View Full Version : Maelstrom of mail
08-06-2002, 06:50 PM
Why do list serv's have maelstrom in their address (such as email@example.com)? The school is the host, but what is the origin of the server name (I assume it's a server)? The word maelstrom means, of course, "any irresistable influence or movement."
08-06-2002, 07:28 PM
Somewhere, I'm speculating, there's a geek sitting back smirking and saying "huhuh see what I did? - it's the mail server and I decided to call it Maelstrom, see? mail, mael... where are you going?"
08-06-2002, 09:42 PM
The word maelstrom is the word for whirlpool in Dutch. Literally, it is whirl stream, but it sounds like mail stream, I suppose. I assume the first element is related to mill. Metaphorically, I guess it can mean irresistable, but that is not its core meaning.
08-07-2002, 11:58 PM
Yes, why a maelstrom? What makes a mailserver an irresistable force?
08-08-2002, 03:19 AM
I'm pretty sure Mange is correct. Geeks generally have an affinity for puns and worldplay, and maelstrom/mailstorm is too good to pass up. I'm tempted to name my mail server that...
The Jargon file (the geek's dictionary) has this to say in the section Jargon Construction: Soundalike Slang (http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/Soundalike-Slang.html):Hackers will often make rhymes or puns in order to convert an ordinary word or phrase into something more interesting. (...) This is not really similar to the Cockney rhyming slang it has been compared to in the past, because Cockney substitutions are opaque whereas hacker punning jargon is intentionally transparent.
If maelstrom.stjohns.edu is the specific server you're wondering about, you should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and ask.
The direct route is often the best one.
Is there some sort of anti-Guadere's that made me not make any intentional jokes based on wordplay in this post?
08-08-2002, 05:20 AM
Geeks also like impressive-sounding names for things (I'll admit that I have succumbed to a little of this ethic in the past; I could have called my software 'Consignment Stock Control System', but I chose to call it 'DOMINION™).
Names and terms from various mythologies (particularly Greek and Viking) and classic literature are very commonly used for network objects, I have noticed.
Industrial metaphors are also popular, so an information gathering tool might be called "DATA MINER™", a reporting tool might be called "PageForge™" and so on. Silly really, but sometimes serves a purpose - it's much easier for users to tell me that Dominion isn't working (although of course this never happens) than to waste the first dozen words of the sentence trying to make me understand what it is they are referring to.
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.