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Electronic Mail: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Archive-name: mail/faq-pointers
Version: $Id: email.n,v 1.15 2005/06/03 12:59:08 dalamb Exp $
Posting-Frequency: weekly
Maintainer: (David Alex Lamb)
Copyright: 1997-2005 David Alex Lamb

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
I maintain a couple of Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ) postings about how to
find e-mail addresses, and, as a consequence, get lots of questions about
other aspects of electronic mail.  This is a collection of links to answers to
those questions, mostly maintained by other people.

We'll start with a non-question: before you send e-mail, take the time to
learn about etiquette in cyberspace at

1. How does e-mail work?
   See <URL:>.
2. How do I find someone's E-Mail address?
   See <URL:>.
3. How do I find a celebrity's e-mail address?  Celebrities have as much, or
   more, reason than most people to keep their e-mail addresses private.
   However, you can find out more about various celebrities as follows:
   a. Several of the Web-based address books at
      <URL:> can search for
      celebrity addresses.
   b. CelebSite at <URL:> has biographies of
      celebrities from the entertainment industry, sports, models, and
   c. The Internet Movie Database at <URL:>
   d. A&E Television lists this as one of their most frequently asked
      questions at <URL:>, and
      maintains a large database of bibliographies at
      <URL:> of famous people, past and present.
4. How can I find someone's name from their e-mail address?  (if, of course,
   there is some reason why you don't want to send them e-mail to ask them):
   a. Use the Internet Address Finder at <URL:>.
   b. Some sites support a protocol called 'finger' that translates local
      mailbox names to full names (plus other information).  See Andrew
      Starr's Finger FAQ at <URL:>.
   c. Some other Internet directory services support lookup by e-mail address;
      see the list in the finding e-mail addresses FAQ at
5. How can I stop receiving junk e-mail?
   a. See the FAQ on stopping junk mail, e-mail, and phone calls at
      <URL:http://www.obviously.COM/recycle/guides/junkmail.html>, or the
      CPSR's (Computing Professionals for Social Responsibility) junkmail FAQ
      at <URL:>.
   b. You might try spamblocking at
      <URL:> your e-mail address,
      but this will also inconvenience people you'd actually like to
      communicate with.
   c. Filter your incoming e-mail; see
   d. If you had a lot of energy, you could try tracking down where the e-mail
      came from; see <URL:>
   e. See the e-mail abuse FAQ at
      <URL:> for a better
      understanding of what's going with unsolicited e-mail.
6. How can I find an e-mail pen-pal?
   a. There are penpal clubs, but I haven't researched them yet.
   b. You could post to newsgroup soc.penpals at <URL:news:soc.penpals>.
      Unfortunately that will probably also get you on a lot of junk-email
      lists (as would posting to any newsgroup).
   c. You could find a newsgroup about a subject in which you're interested,
      read it for a few weeks, then see if someone who posts there might be
      interested in correspondence.
7. How can I customize my outgoing e-mail?
   See <URL:>.
8. How can I protect the privacy of my e-mail?
   a. Get PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), a very popular public key encryption
      program, at <URL:>
9. How can I find out about mailing lists I could join?
   a. Check out the very large list of publicly-accessible mailing lists at
   b. or the guide to social newsgroups and mailing lists at
   c. or the list of gateways at <URL:
      gateways/part1/> between mailing lists and newsgroups.  This list hasn't
      been updated since 1996, so is likely out of date.
10. How can I set up a mailing list that other people can use?
   a. Use a Mailing List Service Provider; see
   b. Get your site to install mailing list administration software; see
11. How can I find lots of addresses to create a mailing list?
   Don't, unless you want to become known as a spammer.  Many directory
   services are *intentionally* set up to make it hard to create mailing
12. Can I send e-mail to <*insert name of far-away country here*>?
   See the International E-Mail Accessibility FAQ at
13. How can I play games via e-mail?
   See <URL:>.
14. How can I access Internet services via e-mail?
   See <URL:>.
15. Where can I get more information?
   a. MS-Windows, MS-Dos, and OS/2 mail and news overview at
      <URL:> and software at
   b. Reading mail and news offline: overview at
      <URL:> and
      software at <URL:
   c. Yahoo's index on electronic mail at
   d. Inter-Links' guide to E-Mail at <URL:
   e. FAQs about MIME at <URL:>
      (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)
   f. Setting up E-Mail on UNIX; see

Loosely related topics:
1. How can I track down a host name if I only have an IP address?
   See <URL:>.
2. How can I send a FAX via the Internet?
   See <URL:>.

Copying conditions: You may freely store this compilation, exactly as it
appears here (including all the auxiliary headers, copyright information, and
reference to the master copy), with minor editing for presentation format, in
any electronic medium (including CD-ROM).  For other forms of copying, contact
the current maintainer.  Copyright of the items to which this one is linked
are governed by the individual authors of those items.
"Yo' ideas need to be thinked befo' they are say'd" - Ian Lamb, age 3.5   qucis->cs to reply (it's a long story...)

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM