Official White House Email Address (fwd)

Rob Harper harper at
Mon Jun 7 04:19:56 EST 1993

In <9306062235.AA18411 at> rapr at MED.PITT.EDU 
(Robert Preston) writes:

>> ..... Perhaps they don't reply to foreigners:-)
>  Why _would_ they reply to non-constituents?? Does this, then, mean
>  that a first level of sophistication is already in place in the
>  white house system, despite their supposed naivete?

	Or it could mean that only e-mail to the president gets the
	canned reply while they are having troubles getting replies
	from the vice-president working:-)

>  Hopefully a staff that has tolerance for, and openness to, a diversity
>  of opinions different from their own?

	The way that I see it they are just dipping their toes into 
	the water, but setting up two e-mail postboxes. It is not enough.
	If they want to take the plunge then they should set up mailboxes
	by scientific discipline, so that biologists could direct their
	mail to an appropriate drop off point where it would really be dealt 
	with, rather than sending it to the PRESIDENT (Ooooh I just love 
	those capital letters... they are so bold and strong) where all
	you get is a canned reply from Marsha.
>> much effort... ( well except for me and Dan Jacobson of course )
>  :-(

	Aaah... I see you do not like my brand of humour.
	Perhaps it would have been clearer if I had used a smiley.

>  I guess you have to start to wake up before you can wake up, if that's
>  what is going on here, after all.  That would be enough to be happy
>  about, wouldn't it, that a start has been made?  

	It is not enough that a start has been made. A wrong start, a false
	start is worse than no start at all. We have debated here on Bionet
	that we want to move away from E-mail as a means of distributing
	messages. That a better means for promoting discussion and interaction
	is to use Usenet and some newsreader. 

	If Marsha were to get radical she would create "whitehose" ...oops
	that was a real Freudian slip... newsgroups for biology, physics,
	chemistry, or what ever. Can you imagine this? The biologists
	on Bionet put out a CFV on whitehouse.biology. It passes no trouble
	at all. The goverment then has the responsibility to monitor that 
	newsgroup and make intelligent replies rather than canned resposes.

	This would ensure that the messages go to the right place, and are
	read by the right people. Establishing the correct channels for the
	information to flow to is the first step. It does not make good
	sense to dump everything into two mail-boxes no matter how big
	the capital letters are.

>  Do you have to have
>  the perfect (according to your humble opinion) system in the first
>  incarnation?  If so, nothing would ever be borne.  

	Yes if I were at the white house I would take all the mail from
	the two mailboxes and dump them into a folder. I would wais index
	the folder which would allow me to do searches on keywords... so 
	that I would have some efficient means of filtering though the 
	thousands of messages and picking out those that might be of

	If I really wanted to embarrass the nation I would set up a gopher
	and drop all those E-mail messages into a directory as a folder. 
	So that everyone could read the type of mail the PRESIDENT gets.
	We would then get a clear picture of how many "Hi Bill!" messages
	he gets, and how many messages that have real substance to them.
	The worst that I can see coming from this excercise is that the
	government gets swamped with loads of trivial messages, and decides 
	to call the whole thing off, and secondly if all the replies 
	are of the canned variety, then the general feeling will be that 
	we talk but no one is listening.

>  Finally, filtering
>  the important from the unimportant may actually be a woman's job,
>  so you and I might never have a shot at it :-) 

	And there was I listening to Bruce Springsteen (It's a man's job baby)
	and thinking that... yes that is a nice clip to put in my message.
	It has always been my ambition to post a mail message completely
	made up of lines from songs. Do you think if I did that, Marsha would
	be impressed and give it to the President. No! I doubt it. No-one
	ever recognises when E-mail messages have clips from songs in them,
	even though you do it all the time.

>Robert A. Preston.

	You have a great first name.

Rob "may the road rise with you" Harper
 Rob Harper                        E-mail:          harper at    
 Center for Scientific Computing   Molbio/software: harper at
 Tietotie 6, P.O. Box 405          Telephone:       +358 0 457 2076
 SF-02101 Espoo Finland            Fax:             +358 0 457 2302

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