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- Telecom Digest Moderator
August 14, 2011, 3:02 am
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This is the list of frequently-asked questions for The Telecom
Digest. It is posted whenever the contents change, and once per
quarter even if the contents have not changed.
Q. What is The Telecom Digest?
A. The Telecom Digest is the oldest continuously published mailing
list on the Internet. It was started before Usenet existed, but is
now available via the Usenet group comp.dcom.telecom.
Q. Who's in charge?
A. The current Moderator is Bill Horne, and you may reach him by
sending an email to telecomdigestmoderator.atsign.telecom-digest.org.
Q. How do I subscribe?
A. If you want to receive The Telecom Digest via email, Send an "plain
text" email message to majordomo.atsign.telecom-digest.org, with the
command "subscribe telecom" in the BODY of the message. (The
subject line will be ignored.) You may choose to receive posts in a
daily digest, with all the posts for the day included in a single
email, or you may choose to have each post sent to your email
address as soon as it is approved: digest mode is the default, but
if you prefer individual email, use the command
"subscribe-set telecom each" instead.
If you want to subscribe an address OTHER THAN the one you are
sending the subscription request from, then place the email address
to be subscribed at the end of the command, e.g.,
"subscribe telecom email@example.com" or
"subscribe-set telecom each firstname.lastname@example.org"
You may also receive and post to The Telecom Digest via the Usenet
group comp.dcom.telecom, either using NNTP or through portals such
as Google or Yahoo.
Q. What topics does The Telecom Digest cover?
A. The Telecom Digest is primarily, but not exclusively, focused on
the world's telephone systems, networks, and companies. Our readers
talk about regulations, technical matters, rates, numbering plans,
tariffs, the prices changed for various services, alternatives to
the traditional telephone network (such as VoIP), and related
Q. How do I get something published in The Telecom Digest?
A. There are three ways to contribute original posts or to reply to
posts made by others. They are -
1. Send an email to telecomdigestsubmissions.atsign.telecom-digest.org.
2. Use an NNTP client, such as pine, or a combined email/nntp
program, such as Mozilla Thunderbird, to send posts to the
Telecom Digest via a Usenet server. If your ISP doesn't have a
Usenet server, there are free one available, such as the one at
3. Use a commercial portal, such as Google or Yahoo, to access the
Usenet group comp.dcom.telecom. You will have to have an account
with the portal's owner in order to do this, but they're usually
issued without charge.
No matter which way you send a message to The Telecom Digest, each
message's "Subject" line must contain one of the following glyphs
in order to be excepted from our spam-prevention process. There is
no guarantee that a message without one of these glyphs will ever
be read. The brackets around each glyph must be included, but the
quotes are not required.
1. "[telecom]" if your post can be published verbatim.
2. "[nfp]" (Not For Publication) if your email is only for the
3. "[obfuscate]" if you want the Moderator to modify your email
address before publishing your post so that it cannot be used
without being changed, i.e., so that it can't be copied by a
spambot and used to send you spam. If you are a frequent Digest
contributor, you may request that your email address be
automatically obfuscated anytime you sent a post, so that you
may send in contributions without the need for the "[obfuscate]"
4. "[Anonymous]" if you want all traces of your identity removed
from the post before it is published. (See rules about anonymous
postings, shown below.)
Subject: Re: FCC refuses to take action on cramming [Anonymous]
Subject: Eleven-digit phone numbers are coming [telecom]
Subject: Cell phone SMS spam is getting worse [Obfuscate]
Subject: I haven't seen my post yet [nfp]
Please note the keywords in the glyphs are not case sensitive.
Q. How does the Moderator decide what to accept?
A. In general, the moderator makes decisions about what should be
published after reading a submission, and approves posts which meet
the guidelines shown here. The moderator's decisions are binding,
but readers are always welcome to argue their case for an exception
or for special treatment: in other words, if a post is rejected, a
contributor may ask the moderator to reconsider. The moderator, in
turn, may ask that potential posts be modified so as to make them
acceptable, or may refuse to reconsider a decision to reject. The
Moderator's decision is not subject to appeal, and The Telecom
Digest does not allow "Meta" discussions about moderation policies
Q. What are the rules about content?
A. There are very few rules. The most important are listed here:
1. Basic Netiquette is both encouraged and enforced. The Telecom
Digest does not allow ad hominem attacks, unwarranted sarcasm,
foul language, undocumented allegations of illegal or improper
conduct, or other kinds of viciousness. The moderator reserves
the right to be completely arbitrary and capricious when making
decisions about posts which, in the moderator's sole and
exclusive judgement, are inappropriate for publication.
2. Posts must concern telecommunications using telephones, either
wired or wireless, i.e., they should be about the ways,
instruments, equipment, inventions, costs, history, and
regulations that bear on spoken conversations between human
beings who are out of earshot.
3. Posts which bear on the history of telecommunications are
allowed if they are germane to discussion about the worldwide
telephone network in some way: e.g., a post about the Western
Union company's TELEX network would be allowed if it served to
illustrate the underpinnings of the PSTN and/or the regulatory
framework within which Western Union and the Bell System
competed with each other, and a post about the traffic loads
caused by dial-up data users would also be appropriate.
4. The moderator enjoys the privilege of modifying both spelling
and grammar when, in the Moderator's judgement, a post is not
clear enough to read without changes. Posts which require
extensive rewriting are usually rejected and returned to their
authors for rework, but in cases where the author cannot be
contacted (e.g., when a poster does not use a valid email
address), then the Moderator may choose to step in and modify a
post rather than delete it.
Q. Does The Telecom Digest accept anonymous posts?
A. Sometimes, but reluctantly. Posters who request anonymity must add
the "[anonymous]" glyph to the subject line of their posts, and the
Moderator makes a judgement on a case-by-case basis. Posters whom
request anonymity will please provide a brief reason for the
request in a clearly-separated section of the email, e.g.,
* Please publish this anonymously. My country is arresting those *
* who discuss this subject publicly. *
Q. Can we write about things that came before telephones?
A. Posts about things like semaphore signalling, Morse Code, The Pony
Express, and Carrier Pigeons are discouraged. Such subjects may,
however, be mentioned by posters who choose to illustrate the
history, technology, regulations, and social forces which formed
the PSTN we use today, but posts may not focus exclusively on them.
Q. Can I post a story about things which might come after telephones?
A. Not unless you are speculating in a believable way about the future
direction the PSTN will take. The Telecom Digest is not a venue for
Science Fiction, so if you want to post about phones on other
planets, or other ways of communication which haven't been
discovered yet, then you'll need to find a more appropriate venue
for your posts.
Q. Since the line between "Data" and "Telephone" gets more blurry
every day, how do you draw the line between VoIP services such as
Vonage and Skype, and the more traditional telephone network?
A. If it concerns people using the PSTN to talk to each other, it's
fair game. When there is room for doubt, each post is judged on
its own merits.
Q. If I can sign up to receive each post separately, why is it called
"The Telecom Digest"?
A. The original Telecom Digest was a compilation of emails that were
received by the Moderator each day. The Moderator assembled each
day's digest by hand, and sent it out manually, so there was no
other subscription option besides the "digest" version. When The
Telecom Digest was made available to Usenet readers, that changed,
but the original title of the publication remained, so it is still
called "The Telecom Digest".
Up until 2007, the email version of The Telecom Digest was still
assembled by hand each day, and was thus available only in digest
form, even though it was, by that time, sent out using an automated
email robot located at John Levine's server in New York. The email
robot in use is "Majordomo", which allows subscribers to choose
either digest or individual emails, and since Usenet readers
already enjoyed the option of seeing individual posts, Majordomo
was reprogrammed to give email readers the same choice.
Q. What are the options available to subscribers using the Majordomo
A. There are too many to list here: to get started on them, send a
"plain text" email to majordomo.atsign.telecom-digest.org with the word
"help" in the BODY of the message (the subject line is ignored).
Q. How do I unsubscribe?
A. Send an email to majordomo.atsign.telecom-digest.org, with the command
"unsubscribe telecom" in the BODY of the message. If you no longer
have access to the email account from which you subscribed, but
still know the password for it, use the command
"approve <password> unsubscribe telecom <old.email.address>".
(The subject line will be ignored.)
If you don't have the password for an old account, and no longer
have access to it to send emails to the Majordomo robot, then you
may ask the Moderator to intercede and unsubscribe an old address
on your behalf. Such requests are *always* verified.
***** Moderator's Note *****
This is the first time I've published a FAQ for the
Digest. Suggestions for improvement, corrections, and clarifications
are welcome: you need only reply to this message. Your replies will
NOT be published.
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