minstrel: Re: PBS E-chain (no more chains!)

Joshua Kronengold mneme at dorsai.org
Tue Jun 24 09:18:42 PDT 1997

Apologies to replying to all, but when I send out chain-blockers, I
like to make sure they hit all intended parties...

Corrie Bergeron writes:
>Apologies to any who feel this is an inappropriate post; I thought that the
>readers of this list would be interested.  It came to me from a professional
>colleague, so I think it's on the up-and-up.
Unfortunately, professionalism does not exclude cluelesness...see

				No Chains!
	This is being sent out in order to attempt to curb yet another
chain letter; it is being sent to you because you sent one to me, or
because you were on the recipient list of one I received, and
therefore might be tempted to send the thing on.
	There are many chains get sent out, and many of them are ones
which should obviously not be sent on (they tend to be the ones which
don't go that far, or of the MMF type).	 However, there occasionally
is one which really does deserve to be forwarded to every single
person on the net (Clue: the chain this message is in response to
wasn't one of these).  
	Unfortunately, there are also a large number which fall
between these types, and it is difficult for the inexperienced to
determine the second type from the third, so here are some helpful
hints on same: 

A good chain letter will:
	Have a time-critical message that needs to go out to most
of the internet, like, say, a call for help against Mattel Math-Hating
Barbie, or for petitions against the CDA.
	Have an expiration date which says when it is no longer
relevant.  Otherwise, an otherwise "for a good cause" chain will go
around, and around, and around...  -- the Craig Shergold letter has
been making the rounds of the net since 1988, and is still going
	Have a non-wasteful method of getting feedback.  This may
include mailing the initial sender, or phoning or http'ing to an
appropriate counter.

A good chain letter will not:
	Ask for replies so they can count it for a study (their mail
server will die, or it will be a prank and the target's mail server
will die), or ask for postcards for someone's birthday or even a dying
	Be good intentioned but neither time-critical nor have an
expiration date (though either missing is grounds not to forward it).
	Ask you to leave the headers intact, or add your name to the
end, or any such things - this will cause massive net bloat as the
last one million senders each send a 10 messages out which are over a
megabyte (that's 10 trillion bytes, people.  And if everyone is doing
what the message says, that's about how much mail the original sender
will get, rather than the 1k per person (closer to a megabyte) they'd
get if each person just sent them a much shorter message.  Not to
mention the much higher traffic that's generated across the net at
	Be about a cookie recipe, an email virus (the email is the
virus, now get over it), or any such "cute" thing.
(The text between "No chains!" and here is copyright 1996 and 1997
Joshua Kronengold(dorsai.dorsai.org); please feel free to forward it
around when appropriate, or rewrite it (but mention that it's been
changed since my original text, and I reserve the right to say you
can't distribute a version that is fundimentally different but still
derivative), as long as you send me a version and get my approval, but
regardless, keep my name on it.)

mneme at dorsai.org	Joshua Kronengold		|\      _,,,--,,_  ,)
---^----"Unix is easy.  Just like a cross between	/,`.-'`'   -,  ;-;;' 
  /\\ 	 English and Welsh.  Except that you have to   |,4-  ) )-,_ ) /\ 
-/-\\\--	take out all the vowels"  -- Me	      '---''(_/--' (_/-'

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