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I have to say that I see both sides of this one. I agree with Roger that I
would not want my children to post to a group and give out _any_ personal
information. We should recognize that there are some very well spoken
young people out there that we may not realize are _not_ adults. And I
certainly wouldn't go to the extent of giving my address or phone number in
a sig. line. Any one who wants to contact me personally can do so using my
E-mail address. If there is any legitimate reason for them to have my
address and/or phone number, I can and will give it to them privately.
Unfortunately, if it's not a legitimate purpose, and someone really wants
to find you, they probably can anyway :-(
OTOH, I have met some wonderful people as a result of communication via the
APD, C-serve's FISHNET and a few other places. I feel lucky to count
people like Neil Frank, Erik and Kathy Olson, Dave Gomberg, Steve Dixon,
Merrill Cohen and many others among my friends. They have not only freely
shared information and ideas, but have even opened their homes to me.
Would we have developed this kind of relationship if we weren't willing to
even exchange names? I think not.
Even more annoying to me are the people, most of whom obtain my E-mail
address from this list (since I don't frequent any other newsgroups or
mailing lists) who contact me directly with questions, (sometimes long and
time consuming) and don't bother with the courtesy of a real name. I've
actually addressed this in my AFM column recently. I will not use a letter
in the column that is not signed. It's only common courtesy. You know who
you're talking to, I'd like to too.
I guess the bottom line is that it depends what you want out of the group.
If you want an arms length relationship, then keep your "handle". But then
don't get snippy if you don't get a "warm fuzzy" reception. Like any
relationship, you'll get the most out of it if you're willing to take a
small risk and open up a little and let people get to know you. Yes there
are bad people in the world. But there are a lot more awfully nice ones!
(who still hasn't got her sig file working, but still manages to type in at
least her first name<g>)