Eric Kjeldergaard kjelderg at gmail.com
Mon Feb 7 08:30:26 PST 2005

> EK> Let us make an analogue betwixt our Valerie and one who submits to the
> EK> local newspaper.  There is a roughly equal level of consent given in
> EK> both cases ...
> Not so, on two points: (1) the newspaper is obviously available to
> anyone (it's on the newsstands), and not only to a selected group, and

Not always so, I know of many newspapers that go to subscribers only
(which local libraries are often among).  This is especially true of
places without newstands.

> (2) the messages to the newspaper appear in print and are thus much less
> ephemeral than e-mail messages.  

I think there may be a fundamental misunderstanding of media going on
here.  Newspapers are printed on newspaper which gives them a very
short lifespan.  More importantly, e-mail by its nature is delivered
to mail servers which almost without exception store the mail to a
persistent data store (often an hard disk).  In this way, mail is
archived (sometimes nearly permanently) and is not ephemeral at all. 
I have mail myself that dates back some 5 years, as long as I've been
a computer user.

> A person sending a letter to a
> newspaper knows that everyone may see it, because he saw the newspaper
> on the newsstands--that's how newspapers are.  He also knows that his
> letter may be archived, because newspapers are on paper and are often
> kept in morgues indefinitely.

Though this simply isn't how all newspapers are, one posting to a
public (meaning without exception anyone wishing to may subscribe to
it) mailing list knows that the submission may be archived (for
instance because the sign-up page references that all posts are
archived).  The person also knows that anyone (not everyone in this
case because that would be spam) may see it because anyone may have
requested the mailing list mail.  Further, there is no way for the
person submitting the message to know who or how many people will see
it nor for how long they will keep it.

[Snip for lack of current relevance]

> Many periodicals impose conditions on anyone writing letters to the
> editor, which they clearly state in the same place where they give
> instructions on how to send letters to the editor.

Many also do not.  The common theme is only that they give a method
for submission (as mailing lists do).

Envisioning the paper I was thinking of (I'm from a small town), it
suits your model much better in that it is only given to subscribers
and does not go into detail on special requirements for submissions,
it simply says that "If you would like to submit, please send to " and
the address.  You city folk complicate things.  In this sort of
instance, it still seems unlikely that a submitter could request that
their submission be removed from existence, especially the libraries

If I write a signature, my emails will appear more personalised.

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list