Traveller Mailing List
The Traveller Mailing List is a list-serve-style mailing list available for free through the Internet for subscribers to discuss in a civilized way any matter they wish to that relates to Traveller.
- It is often referred to by its acronym, TML.
New subscribers to the TML are urged to lurk(i.e., just read the posts by others for a considered period of time and refrain from making their own posts) until they feel a good understanding for what is considered acceptable or not.
- To subscribe to the Traveller Mailing List, one can visit Simplelists.com on the Web.
- A subscriber can choose to skip getting each individual post and get all of each day's posts concatenated together in one "digest"-style post for that day. It is problematical whether this saves time or not.
TML List Traffic
The TML was once a very active mailing list, sometimes reaching as many as 100 new posts in just one day, but usually only dozens per day.
- Often, posts were long and complex, but most were short.
- In recent years, there is between one megabyte and five megabytes of text posted each month.
- Most subscribers "lurked" (just read and never or very rarely wrote posts of their own).
- However, lately (MAR '12) the volume has fallen off drastically. (6-12 per day on weekends, less on weekdays).
- Subsequently, there has even been a 24+ hour period during which no messages at all were posted.
- Many past and current contributors to official Traveller publications participate on, or at least subscribe to, the list.
- Some published Traveller authors began first by participating in the TML and fanzines sometimes for years before entering discussions to publish new material.
- Most of these writers continue to participate on, or at least subscribe to, the list. They often become less active on the list after they've published.
- Participants on the list often refer to themselves as "TML denizens", as "TMLers", as "TML citizens", and as Travellers.
- Although a majority of TMLers have at least some familiarity with most of the versions of Traveller that have been published over the years, most TMLers have strong preferences about which version(s) they prefer, and often which version(s) they strongly dislike.
- For the most part, TMLers agree to politely disagree with each other about preferred/disliked versions and respect the preferences of others without trying to impose their own preferences.
- Other TMLers usually politely ignore any outburst of venting from one of their fellow Travellers about the perceived failings of some version they dislike, and all TMLers are expected to avoid such outbursts.
- Good-natured teasing is slightly more acceptable, but also expected to be done with great care and tact, since misunderstandings between strangers and hurt or inflamed feelings easily occur in a fast-flowing and purely text medium like a mailing list.
The TML has moved homes from one host on the Internet to another several times over the years, and its hosts have been affected by occasional technical catastrophes.
- Archives are available at the same Web site that manages subscriptions (simplelists.com).
- As of this writing, archives are only available at that site from November of 2006 to present, but some members may have personal archives extending back farther, and may be willing to share.
TML List Language Norms
TMLers come from many countries around the world.
- Most of the English-speaking countries in the world are represented on the list, but not all.
- Most active TMLers from non-English-speaking countries are relatively fluent in English as their second language.
- Slang native to a TMLers home country is sometimes used, and TMLers will sometimes use references to events or people in their home countries that others might not recognize.
- TMLers from the United States, for example, sometimes forget things like 'Thanksgiving' not being a holiday elsewhere, or that election day isn't the same for others, or that laws and politics are different elsewhere.
- In fact, some TML posters seem to not realize that people from other countries than their own also subscribe to the list. Tolerance and patience are the prevailing responses to such posts.
TML List Represented Nationalities
The countries most represented on the list are:
- The United States,
- United Kingdom,
- Canada, and...
- New Zealand.
- India is a seemingly under-represented English-speaking country.
There is a scattering of relatively active TMLers from:
- Finland, and...
Nobody knows how many other countries are also represented.
The FAQ for the TML is now hosted on the Traveller wiki.
The rules of behavior for the TML are unwritten and determined by consensus, with the standards strongly influenced by the FAQ. Foul language is very frowned upon, as are personal attacks or insults to others. A few debates that lasted a long time without being settled one way or the other but led to often volatile emotions are informally banned from discussion now. This is because nobody wants a repeat of the lengthy and loud debates that stirred up a lot of discontent but never changed anyone's opinion now matter how carefully the debates were examined. Most famously banned are:
- The viability of piracy or even the mere existence of pirates at all or what form piracy might take if it does exist;
- The existence or possibility of constructing "jump torpedoes" or any other unmanned craft capable of FTL jumps;
- Accelerating some large mass such as a spaceship or asteroid long enough to achieve extraordinarily high speeds and then crashing these ultrahighspeed masses onto the surface of a planet causing far more destruction than any hydrogen bomb could (these are often referred to as near-C rocks, because their speed putatively could approach "C", the astrophysical constant that is the speed of light; and...
- There are other more-or-less forbidden topics, this is not intended to be a complete list.
TML Terms & Slang
There is a fairly large number of acronyms in common use on the TML, as well as some slang. There is no currently-maintained FAQ for subscribers, although a few of the Traveller fan sites on the Web have partial lists of popular terms. At the least, a TMLer will need to be familiar with the terms [CT], [MT], [TNE], [T4], [G:T], [T20], and [T5] as the names of various versions of Traveller over the years. Those acronyms refer, respectively, to what was called at the time just "Traveller" (the very first version, published from 1977 through 1987) but is usually now referred to as Classic Traveller, MegaTraveller, Traveller: The New Era, Marc Miller's Traveller, GURPS: Traveller, D20 Traveller, and T5 is the name of the next version of Traveller which Marc Miller himself is writing but has not yet published. Also the terms IMTU, IYTU, and the OTU, which respectively stand for In My Traveller Universe, In Your Traveller Universe, and the Official Traveller Universe.
- "Listmom" is the usual term for one of the administrators of the TML, the people who keep it running, and who have the power to ban someone from the list, which has happened only extremely rarely.
- "ObTrav" is short for "obligatory Traveller reference".
- Since all posts are at least supposed to be directly related to Traveller, TMLers who make seemingly unrelated posts try to rescue the post by tagging an ObTrav onto the beginning or end that is more or less related to both Traveller and the other material in their post. A typical example is the TMLer who posts about some criminal act they read about in the news, then adds an ObTrav suggesting an adventure seed inspired by that news item.
- "Newbie essays" are sometimes assigned as a sort of initiation rite by any TMLer who feels like it to any new person who appears on the list.
- Sometimes the newbies even write and post their newbie essays. The creativity put into devising essay topics is often a source of great amusement. The creativity and work put into writing the actual essay always causes great admiration and increased acceptance and respect. Sometimes assigned topics are so creative and involved that it just isn't feasible to attempt to write such an essay, no matter how tongue in cheek. Sometimes they demand familiarity with licensed publications that are truly obscure and extremely difficult to obtain, also making them unfeasible.
- "Canon" means a published, licensed Traveller book that is designated by Marc Miller as being authoritative and accurate in its rules and other statements about the Traveller Universe.
- So many products were licensed over the years, under various conditions, and by a series of people responsible for ownership of licensing rights.
- The canonical standing of many products is uncertain at best, even though they were legally licensed Traveller material at the time of their publication.
- With so many editors, designers, authors, and license holders publishing material over many years, it is easy to find outright contradictions between statements in different material if one cares to look for them.
- When GDW closed its doors, all copyrights to Traveller reverted to Marc Miller, who had left GDW a few years before. He has tried to be careful to maintain the canonical standing of all Traveller related products licensed since that time.
- Most TMLers feel that the canonical standing of products exist in degrees. Finally, this cannot be easily quantified, and is at least partly a subjective matter of preferences.
- Defining 'canon' has also been a longstanding source of heated argument and not all Traveller fans accept Marc Miller's designations as being authoritative. Some also hold the opinion that the very idea of 'canon' is nonsensical considering the great volume of licensed products, many of which were contradictory.
History of the TML:
- 1980's: The Traveller Mailing List traces its origins at least to GEnie in the 1980s, one of the online services that were popularly used before public access to the Internet became available, and for a period of time afterwards.
- (The other major public online services prior to the Internet were CompuServe, Prodigy, and America Online.) Genie was an early online gathering place for Traveller enthusiasts and some Traveller authors, where they had a fairly well organized forum.
- James Perkins started the official Traveller Mailing list July 1, 1987. See the original annoucement.
- In July 1992, Dan Corrin becomes the listmom as the TML is now hosted at the University of Western Ontario.
- In August 1994, the TML is hosted on the mpgn.com. This site also hosts FTP server for the list archives and other Traveller content. Dave Brooks from Tantalus Incorporated and the Muli-Player Games Network announced the opening of the new list. Rob Miracle becomes the new Listmom.
- In May 1999 the TML is moved (silently) from mpgn.com to imagiconline.com as part of the buyout by iEntertainment Network. Then in september 2000, the mailing list moved (silently) from imagiconline.com to lists.ient.com as part of the IENT online image update.
- In March and April 2001, iEnt began having technical difficulties with maintaining the list. In an effort to continue service for the rabid Traveller fans, Tod Glenn creates a new list on travellercentral.com, keeping the list alive. He become the defacto listmom, which continues until today. Rob Davenport volunteers as his assistant, or listmom2, also continuing to today.
- In 2002, as the connection charges to support the TML exceeded Tod's budget, Hunter Gordon of QuikLink Interactive offered to host the site on travellerrpg.com.
- In mid-November of 2006, the TML at QuickLink stopped operating, and for various reasons could not be restored. By the end of the month, Tod Glenn had once again stepped forward, and the TML returned to being hosted at Travellercentral.com, and Rob Davenport recreated the subscriber list from list archives.
- In April of 2014 the machine, an old SPARC sun server, running the TML listserv software needed to be shutdown.
- Tod Glenn moved the TML to simplelists.com, an online mail list service. Tod remains the Listmom.
Most but not all of TML's major contributors were also "List-Moms".
Major Contributors (...not a comprehensive list):
References & Contributors (Sources)
- EXTERNAL LINK: A complete set of archives 1987 - 2002
- Traveller Wiki Editorial Team
- Author & Contributor: Traveller Wiki Editorial Team
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science