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Announcing TidBITS Talk

In honor of our recent eighth anniversary of publication, we’re trying something new, and you’re invited to participate. Though TidBITS is often described as a mailing list, we consider it a publication that chooses electronic methods of distribution. Though that’s not unusual now, it was eight years ago, when discussion-based mailing lists ruled.

So, we’ve set up a small auxiliary mailing list, called TidBITS Talk, for discussing TidBITS-related topics. The goal of TidBITS Talk is to open a public channel of communication so TidBITS readers can more easily communicate with each other and with the TidBITS staff.

This list should prove beneficial for readers and staff members. Sometimes we want to ask a question or float ideas past readers without cluttering a TidBITS issue or soliciting responses from thousands of people. And, we know from experience that many of you have questions, comments, or suggestions surrounding TidBITS articles that are valuable, but which we lack the space to publish or time to answer fully. Now we’ll have a place to forward the best of those that we can’t address personally.

Acceptable Topics — It’s important that TidBITS Talk not degenerate into a high volume discussion list, so we’ll start by moderating with a heavy hand. Since moderation is extra work, I hope that the list will stay sufficiently focused that we can turn off moderation on a sporadic basis. Discussions are restricted to topics related to TidBITS, including:

  • Questions about a TidBITS article
  • Comments on TidBITS articles
  • Suggestions for future TidBITS articles
  • Staff questions while researching articles for TidBITS
  • Meta discussions of TidBITS itself
  • Anything else we feel is appropriate

The following types of messages are not okay:

  • Spam, chain mail, or virus warnings (posting these is grounds for removal)
  • Press releases, commercial notices, attachments, or Web site announcements
  • Questions asking if TidBITS has covered a topic previously (use our Web search engine)
  • Questions relating to a TidBITS subscription (send email to <[email protected]>)
  • Support questions that don’t relate to a current topic in TidBITS (ask on a general Mac discussion group, such as Info-Mac or a comp.sys.mac.* newsgroup)
  • Me-too postings after a topic has been addressed sufficiently
  • Anything else we feel is inappropriate

We plan to keep the volume of postings low to avoid overwhelming subscribers. We may even hold messages to avoid sending out too many in a single day. Also, we’re more likely to post messages that are well-reasoned, well-written, and avoid unnecessary vitriol. Don’t take message rejection personally; it will be done in the interests of making the list a useful resource for us all.

Technical Setup — For the moment, TidBITS Talk runs in FogCity’s LetterRip Pro 3.0.1 on our SE/30, which has a 56K frame relay Internet connection. We want to see how LetterRip Pro stands up to the traffic on the SE/30; if necessary, we’ll move the list to a faster machine.


The trade-off with using LetterRip Pro is that the list is divorced from the subscription database we use for the main TidBITS list. Our main system is currently designed for a weekly distribution schedule, not a discussion list. So, if you want to unsubscribe from both TidBITS and TidBITS Talk, you must do so separately. We also can’t do sophisticated bounce processing as easily.

Usage Instructions — Subscribing and unsubscribing to TidBITS Talk is easy. No commands are necessary – just send email to the appropriate addresses, which also appear in the headers of every message.

Unless you note otherwise in a message, we reserve the right to edit and publish materials posted to the TidBITS Talk list in TidBITS itself (with full credit, of course).

So hey, if you’re one of those people who sends us comments after every few issues of TidBITS, subscribe to TidBITS Talk and share your comments with other interested readers. If we’re all careful, we can turn TidBITS Talk into a great resource for everyone.

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