If you somehow ended up here without reading the primary Postal FAQ, please do so first.
Last we checked, there was no law that prohibited one of two parties in an e-mail exchange from publishing the contents of the mail. Mail sent to us belongs to us as much as it belongs to the other person. One side trying to enforce their will or desires on the other seems a never ending battle. Until a set of laws are drafted that affect such actions, we will continue to do so as we please.
E-mail is thought to be 'private' by many people, but the horrible truth is it isn't very private. While not 'public', all but a fraction of e-mail is sent without using any form of encryption. This means that a number of people can potentially read your e-mail as it travels across the internet. This includes law enforcement (with a subpoena we hope), spook agencies, hackers, internet service providers, your employer and more. Once the mail lands on your system, other users may be able to read it, as well as anyone that has access to your machine, regardless of your permission.
The first link on our front page is our disclaimer which warns people that sending us mail makes it ours to do with as we please:
Any mail entering this system not intended for a mail list becomes the sole property of Attrition.org or the staff members here. By mailing any member of Attrition.org, you forfeit any claim of copyright. E-mail, book reviews, movie reviews, music reviews, commentary and all other submitted work become copyrighted to Attrition.org staff. E-mail confidentiality agreements and disclaimers are invalid for mail coming into this system. Mailing anyone at Attrition.org denotes your agreement with these rules. Don't agree? Then don't mail us.
Further, we even warn them exactly how we may use their e-mail:
We really don't care. We don't need your feedback. Your flames, insults, begging and other tripe will potentially be used on our postal page or sent to anyone we choose. We will include any portion of your mail on that page if we see fit, including full headers and x-originating-ip if we choose. Let me repeat this so we are clear: WE DO NOT CARE.
This is pretty straight forward and should leave very little up for debate. When someone mails us, their e-mail client connects to our e-mail server and is greeted with a link to the disclaimer. We can't help it if their e-mail client doesn't give the user warning. Before you claim this is silly, perhaps it is, but so is every single 'legal disclaimer' floating around in e-mail that tries to bind the user to certain conditions and actions. These are presented to the reader after they read the mail no less. At least we warn them before the mail is even sent to us.
September 21, 1999. The mail was originally sent to us on August 8, 1999 and along with a few other mails around that time likely directly lead to our desire to publish such mails.
Usually yes, but in some cases we will leave out a few mails if they are boring, not funny, or we think it would take value from the thread. We won't remove it just because it is insulting toward us or anything else.
No. As of August 22, 2010 there are 3,232 e-mails in the 'cluebag' folder (up from 1,386 on Dec 28, 2006) that may appear in the future. Some e-mails are just for our archive, if we think we want the mail headers for some reason. Most of them are Postal fodder.
Postal entries are very much an "eye of the beholder" thing. However, we will add this to our to-do list, and try to come up with a 'best of'. Feel free to mail us and give feedback for which ones you enjoyed the most.
As you may have noticed or suspected, we often inject references to various things including geek humor. This includes references to pigeons for example, which are highly liked by some members of attrition and invoke memories of fun documents like RFC 2549 - IP over Avian Carriers with Quality of Service. Some references are a spin on other geek humor such as our ROT-26 comments, joking about ROT-13. In general, some of us are fond of small woodland creatures, much maligned fowl and other oddities. We are also prone to include words or phrases from our fans or friends as an anonymous shout out for their contribution to keeping us amused.
No. We assume (hope) there are bigger fish in the sea.