Here's a reply about the sputtered-out discussion of listserv quotation manners from the person whose query started the thread (Deborah Cameron, English and Linguistics, Univ. of Strathclyde; email [log in to unmask]); this mainly replies to some things said on the pacs list, but special mention is made of our hero Cal Pryluck, so I am sending it to screen-l as well. Again, as she is not a subscriber, I am sending her reply for her (and I am, as letters used to close, Keith Nightenhelser, DePauw University [log in to unmask]). Thanks to everyone who's responded to my query about quoting messages broadcast on the net. One thing is for sure, there is plenty of dispute and uncertainty. Maybe I could just summarise what seems to emerge. I once belonged to a group of social scientists who were looking at possible research issues around interaction mediated by new technology. One point that came up certainly seems salient to users in this discussion: are e-mail communications to be considered a private form of discourse, like letters and conversations, or a public form like print text? Sociolinguis- tically they are hybrid, anomalous: they have the permanence of writing but in being minimally planned/evanescent, interactive and context-bounded they are more like face to face speech (this shows stylistically, and is refleted in things like 'flaming' and the felt need for emoticons and such). The consequence is dispute about what I'm doing if I reproduce something someone said (wrote?) without permission, even if with acknowledgement: is it, as some respondents said, like making 'fair use' of their article, or is it more like publishing a private letter, exposing thoughts not intended for a wider audience, or even repeating gossip I got by eavesdropping on a conversation? This certainly could become a legal problem (especially if people reproduce e-mail messages and profit thereby, as a number of contributors to the thread noted), but I think fundamentally it's a social/cultural question, a matter of how we 'think' e-mail, what other phenomena we analogise it to. I have to admit that what prompted my query was an interest in e-mail communications precisely because they are 'unguarded'. I study attitudes to certain aspects of language use, and these are often discussed on the net, either specifically or in passing. Contributors express opinions I think they probably would think twice about in the more obviously public and highly edited domain of published writing. This is exactly why the net is such a good source for me, but equally it suggests that many people would be wary of granting permission for me to quote if I approached them. Responses to my query suggest that many users think it offensive for someone to treat the net as a data source. They see this as a betrayal of trust and community. For people of this persuasion, e-mail interaction is analogous to a dinner-party conversation, a study group meeting or a club, rather than, say, a scholarly journal. It is unfair to hold people accountable for what they express in the same way in every context, and a breach of trust to repeat messages intended to be kept 'in-house'. On the other hand, the journal analogy does seem more prominent where respondents begin to worry about copyright and intellectual property issues -- who should profit from what is clearly felt by some to be individual creativity (e.g. signatures, smileys). I think the crucial distinction being operated and argued about here is not so much public/private as on and off the record. Judy Koren's analogy with someone reproducing a talk to the library association without the speaker's permission is not an ideal one. In the talk case there would be a denial of the speaker's right to control (and profit from) her own product, but there wouldn't be the same issue of trust because whoever the talk was or wasn't designed for it would have been done on the record. With e-mail, though, it seems a lot of people feel communications are, though hardly private, off the record. The net presupposes users granting mutual license to try out ideas without, in one contributor's words, them coming back to haunt you. I suggest that net users see intellectual property issues as salient where they take communications to be on record, and privacy or trust issues to be salient where communications are seen as off-record; and that there is disagreement about whether e-mail messages on the net are on- record by definition, off-record by definition, or variable depending on the context. Interestingly, the journalist Ken Laws who contributed said he would respect this distinction if users posting messages would make it explicitly. I posted the query both because the issues are interesting and because I care about the ethics. The discussion has not resolved my problem but has given me more insight into the choices and what people think is at stake in them. To begin with, let me ask those contributors who felt permission was essential -- Cal Pryluck, Judy Koren, Brenda Ziser-- how they would feel about my quoting their remarks in this thread? Thanks to all, Debbie Cameron.