On Fri, 14 Oct 2016, Noel Chiappa wrote:
do go back that far, so it doesn't look like we're missing much. The earliest
ones there are from 13 March 1997, so we may be missing a few, but not many;
the first posts are clearly 'hi, here's who am I' kind of things, apparently
in response to an earlier message, which does alas seem to be missing.
I'm searching the alt.folklore.computers group (on Google; my ISP no
longer runs a NNTP server) and I can't find Bill's initial invitation
message. I find a later one from June 1997, cross-posted to lots of
comp.sys.* groups, advertising the (existing) group, and a couple from
some comp.sys.* groups from March 13th in which he says the list "just
In the March 13th messages, he gives the reasons why he required the
little introduction message-
"I require the letter of introduction for several reasons. 1 - Only people
who really want to be on the list will bother. 2 - If you can't follow
directions I won't hear from you. 3 - It helps me get an idea of who's on
the list and what they hope to get out of it. 4 - I like to respond
personally to new members rather than run a robot list."
The first discussions started from Bill's replies to these messages, and
when the list opened the ice was thus already broken.