Electronic Mail: Foul deeds on the Internet

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YOU PICK Fis, of all people, to represent the level of 'flammage' - critical writing - endemic on the net. Sure, he rages against the world, but nobody pays him much attention.

The Internet brings with it a cultural phenomenon and the author of your article fundamentally fails to appreciate the extent to which the Internet affects the lives of those who use it. You cannot write an article which looks at 'flaming' behaviour and the people who engage in it as 'over there'.

They are not over there, they are here. They are around you. The guy on the other side of the pub from you may have an E- mail address. Indeed, in this particular pub, all of us have E-mail addresses. The Internet has changed from a curious phenomenon, apart from 'real life', to something which touches all of us, everywhere from cloistered academic laboratories to corporate offices to pubs and living rooms. The Internet is not a curio, it's a new medium which we will learn to use in the same way as we learned to use the telephone, radio or television.

This message was composed on a portable Macintosh, passed around a pub. Only about half of the participants had met previously, but we had no difficulty in collaborating in a 'flame'.

Indignant of Tunbridge Wells

dcah100@cus. cam. ac. uk

tjc@insignia. co. uk

dourish@europarc. xerox. com

feorag@antipope. demon. co. uk

charlie@antipope. demon. co. uk

mathew@mantis. co. uk

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