S0 S " 0 "
Wedesay Dcebe 2 .209 -hMiignDd
Editor in Chief:
The Junk Drawer:
Center spread design:
rule 230: Who-
ever turned the
TV on gets to
control what the
rest of the house
something is on
that is obviously
much better. rule
231: After the
fifth time your
you to come home
and open the
door, you can start
charging a lock-
out fee. rule 232:
You're never really
obligated to bring
baked yourself to
- E-mail rule submissions to
Do you want the
Daily to put on
another kind of
E-mail suggestions to
By Veronica Menaldi / Daily Statement Writer
Illustration by Laura Garavoglia
The Statement is The Michigan
Daily's news magazine, distributed
every Wednesday during the
(fhitMhi i an ail PRESENTS
n the days before e-mail,
if your classmate had a
question on punctuation,
you were unlikely to hear about
it. But now, you, your profes-
sor, and your entire department
could easily be the recipients of
an extended e-mail thread on
Almost every student at the University is
part of at least one e-mail listserv. Listservs
are usually used to send event notices and
distribute general information to its mem-
bers - but this isn't the only use students
have found for them.
One of the most recent examples involved
the School of Information listserv on N ov.
19. The original sender asked if there should
be one or two spaces after a period, and went
on to inquire if paragraph indentations have
become "old-school thinking."
In the six replies, a few students, a pro-
fessor and an administrator attempted to
answer the questions while conveying per-
sonal accounts of their experiences with the
"I too had heard that the standard had
changed, but it feels weird to me," one stu-
dent wrote. "I haven't come up against any
problems for using 2 so I can't see it being
worth the trouble to slow down my typing by
remembering to only hit the space bar once."
John King, the vice provost of Academic
Information, said the reason the two-space
rule - a holdover from the typewriter era
that became unnecessary with more sophis-
ticated spacing in modern word processors
- remained the norm until recently was
because "nobody asked, nobody told."
He went on to explain that this began to
change at the same time the "convention
against split infinitives started to erode,"
throwing in Star Trek references to make his
"Recall that the original Star Trek in the
'60s "boldly went" to the split infinitive,
and generations of grammar teachers were
phasered in the process (phasers not set on
"stun" either)," he wrote. "It's now common
wisdom that the '60s changed everything."
Suzanne Shuon, assistant director of the
doctoral program, then chimed in, remi-
niscing about her typing experiences in high
school in the'60s.
"Those were the days," she wrote. "(No
white out, manual typewriters only, cute
little wheel shaped erasers with a little brush
The thread of e-mails concluded with a
reply from a student of just one sentence.
"Idi dnot take tipyng in high sckool and I
turn ed out fien," the e-mail said.
Not all extracurricular use of e-mail
groups is focused on trivial matters. On Oct.
29, Brittany Galisdorfer, a master's student in
Public Policy, sent out an e-mail to the Public
"The Mayo Clinic recentlydenied myaunt's
request for an appointment," she wrote. "For
the past two years my aunthas seen countless
doctors for numbness in her feet and hands
and special disorientation. She also had an
MRI that showed severe brain degeneration
for her age, 44. My aunt can still walk and
climb stairs with assistance but fears she will
be in a wheelchair soon. Other than these
specific and severe problems, my aunt is per-
fectly healthy. If anyone has any connections
at Mayo that might help her get an appoint-
ment, my family and I would really appreci-
ate it if you could send them my way. Thank
The e-mail concluded with her contact
Galisdorfer said she received about 20 pos-
itive responses that helped her understand
the process at the clinic and gave her ideas on
how to get her aunt around the process.
"As a student in the Public Policy school,
I realized that my classmates and professors
are generally well-connected people and
have direct work experiences that could help
me out," she said.
Galisdorfer said this was the first personal
e-mail of this sort that she sent to a listserv,
thoughshe has used theminthe past for event
notices and to clarify questions in classes. ENTIRE GROUP TO BE REMOVED. Seri-
"Usually I think (listservs are) a better way ously learn some email etiquette."
of asking questions because there's always The studentwhowrotereplyNo. 73 offered
someone else that shares your concern," she a link to a YouTube video titled "Prank War
She added that she has only had positive
experience with listservs, even when she "'IsWerthat ifany one
receives irrelevant e-mails because students
accidentally click "reply all." else repheS0to all I Will hunt
"It doesn't bother me too much," Galisdor-
fer said. "It's just so easy to just click delete. yOuddwn On the umich
You kind of feel more embarrassed for the
person than it really bothers you, since usu- directory and disable every
ally they didn't realize they were responding
to all." electronic device that (you)
However, some "reply all" situations can
get undeniably out of hand. For example, a OWR "
request to fill out a seminar group research
project survey was sent to two listservs. The - Response to a runaway e-mail
e-mail said the survey would take just 30 sec- thread started by a research survey
onds to fill out. The first e-mail was sent on
April 8 at 4:25 p.m. By 7:33 p.m. of the same 6: The Infamous Yankee Prankee," explain-
day, the thread had 79 replies, many within ing that if "people feel obliged to continue
seconds of each other. sending emails," they "might as well have
Over just a three-hour span, a flood of some fun with it."
people responded to the e-mail with com- Once the thread count hit 74, one student's
ments like, "Take me off the mailing list" or frustration boiled over into an attack on the
"Don't click reply all." Some pointed out how original sender.
"obnoxious" the replies were or questioned "You people who started this are abso-
whether the thread was a joke. lutely IDIOT freshman who should not be
By the time the reply count hit the fifties, allowed access to mass email," the e-mail
some users were driven to threats. read. "You're extremely irresponsible and
"If I get one more email I will murder obviously unintelligent and need to learn a
someone. I'm officially declaring my email to few things about conducting surveys. Maybe
be the last one. The end," reply No. 53 read. when you turn 19 you'll actually have accu-
It wasn't, of course, the end. Later on, mulated some intelligence."
the 65th response took frustration to a new Interspersed between these longer e-mails
level. there were also many short contributions,
"I swear that if any one else replies to all I such as, "Whoever started this I actually hate
will hunt you down on the umich directory you," "I actually love you," "Hey spud," and "I
and disable every electronic device that they really like apricots."
own.," it read. "I will convert your keyboard Professor of Information Paul Resnick
layout to Swahili. / The person who sent out said people may feel comfortable sharing
the original e-mail spammed a group that she questions and information with large groups
does not control. SHE CANT TAKE YOUOFF through listservs because it's easy, quick and
THE MAILING LIST. You have to e-mail the has a wide reach.
owner to be removed. DON'T EMAIL THE See LISTSERVS, Page 8B
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