Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 2002)

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Subject: Re: The role of the mailing list
From: Nick Simicich <njs @ scifi . squawk . com>
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002 14:12:42 -0400
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <3D2FA0A7 . 6000709 @ queernet . org>
References: <207544937 . 1026506408 @ [192 . 168 . 254 . 89]> <5 . 1 . 0 . 14 . 2 . 20020712222941 . 2806bff8 @ 127 . 0 . 0 . 1>

At 08:38 PM 2002-07-12 -0700, Roger B.A. Klorese wrote:
Nick Simicich wrote:
The problem is that at least some MLM writers are acting as if there were only one possible digest format --- and to some extent, I think that they should have called a "collection of mime message/rfc822 messages" a "collection" rather than a digest. I suspect that most people think of an RFC1153 format digest when they think of a digest, and they think of something else when they get a mime format digest.

Funny -- I think most people think of an EDITED-DOWN collection when they think "digest" -- you know, that it's ben pre-digested for them. (Think digest -- think "Reader's Digest.")

I don't know of anyone who actually uses mailing lists who thinks this way.

Most people who are not mailing-list savvy ask why it is they're receiving all of those messages if they subscribe to a digest, and why it doesn't sem edited and selected for them.

It's a bad use of an English word for an almost-contradictory geekish meaning.

You know, many, if not most words have more than one meaning. How many meanings does "transmission" have? Most people who know English understand this. Perhaps this needs to be one of Chuq's 25 questions.

I looked up digest in a very abridged dictionary I happen to have on my computer, and it has four meanings. three verb meanings: (1) the food meaning (2) the mental absorption meaning (3) "To organize into a systematic arrangement" and the noun meaning: "A collection of written material in condensed form". I suppose that it could be argued that the material is condensed in the 1153 format --- all of those extra headers and footers are removed, and in some cases, attachments and other forms that go with the individual messages are removed. At one point I was producing a digest of rec.scuba that attempted to assemble and sort threads, holding postings until the threads were complete.

This is perhaps another argument as to why the mime format is a collection (and I agree that this argument is lost) but perhaps it is a misunderstanding of the word form - it is fair to say that by organizing the messages into an arrangement, the MLM is digesting, but it is not fair to say that it produces a "digest",

Unless....there is one noun meaning of digest, which is, "The end product of digestion." Now, in this case, it is clear that the digestion that is referred to is the one that happens when you eat. And we all know what that results in. And that could well be the "digest" that the mime digest type refers to.

By the way, I will send a separate copy of this in large red helvitica (actually arial) to Chuq. I had been making a point to edit everyone's name out of the headers *but* his since he mentioned that he likes to get an extra copy. But if that is what it takes to get him to edit me out of replies, then that is what I will do.

"Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature!"
 -- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Nick Simicich - njs @
scifi .
squawk .

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