RARA-AVIS: OFFICIAL: New introduction to the list

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 05 Sep 2002

I revised the introductory message that new subscribers receive. I'll include it below my sig. Much is the same as before, but I added in some things that describe how the list has come to work so that new people have a better idea of how we are. Also, I added in a quote from some behaviour guidelines on another list's introductory message, which I thought were very well done. (Not that they're really necessary here, since everyone is so well-behaved.) If you have any comments, please let me know.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

[Last updated on: Thu Sep 5 22:37:50 EDT 2002]
Welcome to RARA-AVIS, the mailing list devoted to the discussion of hardboiled and noir writing!
| "And to you, Miss O'Shaughnessy, adieu. I leave you the rara avis | on the table as a little memento." -- Caspar Gutman in Dashiell Hammett's THE MALTESE FALCON
List mail should be addressed to rara-avis@icomm.ca. There are two versions of the list available: the regular version, where you get each message as other subscribers send them out, and the digest version, where you get all the mail in a big lump once or twice a day.
Please read all of this, and save the instructions on how to unsubscribe from the list.
(The following notes are adapted from the the XML4LIB mailing list rules, at http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/XML4Lib/.)
1. All messages must relate, even if only slightly, to hardboiled and noir writing. Possible topics for discussion include:
- Just what is hardboiled fiction? - How does it relate to film noir and/or the pulps? - Does Ross Macdonald belong in the triumvirate with Chandler and Hammett? - Who are the best modern practitioners? - Are there any truly hardboiled women writers? - How does the genre fit into modern literature? - Let me tell you about the new Jason Starr book! - Matt Helm: he's nothing like Dean Martin. - What's happening in non-English noir writing?
Movies are best discussed in relation to the written word: adaptations or screenplays by hardboiled/noir writers are all right, but film noir in general is better discussed in other mailing lists or newsgroups. RARA-AVIS is based on the written word. Everything on the list should be about hardboiled or noir writing, or directly related to it. That won't make a shortage of topics of conversation.
2. Please introduce yourself to the list, but first lurk for a couple of weeks to get a feel for how it works. Then speak up!
3. The list isn't a forum for unpublished writers. Usenet newsgroups such as misc.writing are more appropriate for that. There isn't much talk by writers about themselves on the list because it's a place for devotees to speak as friends. A writer you like may be on the list! We're all equal in our love for hardboiled and noir writing.
4. Trim as much quoted text as possible from your replies (this definitely includes the footer added to the bottom of each message).
5. Very small advertisements, from list members, of new hardboiled or noir books they have written, edited, or published, are welcome.
6. Do not send virus warnings. Please visit
Symantec Security Response: http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html CIAC Hoaxbusters: http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/
if you hear about a new one. If you think you received a virus through the list, please mail the listowner. It has not happened yet and measures are in place to make sure it never will.
7, Insulting or baiting behaviour will not be tolerated. The list is set so that replies go to the list, not the sender, but you can change this. Off-topic mail should also be directed to the sender, not the list as a whole.
8. Only plain text messages will be broadcast. No MIME attachments are allowed (binaries, audio files, Word documents, etc.) and HTML mail will be rejected. Please see
Configuring Mail Clients to Send Plain ASCII Text: http://www.expita.com/nomime.html
for how to configure your mail program. If you have a photograph, drawing, sound clip or video clip you'd like to share, please put it in an FTP site or on a web page, and announce it. If you can't do this, either offer to send it to people upon private request, or ask if someone would be kind enough to make it publicly available.
This is taken directly from the introduction to the XML4LIB mailing list (http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/XML4Lib/) and it is equally valid here:
* Say something substantial. Simply saying "I agree" (in so many words) or "I disagree" (in so many words) does not meet this guideline. Specific technical questions are, however, quite appropriate, as are brief answers to such questions.
* Say something new. Mere redundancy will not convince an opponent of their error. Explaining the same argument differently in an attempt to make them see the light has not been proven to be an effective strategy.
* "Getting the last word" is for children. We're all beyond the age when we should be concerned with being the one to end the argument. Just because you are the last to speak doesn't mean you won the argument.
* Agree to disagree. The likelihood of convincing someone to change a strongly held opinion is nil. State your case, but give up on the idea of converting the heathen.
* Take "conversations" off the list. When list interaction becomes two-sided (two individuals trading comments or arguments) it is a sign that you should take the discussion off the list and correspond with that person directly. If the discussion was of interest to the general membership you will see others posting on the topic as well.
* Remember that you are being judged by the quality of your contributions. No matter whether you are employed or not, or a certain age, or have a certain education, you can create a good professional reputation by how you contribute to a large electronic discussion like Web4Lib. On the other hand, you can ruin your reputation even faster and easier.
* NEVER send email in anger. Go ahead and compose a message in anger, since that may help you work through what you're angry about, but don't send it. Sleep on it. You will nearly always decide to not send it or to recompose it. There's a reason for that.
* Be civil. Treat others how you wish to be treated. No matter how insulting someone is to you, you will always look better to the bystanders (of which there are many, I hasten to remind you) by responding politely.
* Respect the rights of others. An electronic discussion is a commons. Your right to post ends at the right of others to not be insulted, badgered, or to have their time needlessly wasted.
The list's web site is at:
It has some bibliographies and information taken from the list.
The list is archived at
There is no FAQ for the list, but the archives can be searched. They are the best place to start for questions about bibliographies, pseudonyms, publishing dates, authorship and so on. They also contain reviews and opinions on many writers and their works.
The list began on 5 January 1997.
We have a reading and discussion forum going, where we all read a story or novel or author at the same time. All comments are welcome--list members range from interested fans of the genre to people doing their Ph.D. on a particular writer. You can find out what story we're on at
Please take a moment to browse iComm's web site. It's at
iComm provides free Internet services to non-profit and charity groups and has donated the resources necessary to run this list.
| It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the | sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the | foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie | and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue | clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care | who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to | be. I was calling on four million dollars. - opening lines to THE BIG SLEEP, by Raymond Chandler
| "How c-could you?" she gasped. | I only had a moment before talking to a corpse, but I got it in. | "It was easy," I said. - closing lines to I, THE JURY, by Mickey Spillane
-- Signed,
William Denton <buff@pobox.com> The List-Owner
-- # To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # majordomo@icomm.ca. This will not work for the digest version. # The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

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