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Dealing with homework requests



Larry's comments are excellent. This cannot be the only mailing list
or Usenet group with similar problems.

I, also, responded to a couple of the early requests for help -
not that I am an authority, but I was able to point towards relevant
authority. No more! Larry's right; this could swamp the list.

A form-letter response could be written, along the lines that Larry
suggests. A list maintainer or designated substitute could send that
form letter to any "do-my-homework" letter. It would only take a
couple of keystrokes.

Teachers (or college slackers with net access) are less likely to spam
the list with these requests if it's clear that the list will NOT do 
their homework.

I have a similar problem in the area where I *am* an authority, and I deal
with it the same way. Now that my net presence is well known, game fans
often send me private e-mail asking for rulings on game questions. They
get a polite form response directing them to the appropriate Usenet
newsgroups or the other ways my company has set up to give answers. 
It explains that if I started being the question-answerer for the whole
net, I'd never write another line of original work. People accept that.

Of course, new people are always showing up with questions, but never more
than a couple a day. The level remains manageable, because nobody tries
twice . . . let alone tells all their friends to try it. 

** Steve Jackson - yes, of SJ Games - yes, we won the USSS case - fnord **
   yes, INWO is out - http://io.com/sjgames/ - dinosaurs, Lego, Kahlua!