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COMMENT: Uses of SLUG ARPA and e-mail

It is quite timely to have a dialog on SLUG ARPA at just the time when
the National Users' Group is preparing to extend the e-mail facilities
of the Group as a whole. You will all shortly get a message on this
topic, announcing how Symbolics and the National Group will be joining
forces to create a robust DIALnet facility which will substantially
extend the scope and value of the e-mail facilities available to
Symbolics users.

I agree with Mabry Tyson's view that lots of dialog on many topics is
not a bad thing. The hope is that individuals can avoid scanning those
messages that are not of interest. More judicious use of the Subject
header would help this, and perhaps a set of classifications would also:
"BUG NOTED in topic-a", "BUG FIX for topic-a", "HELP NEEDED on topic-b",
"HELP PROVIDED on topic-b" or some such. Someday e-mail will be
"knowledge-based" for such screening and the cobbler's children will
have sensible shoes.

I don't agree that multiple e-mail lists are a good idea. There would be
fear of messages missed, or multiple copies, and frustration might
overtake utility. We have been discussing with Symbolics e-mail
distribution of known bugs, work-arounds, etc.

We are pushing DIALnet as the focus of the National Group's efforts
because (1) the Mailer is a more subtle and efficient facility than most
non-Symbolics, ARPA host mail facilities and (2) in theory, more sites
will have access to DIALnet. Symbolics has agreed to work on making
DIALnet and the Mailer more robust; initial tests in 7.1 are very
encouraging. Of course, those who wish to continue to get all messages
via ARPAnet can do so; DIALnet messages will be forwarded. We are just
in the midst of working out these technical details. Any opinions can be
sent directly to me or to this list if they are of general interest or
encompass more individuals in the dialog.

Many thanks.

Paul Pangaro (AREAPU@ari-hq1.arpa   PAN@Athena.Pangaro.DialNet.Symbolics.Com)
President, National Symbolics LISP Users' Group