclair Genealogy
list, for which see
I've supported what Gary is doing with that list since he started it,
and I note with pleasure that traffic on it seems to be picking up lately.
But this message is about the Sinclair Discussion List; see
Back to the discussion.
Why these people in particular? Because they have demonstrated
interest in the list and practical knowledge about electronic mail.
Plus the most important qualification: a willingness to help.
Their job is to watch for serious problems and either alert me
about them or to deal with them directly. I thank them for it.
We are your volunteer cousins. I do what I can as quickly as I can get
to it. Often, I am assisted by other volunteers such as Privateers. I
encourage everyone else who sees problems also to tell me about them
directly by sending mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. That alias
distributes such mail to me and Margaret and Gary, so whichever of us
is available can deal with it.
I would like to remind everyone about something that is stated in the
The list maintainer is John Sinclair Quarterman (jsq). Please
note, once again, that what gets discussed in the list is
determined by the members of the list. I am not a moderator;
I do not decide what gets posted or not. I merely set up and
maintain the mechanics of the list. The content of the list is
up to you, the subscribers.
I do not pick and choose what appears on the Sinclair Discussion List,
nor does anyone else. I don't even see any message posted to the list
before it appears on the list, nor does anyone else other than the person
who sent it or perhaps people explicitly copied by the person who sent it.
The only exceptions are messages that bounce for some technical reason
that then requires one of us to step in and handle it.
Such technical reasons tend to be of four main types:
Type 1) Postings by people who are not on the list.
This software check is required to keep spam off the list.
However, if the posting is not spam (and it's easy to tell),
I advise the poster that they need to subscribe first, by using
Type 2) Administrivia, such as requests to get on or off the list sent
to the list. Whenever the software bounces something, it sends it to
so that someone can do something about it. What I usually do is to
send a note to the original poster saying that they need to use
the web page:
Since the list softare is just software, and no smarter than most
software, it sometimes bounces things when it shouldn't. What I do in
such a case is I repost the message in such a way as to make the
software pass it through to the list.
Type 3) Attachments, such as Niven's Word document.
The most common examples are pictures sent to the list.
I added this software alarm in response to popular request
after the virus incident of a couple months ago.
Folks, please don't send attachments to the list.
a) Many people can't read them.
b) Many people don't want to read them.
c) They set off the aforementioned alarms, causing a delay until I have
time to deal with them. These days, that could take days.
Many lists ban attachments outright and simply bounce such mail.
For the moment, I am still dealing with a few now and then manually,
such as pictures and Niven's document.
But if you want to post pictures for people to see, please put them
in your own or someone's web pages or mail them just to me and ask
me to put them in the general Sinclair web pages.
Type 4) Sheer length. Another anti-virus software check detects this.
Long messages are usually caused by quoting huge chunks of previous
messages. Context is good, but it's usually not necessary to include
everything the last three posters said on a subject. Remember, you can
see everything that has been posted to the list recently in
Thank you for your attention and your patience. Remember, this is your
list. The content of the list is determined by you who post to it.
We now return you to the non-literal littoral of erudition.
John S. Quarterman <email@example.com>
PS: Soon I will be revising the introduction to the list,
Please send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org,
or post them to the list itself if you think they need discussion.
[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, email@example.com
[ To get off or on the list, see http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html