Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(June 1998)

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Subject: Re: Finding A Listowner
From: Mike Nolan <nolan @ celery . tssi . com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 09:59:52 -0500 (CDT)
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . com (List Managers)
Reply-to: nolan @ tssi . com

Chuq Von Rospach wrote:
> Sorry, Rich. Right now, you sound a lot more arrogant than the Lsoft
> folks. An RFC designed without the knowledge or feedback of the key
> players that the RFC is designed to cover isn't worth the paper it's
> not written on.

I guess I'm unclear on several things here.  Is this new RFC final or
is it still in the 'draft' stage?  Is the key portion cited here really
that unclear, or is it just that some of us list managers don't know what 
it means or don't want to accept that meaning?  When Chuq says it wasn't 
designed without feedback from the key players, what key players does he 
have in mind here?  (It seems like the key players are the folks who 
write/maintain things like Listserv and majordomo, not those of us who just 
RUN mailing lists.  That's like asking plumbers to help design toilets.)

Like some others on this list, I'm a software developer myself.  If I knew
of a group that developed standards likely to affect products I develop, 
I'd sure try to take time to find out what they're talking about.  In my 
case this applies to things like the FASB, HUD, and the IRS, as well as 
the folks who determine the SQL standard and the X.12 EDI standard.  (And 
I'm ON several industry subcommittees for the last of these.)

Anyone writing e-mail or list software who doesn't know what the IETF is
and what it does is incredibly naive.  I was aware that IETF was working
on an RFC dealing with mailing lists, and I don't even write that kind of
software.  (And if memory serves me right, it has been discussed on this
list before, too.) 
> An RFC is an RFC, but not all RFCs are created equal.

And not all RFC's are clearly or elegantly written, either.  Having waded 
through RFC 822 and subsequent ones dealing with e-mail a couple of times, 
there's a lot of turgid prose in there, and I've seen more than a few 
discussions on this list as to just what some of THOSE long-standing 
standards mean, too.

If this new RFC is flawed, I think we need to work WITHIN the system
to get it repaired, especially if it isn't finalized yet.  But if the 
problem is one of PHILOSOPHY versus unimplementable mechanics, then at 
some point we will have to conform to the new standard, whether we like 
it or not.  (And whether -REQUEST should/must be a human address or a 
mechanized one is a philosophical distinction, isn't it?)

Lastly, how many complaints have we seen about Microsoft or AOL or
[insert favorite target here] not conforming to this or that well-established 
RFC standard?  It strikes me as a bit high and mighty for some of us to
claim that we're not going to play ball just because we weren't invited
to help write the rules.  
Mike Nolan

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From: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>
Next: Re: integrated delivery system [was: Finding A Listowner]
From: Mitch Collinsworth <mkc @ Graphics . Cornell . EDU>
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From: "Ronald F. Guilmette" <rfg @ monkeys . com>
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From: Jason L Tibbitts III <tibbs @ hpc . uh . edu>

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