Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(June 1998)

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Subject: Re: Finding a Listowner
From: "Linda B. Merims" <lbm @ ici . net>
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 08:00:51 -0400 (EDT)
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com

Andy Finkenstadt <andyf @
 simutronics .
 com> said:

>How do we account for sf-lovers-request being the one of the first (if
>THE first) mailing list to use -request as the place to send subscription
>requests?  I remember joining that list long before 1993, perhaps as
>as 1988 or 1985.  The -request address has been known to be where you
>to something that helps you, be it animal vegetable or mineral, for at
>that long.
>As early as 1990 I personally had software running (with human backup) on
>a -request address on a UUCP equipped link with a small little
>Unix (version 2.0.2!) for a small private mailing list of GEnie

sf-lovers dates from at least the mid 1970's, if not older.  I
remember reading it when it was nothing but an e-mail message
with a very long Cc: line.  Joining the list involved pleading
with people to remember to add you to the Cc: line so that
whenever anybody continued the conversation you were included.
I think sf-lovers has a good chance of being the oldest
non-internal-ARPANET-issues discussion group on the net.

I don't remember when in the 70's the specific "sf-lovers" alias was
created and addressing switched over from "reply to all" because my
participation was very sporadic.  At that point, joining the list involved
sending e-mail to a particular *person* who would add you to the Unix mail
alias file at the volunteer host site by hand.  I also don't know when
actual "list server"  software was created to augment the simple Unix mail
system mechanism.  I do remember when the first sf-lovers-digest was
created.  It was created when the first Star Trek movie came out in 1979
and the volume of discussion swamped the machine at MIT that was routing
the traffic.  I know that sf-lovers is archived going back that far
somewhere and you can actually read all the discussions that occurred at
the time. 

As to the origin of -request, if anybody knows where Mike Urban or
Lauren Weinstein are these days, they probably know.

Also, if I am not mistaken, "listserv" was actually the mailing
list/discussion group program that ran on IBM systems on the old BITNET
network.  (BITNET was an network of university computer centers for
universities who were not on ARPANET.  Again, I may be mistaken but
I believe it was run and supported by IBM.)  As such it would likely
have a different line of descent from whatever software it was that
supported sf-lovers, which was an ARPANET list.

Linda B. Merims
lbm @
 ici .
 net (formerly lbm @
Massachusetts, USA

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