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The Email Rules


I like getting email. Sometimes it's one of the few things that sustains me through the dark times.


There are some things I can't stand.

Therefore, writing me email is an acceptance of responsibility for reading these, comprehending these, and not doing these.

If you are COMPLETELY new to email, if people have complained to you about your email, or if you use Hotmail, AOL, or Yahoo I suggest browsing two websites:

These will give you a Big Clue.

The basic standards are: MIME type plain-text, less than 75 characters per line, hard-coded CR/LF markers. No HTML or degenerate versions. If you don't know what these are, go read the links above.

The appropriate standards are contained in RFC 1855. Stick to them.

The punishments will be enforced. I may, at my SOLE option, decide to warn you the first time it happens.

Being drunk, stoned, or whatever is not a mitigating factor. If anything, I'm more likely to be annoyed if you claim you did it while impaired.

  1. Don't send me sympathy mail
    I am chronically depressed; this is a fact. I cannot stand people sending me simple-minded 'just cheer up' letters. They hurt, physically. If I was capable of cheering up, I'd have done so and I wouldn't be chronically depressed. You wouldn't dare tell a blind woman, "Oh, just open your eyes and see."
    Punishment: I will unleash the other side of my depression upon you.
  2. If you don't want me to play with it don't send it
    If you send anything to me, without my express prior agreement, you have just given me permission to do anything I want with it. This means letters, stories, pictures, programs, or anything else.
    Punishment: It's mine and I'll keep it and do what I want with it.
  3. Don't send me large things like pictures
    Attachments, especially pictures, are large; and I don't like large things squeezing through my small modem. If I have not given you express prior permission to send me something like a picture or a program, don't send it. Ask if I want it first, and WAIT UNTIL I TELL YOU I DO before you send it. Permission also EXPIRES in 14 days/336 hours.
    Punishment: I'll mail you something nasty and large back.
  4. Don't send me multi-mails
    Anything with more than a 'few' recipients in the To: and CC: fields on the email. This means, don't hit 'Send to Everyone In My Address Book' if I'm in your address book. And I get to define 'few'.
    The reason for this, is that not only do I have to deal with the virii/worms/spyware/trojans of your computer, I will now have to deal with the ones on the computer of everyone else you sent the multi-mail to. Worms/virii/trojans/spyware HARVEST email addresses from address books so they can send spam to more email addresses. This exponentially increases the amount of shit I get in my mailbox. Furthermore, I don't WANT everyone in the world to have my email address immediately; I want them to read this page first. Lastly, multi-mail is usually crap, like StupidJokeOTheDay or MakeMoneyFast, and like I said earlier, I get more than enough crap.
    Punishment: I will craft the nastiest letter I can think of, and send it to everyone else as a Reply-To-All-Recipients, and you can explain to (say) your boss why some lunatic transsexual is emailing the entire company with vitriolic rantings and sick pornography. Or perhaps to twenty of your closest friends and family (like your wife) why some drugged-out sexual pervert freak is sending long excessively-explicit love letters. I will craft these for maximum damage to violators.
    On the other hand, I may just put your email address up as someone who wants to receive email, LOTS of email.
  5. No proprietary formats
    I do not use off-the-shelf software; I use under-the-rock software. Many companies use completely nonstandard formats that cannot be decoded by any other program; Word, Excel, and Adobe's PDF files are constant problems. I cannot read them. If you are going to send something (did you ask first?) make sure it is not in one of these formats. If you don't know, either ask FIRST, or assume that I can't read it and put it into a different format.
    Punishment: I'll just throw it away if it's small; if it's large, I will send you binary files marked as text. I have gigabytes of binary files.
  6. Use your brain
    Anything that I think generated without any brains or human involvement at all will be dumped.
    Punishment: Whatever I feel like. Sometimes I feel like erasing someone else's computer.

The email rules really aren't that hard to follow. Hundreds of people have written me for the first time and had no problems whatsoever, besides the fact that they are now talking to me and I can't objectively recommend that as a Fun Thing.

My response time varies between a few minutes (rare) and a week (equally rare except during computer outages); the average is about 36 hours.

I rarely care about your personal details in the first few letters; if I want more information on you, I'll ask. Really.

Please use a spell checker. Constent mispeling an gramer bad make me think you are a moron. I do make exceptions for non-native English speakers... but they often write better English than Americans.

Do not use all capital letters, as my brain translates it as yelling. I do NOT like being yelled at.

This year (2002), I am averaging 11.8 emails per day, not counting spam and viruses and other garbage.

I like talking about Tuck (or other writing), and I really like hearing about any clever bits you've found, that made you laugh or cry or whatever. I also like hearing ideas on what should happen next; but don't assume that they will be used. Also, I don't give out hints as to what's going to happen next in the plot; I do however enjoy mildly tormenting people who ask for spoilers with a mix of lies and shadings and refusals to answer with the occasional bit of truth thrown in. I also love reading any ideas you might have for future plot complications, or situations you've had involving anything mentioned in Tuck (anecdotes or 'war stories' about children, camping, driving, recent school experiences, dating, whatever).

I also like getting - and desperately need - good links to add to the Links page, as well as sources of information. And I also like getting corrections of any web page errors you find - errors you find in writings are unfortunately uncorrectable due to things I may explain later.

The reason the email address is no longer a link, and must be typed in by you by hand, is that I was (by the end of 2003) receiving over one hundred spams per day, totalling over three hundred kilobytes per day. This totaled around 110Mb per year, greatly interfered with my downloading of legitimate mail, required me to hand-sort all mail for spam, and probably cost me some letters which I accidentally rejected without reading.

Thank every single one of the spammers for this. Every time you've responded to anything they've ever sent you, you helped encourage them.
If you are using Outlook or Outlook Express, please switch email programs as these two are a significant contribution to the spam problem.
If you are using Windows of any sort, invest in a firewall so that your computer is not part of the spamming problem. A large number of attacks on personal computers nowadays will change the victimized computers into covert email-senders, which then spew spam continuously.

I have switched email addresses at least twice, and as of mid-2009 the only spam I am getting to the current account is Nigerian 419-type scams. Thanks to whatever stupid fucker out there either signed me up deliberately, or is running such a shitty computer setup (primarily Outlook and Outlook Express) that the current address got stripped from their address book.

Currently, I am using the following services offered by Hurricane Electric:

  1. Greylisting
  2. Add sent-email to local (editable) whitelist
  3. Validate return-path address
  4. Block executables
  5. Explicit blacklist
Their "MX+ Check" got rid of even more spams, but blocked a few people using what I consider marginal email providers - things like Hotmail, if I remember correctly.

Note that, if the rules above are not followed, I will likely add your email address to the blacklist, which dumps your email someplace I will NEVER see it. Don't bother complaining to me at that point.

Please remember, you are responsible for sticking to standards and my rules.