Re: Dataquest Report: The Great Pentium Fire Drill

From: John Conover <>
Subject: Re: Dataquest Report: The Great Pentium Fire Drill
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 94 14:38 PST

Patrick McGeer writes:
 > There's an interesting sentence in the DQ report (only tangentially related to
 > Pentium)
 > >   There is also a lesson on the use of the Internet here. The
 > > nature of electronic mail is such that it strips personal
 > > interaction from communication. Without this interaction, simple
 > > statements or even typographical errors can be interpreted as
 > > strong opinion and can touch off torrents of strongly-worded
 > > messages.
 > Well, I wouldn't challenge this (challenging this statement is a little like
 > questioning whether the Sun rises in the east).  But it appears to me that
 > this comment would apply to *all* written communication -- and I don't ever
 > recall hearing of a spiralling torrent of nasty Snail Mail letters.  What
 > is it about e-mail that distinguishes it from other written communication?
 >                                      -- Rick

This brings up a favorite peeve of mine-that email is treated like a
second class written communication. Did you see the Civil War series
by Ken Burns on PBS. The letter from Sullivan Belieu to his wife was a
tear jerker. So eloquent. If it had been an email, it would have been
something like:

        Being flamed by the Blue suites. Probably going to die.

I noticed that when we started running formal management on top of
sendmail at S-MOS, that those with the most eloquent and sophisticated
writing skills had a political advantage. (Now, whether this was a
positive attribute, or a new complexity of politics remains to be



John Conover,,

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