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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
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!