Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 1995)

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Subject: re: Architext
From: merchant @ anuxv . att . com (s.merchant)
Date: 7 Aug 1995 13:55 EDT
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <199508071630 . JAA20198 @ miles . greatcircle . com>
Original-to: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM

I said:

|   1. They had a single address for *everything* !!?!! [...] Perhaps
|      their fuzzy logic fractal-based software straightens it all
|      out, but on the surface it certainly looked like it was being
|      run by amateurs!

to which Kjetil Torgrim Homme <kjetilho @
 ifi .
 uio .
 no> says:

>Sorting by the To/Cc headers isn't exactly rocket science. Of course,
>some terribly broken lists use the individual recipient's address in

and Graham Spencer <graham @
 atext .
 com> adds:

>Yes, I agree that this looked unprofessional. We should have specified
>a separate address for the human in charge of the project. However, as
>Kjetil Torgrim Homme <kjetilho @
 ifi .
 uio .
 no> suggested in a later
>message, we do have software set up to sort email by sender. List
>content is diverted to individual archives, and non-list content is

Sorry, still not good enough!  For one thing, Graham Spencer of
Architext says this is handled by "sorting mail by sender."  Clearly
this doesn't work if he means the "From:" field.  Perhaps he means the
"Sender:" field in which case at least some of the popular MLMs put
in a Sender: field that uniquely incorporates the list name.  But is
this guaranteed?  What if there is no Sender: field?  What if I send
them personal e-mail with my own address in the Sender: field?  Does
their mail filter assume I am a list AND START ARCHIVING MY MESSAGES TO
THEM FOR THE WORLD TO SEE?  Or should one assume from Architext's casual
invitation to "drop us a line to tell us that you have [added their
address to your list]" to mean that they only start archiving once (and
if) they get this message from the list owner?  Or is all mail by
default sent to a person and once that person establishes the actual
"Sender:" field for a list, then that address is diverted to an archive?

Or perhaps they really are using the "To/Cc:" fields as Kjetil Torgrim
Homme <kjetilho @
 ifi .
 uio .
 no> assumes.  Many of the same issues still
apply!  Suppose I send a message to list-managers with Cc: list @
 atext .
 com .
Do they automatically start archiving it under a "list-managers" list
archive, creating one for that purpose?  Or does their filter
exclude any message from being archived that has list @
 atext .
 com anywhere
in a To: or Cc: field?  And what if I put it in a "Bcc:" field?
What if I put Cc: kjetilho @
 ifi .
 uio .
 no?  Would it think that that's a
list and create a *public* archive under that name for what is really
personal mail from me to the Architext administrator and him?  Would it
make a difference which address were in the "To:" field and which in the

Yes, it's trivial to write a mail filter to handle all these cases and
then some.  But it's not trivial to anticipate all these cases, and it's
even less trivial to convey to those like me (who waste my time wondering
about special cases) some confidence that *they've* thought about all
the special cases.  And the casual way in which list owners were asked
to add list @
 atext .
 com to their lists hardly gave much reassurance that
all these things were considered!

(And all this just to wonder why they didn't respond to my e-mail!)

I'm actually supportive of their efforts, as I indicated in my earlier
e-mail, and I've tried to make my criticism constructive.  But, I say to
Architext, "Go back and think about every concern that anyone has raised
in this discussion and *address it*.  I'm no expert on copyrights, for
instance, but people bring up potential copyright problems associated
with Architext's "reselling" this information and this 'scares' me
(justifiably or not is irrelevant).  So have *your* lawyers study the
copyright issue, write up a statement that addresses every actual or
potential concern you can think of that a list owner may have, and
include this in your FAQ to list owners whose cooperation you're
seeking."  [Better late than never--I'm glad to see per Graham Spencer's
e-mails that Architext has made a start at doing this sort of thing, and
so I'll give them a week or two and check out their Web "answers"


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