The Hounds of the Internet is the longest established online group for the discussion of Sherlock Holmes and kindred topics.
How the Hounds-L listserv works
Consider a club which produces a newsletter. It may have a secretary and an Editor for the newsletter. The Editor may take care of creating and sending the news letter out to a mailing list provided by the secretary (and the mailing list provided by the secretary may indicate whether the Editor is to mail the newsletter annually or monthly. To get on the mailing list, one would send a letter to the Secretary, while to contribute an article one would send a letter to the Editor.
So, too, many mailing lists are handled through two addresses: let's call them The Secretary's Address and The Editor's Address (these are just facets of the list processor programme).
Secretary—This is the address to which you send requests to join or leave the list, or to get information on the number of current subscribers or to have the list mailed to you in "nodigest" format (messages sent throughout the day, instead of being held and sent as one large daily message). For the Hounds of the Internet this is Alexander E. Braun's (the list owner) email: courageousmurray @ aol.com.
To subscribe to the Hounds of the Internet, send a message to the Secretary address, with the subject line “Hounds Subscription,” requesting that you be admitted to the Hounds.
You should send the message from the email address at which you wish to receive the posts from the Hounds of the Internet (for example, if you use AOL as your internet provider, but want to use Yahoo for your Hounds messages, send the message from your Yahoo account). If you later want to unsubscribe, post messages, or change your options on the mailing list, those actions must originate from this Yahoo address.
When you are subscribed, you will receive a reference sheet of commands for the listserver. Among other things, the reference list will tell you how to change your mode of message delivery, how to obtain a listing of the current subscribers, and how to unsubscribe from the list.
Editor—Once you are a member of the Hounds of the Internet, to contribute to the ongoing Sherlockian discussions by posting your message to all the subscribers to the list, the address is hounds-l @ mlist.is.ed.ac.uk. This is not the address to which to send a message to unsubscribe, or reconfigure for nodigest format, or to postpone messages.
If you are on the internet and are a fan of the Master, give us a try (you can always unsubscribe later). Hope to see you over in the Hounds!
Command list, updated July 2016
Here is a list of commands which one might find useful as a member of the Hounds of the Internet. To issue a server command, send a message to: SYMPA @ list.is.ed.ac.uk (never to the HOUNDS-L address).
A message sent to hounds-l @ mlist.is.ed.ac.uk will go to all the other subscribers and should be used only for discussion of Sherlockian topics. A message sent to SYMPA @ list.is.ed.ac.uk will go to the computerized listserv program at Edinburgh which handles the mechanical details of the list operation.
When you send a command to SYMPA, make the subject line in your message blank if possible, or use the word DUMMY as the subject.
Multiple commands can be sent in the same message, providing a separate line is used for each command. Send ONLY the commands. If possible, do not include any extraneous items such as "thank you" or your signature. Or include a line with the word QUIT after your command or commands so that everything following that line will be ignored.
These commands are only operational while you are a Hounds subscriber and must be sent from the account from which you subscribed to the Hounds (for example, if you have two email accounts and if you subscribe to the Hounds from one account and send a “query” command from the other, you will be told that you are not subscribed from that account).
Hounds of the Internet list user email commands
All commands should be sent to SYMPA @ MLIST.IS.ED.AC.UK and not to the group!
To post to the group send your message to HOUNDS-L @ MLIST.IS.ED.AC.
If you have any problems with your postings, please do not query the whole Hounds list. Instead send a message directly to the list owner, Alexander E. Braun, at courageousmurray @ aol.com.
Subscriber list of list user email commands:
WHICH—Returns the list of lists to which one is subscribed, as well as the configuration of his or her subscription to each of the lists (DIGEST, NOMAIL, SUMMARY, CONCEAL).
UNSUBSCRIBE firstname.lastname@example.org [your@email]—Requests unsubscription from the Hounds list.
SET email@example.com DIGEST—Puts the subscriber in "digest" mode for the Hounds' postings. Instead of receiving email from the list in a normal manner, the subscriber will periodically receive it in a digest. These deigests are sent daily, at 10:00 p.m. Edinburgh time.
SET firstname.lastname@example.org DIGESTPLAIN—Puts the subscriber in “digest” mode for the Hounds list. Instead of receiving email from the list in a normal manner, the subscriber will periodically receive it in a digest in compilation mode, sent as a plain text email with all attachments. The sending period for these digests is regulated by the list owner.
SET email@example.com SUMMARY—Puts the subscriber in “summary” mode for the Hounds list. Instead of receiving email from the list in a normal manner, the subscriber will periodically receive the list of messages. This mode is very close to the DIGEST reception mode, but the subscriber only receives the list of messages.
SET firstname.lastname@example.org MAIL—Puts the subscriber in “normal” mode (default) for the Hounds list. This option is mainly used to cancel the “nomail,” “summary” or “digest” modes. If the subscriber was in "nomail" mode, he or she will receive email from the list in a normal manner again.
SET email@example.com NOMAIL—Puts subscriber in “nomail” mode for the Hounds list. This mode is used when a subscriber no longer wants to receive email from the list, but nevertheless wishes to retain the possibility of posting to the list. This mode therefore prevents the subscriber from having to unsubscribe and resubscribe later on.
SET firstname.lastname@example.org TXT—Puts subscriber in “txt” mode for the Hounds list. This mode is used when a subscriber wishes to receive emails sent in both format, txt/html and txt/plain only, in txt/plain format.
SET email@example.com HTML—Puts subscriber in “html” mode for the Hounds list. This mode is used when a subscriber wishes to receive emails sent in both format txt/html and txt/plain only, in txt/html format.
SET firstname.lastname@example.org URLIZE — Puts subscriber in “urlize” mode for the Hounds list. This mode is used when a subscriber wishes not to receive attached files. The attached files are replaced by a URL leading to the file stored on the list site.
SET email@example.com NOT_ME—Puts subscriber in “not_me” mode for the Hounds list. This mode is used when a subscriber wishes not to receive back the message that he/she has sent to the list.
History of the Hounds, by Les Moskowitz
The Hounds of the Internet mailing list (HOUNDS-L) has been in existence since 1992.
The group is a spin-off from an older one (DOROTHYL), a mailing list which covers mysteries in general, and which began in 1991. One of the members of that list, Alan Block, discovered that there were many Holmes fans there, so he posted a message to that group and started the Hounds. To the best that Alan can recall, initially there were six members.
The Hounds also owe the idea of noms to the original DOROTHYL mailing list. That list allows members to choose a favorite character or author of mysteries as a “nom,” or nickname, and the idea of Hounds choosing a Sherlockian reference has been carried over to this group.
It is not clear exactly when the first Hounds message was sent, but on August 18, 1992 at 7:55 AM, Alan posted a message announcing that The Hounds of the Internet was now a recognized scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars.
Shortly after, in an attempt to increase conversation and stimulate activity on the mailing list, Joe Coppola introduced the idea of discussing one Holmes adventure each week. That practice has continued. Joe announced the story to be discussed during the following week until May, 1998. Since then, Steve Clarkson, Rosemary Michaud, Brad Keefauver, Don Dillistone, and Alexander Braun have each announced the story of the week in addition to posting the opening series of questions and commentary about each adventure.
Alan Block served as the list's first list owner from 1992-1996. Succeeding list owners have been Les Moskowitz (1996-2000), Steve Clarkson (2000-2004), and Alexander Braun (2004-present).
Initially, the list was run manually by Alan, but as the membership grew, that process became unwieldy and at 2 PM CST, February 15, 1994, the list name was changed to HOUNDS-L and the mailing was handled by an automated list server.
The list has been moved three times since then. On November 28, 1994, our address changed to firstname.lastname@example.org, where it stayed until March 22, 1995, when it moved to Kent State University. In July 2016, Alex, the current list owner, made arrangements to have the list hosted by the University of Edinburgh, a very suitable location in view of the fact that it is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's alma mater. The address is now email@example.com.
Hounds listing on the Sherlockian Who's Who
The 60 Stories—an Introduction (from past Hounds discussions)
The View Halloa, by Rosemary Michaud
Traditional Sherlockain Societies
Sherlockian Societies and Locations