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Mystery writer again

Letter No. 36 | July 12, 1998

It wasn't my intention when I sent my first message to try and be mysterious or subsequently become part of a game of "Who am I?" I am a very private person with a very busy business and personal life. It leaves me little time to chat via email. I have had several messages from other members of your web site. One of them, [name withheld], appears to be upset, taking it personal that I did not identify myself.

I worry a little about all the bad press the internet receives, about unscrupulous operators that prey upon those of us that share information about ourselves for their own private gain.

The game is on and I may soon identify myself.

"Jonway"

Webmaster's reply: I would urge you to do so at your earliest convenience. The statement atop this department makes it clear that all that's necessary to keep any communication from being published, is to mark it "not for publication." This is the procedure with every publishing enterprise I know of. We're in business (though this is a "business" that sells nothing and has till now absolutely no income, though I am considering adding a bookstore to the site) to publish, and we are often too busy to be bothered with correspondence not intended for publication. The whole purpose of our being here is to exchange information; to be a forum where friends can meet. Again, when I wrote asking if you'd like to identify yourself, you could have merely replied "no," and that would have been the end of it. When you did not, I assumed you wouldn't have written if you didn't want to be read. You initiated the correspondence; we did not. As for people using the Internet for nefarious purposes, people with such purposes are everywhere, and it also works both ways. When one writes to a publication anonymously, some might take that as the first sign of something suspect. I've been on the Internet, with my home address and phone number out for anyone to find, for at least five years, and have never had any problems, so I have no reason to think it's any more dangerous, to those who are prudent in their use of it, than any other place of public interaction. In fact, it's far safer than most others.

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