View Full Version : Debate on SET BIOMCH-L (NO)CONCEAL

Herman J. Woltring
11-15-1989, 06:23 AM
Dear Biomch-l readers,

Following the discussion last year and early this year on access to the
subscribers' names and email addresses, I think that the appended discussion
might be of interest -- even beyond the BIOMCH-L readership !

Herman J. Woltring


From: TUERC5::ELERCAMA 10-NOV-1989 18:12 WET
To: JNET%"concealed@somewhere"
Subj: Welcome on Biomch-l!

Dear ,

Welcome on BIOMCH-L - I hope that our conversation in (...) has been helpful
to you.

Incidentally, I see (but only because I'm the list moderator) that you have used
the SET BIOMCH-L CONCEAL option: you are the second one doing so. Of course,
once you submit something to the list (and I would hope that you might do so!),
anonymity would be lost -- like when publishing in a journal, instead of just
reading it.

Regards, and good luck in your work -- Herman J. Woltring.


Date: Mon, 13 Nov 89 18:30 EST
Subject: "Conceal"; Address list.
To: elercama@heitue5

Dear Herman,

The reason why I sent the "Conceal" message to LISTSERV is that at this
point I prefer to be cautious. I don't know if you have this problem in Hol-
land, but in the United States there is a horrible practice with the regular
postal system called "junk mail". Every day, my mailbox is full of garbage
from companies that want me to buy all kinds of things, from computer furniture
to baseballs, passing through concert tickets (not free!) and coffee cups.
This happens to everybody in the United States, not only to me. And this
happens also at my home address. My "real" mail is only a small fraction of
what I receive in my mailbox. At this point, my E-mail addres is [perfectly]
clean. I only receive useful things in it: "real" mail, and I have a fear
(paranoia?) that commercial companies are eventually going to get a hold of
the electronic address list in BIOMCH-L, and then my present "clean" E-Mail
account is going to turn into a "junk mail" deposit place!! Therefore, I
thought that it would be wiser, now at the beginning of my involvement with
BIOMCH-L, to stay more concealed. After I get a better feel for BIOMCH-L, I
may want to put my address un-concealed in the list. But at this time, I
think I would rather stay in a "concealed" form for a while. By the way, what
message would I have to send if and when I decide to become "un-concealed" ?

Even though at this time my own address is concealed, I would like to
get the general address list of the other members of BIOMCH-L, so that I can
establish one-on-one communication with some of them. I tried to obtain this
list a few days ago, but apparently it failed. I sent the command:


The answer was:


And that was the last thing that I received from Biomch-L, and I don't
know what it means -- I never received any "punch format" anything. Maybe
you can tell me what I did wrong!

Thanks for everything --


From: TUERC5::ELERCAMA 14-NOV-1989 12:08 WET
To: Jnet%"concealed@somewhere"
Subj: Concealment etc.

Dear ,

Thanks for your extensive reply. I should like to resent your letter onto
BIOMCH-L (leaving your name and email i.d. out of it, plus the reference to
(...); could let me know your feelings in this respect ?

There has been some discussion on junk email and improper commercial activities
in the past on BIOMCH-L, but to date, no problems have been communicated or
perceived by me in this respect. Please note that EARN/BITNET/NETNORTH are
academic networks that do NOT allow outright commercial activities; of course,
this does not exclude the possibility of commercial-academic collaboration.
Thus, a few producers of kinematic equipment monitor the list, and hopefully
will contribute to any pertinent discussions. In addition, they are accessible
in this way for pertinent customer queries on already purchased equipment.

If you are merely a passive observer, that is fine, but I would really prefer
active participation on the list which, as a matter of course, will entail
relinquishing anonymity, in the same fashion as you would not anonimously
publish in, e.g., the Journal of Biomechanics. By means of the SET BIOMCH-L
NOCONCEAL command, you can make your email address available to fellow-sub-
scribers who issue the REVIEW BIOMCH-L (COUNTRIES command. I feel that the
REVIEW=PRIVATE feature of BIOMCH-L (i.e., subscribers only can retrieve the
names and email addresses of all un-concealed subscribers) should be respected
by those who retrieve their addresses ...

The reason that you did not receive a PUNCH file must be local to your computer
system; since you are on a VAX-cluster under JNET, did you issue the RECEIVE
command at DCL level? The text below was obtained by issuing the command SEND
NETSERV@HEARN GET NODENTRY SOMEWHERE at DCL level. I would suggest that you get
in touch with one of the contact persons mentioned below if you cannot find
the requested file via RECEIVE. Alternatively, you might re-issue the request
with the text F=NETDATA appended to it; you should receive it then via RECEIVE.

Looking forward to a reaction as regards posting your anonymized letter onto

With kind regards -- Herman J. Woltring.


Date: Tue, 14 Nov 89 09:49 EST
Subject: Junk mail.
To: elercama@heitue5

Dear Herman,

I definitely want active participation in Biomch-L. But there are two
forms of participation (at least). One thing is for me to send a message;
a different thing is to be on a list that can be obtained by other members as
a "LIST". A company might miss my name and address if I just send a message
with my identification every now and then, but they won't miss me if I am on
a LIST!!

On the other hand, you have a very good point that BITNET etc. are not
commercial. I had not thought about that, and it is a great relief: Not
everyone can put their garbage out to everybody through BITNET. That is
good. I hope it stays that way. Last year the wife of the president of
our university sent a message on E-Mail to all faculty and staff, asking
them to contribute to United Way, a very worthy charitable cause, but still
technically "junk mail". This was the first time that E-Mail had been used
that way at our university, and I believe it may have been the last, since
I understand that she received extremely NEGATIVE feedback on her "great

In any case, your statements about the non-commercial nature of BITNET
make me realize that the dangers of junk mail on E-Mail are smaller than I
thought. For the time being, I will prefer to stay "concealed", but I may
decide to "un-conceal" in the near future. I wonder if you have heard the
joke: "Just because you are paranoid does not mean that they are NOT out to
get you."

Yes, I think it is OK for you to send out an anonymous version of our
discussion on junk mail.

I will investigate locally about why I did not receive the listing.
We have just migrated to the VAX from (another) machine, and I hardly know
anything about how the VAX works!

Thanks for everything --



The log-files for Biomch-L are publicly accessible, so even incidental
discussions (and their originators' identities) can be retrieved by interested
parties ... [HJW]