My address, a rant


A friend writes to ask me for my address — in this case, my snail mail address, since he has my e-mail address (and has just used it), but I get requests all the time (sent to me by various indirect means) for my e-mail addresses too. I get hundreds of appeals, of both types.

I find this baffling, and annoying. These are intelligent people, who should understand that in this wonderful world of digital tech, enormous resources are easily available for everyone to access. In particular, you can do a search.


In this case, search on my name and you get some vast number of pages, but at the VERY TOP you will find:

(#1) Top two hits in googling on: Arnold Zwicky

Wikipedia doesn’t want entries to include net or postal addresses, because that invites both (a) annoying requests of the “Dear famous person, please do my homework for me / please explain your writings or your creative works / etc.” sort; and (b) harassing mail, not to mention harassment at your home. (I am often exhorted to never give out any of my addresses, except to friends or business connections; I freely disregard this advice, which I’m about to defy right here in this posting, because I value availability over privacy.).

So don’t bother looking at Wikipedia.

Ok, click on my blog. That will get you a page with my most recent posting, and down the right side a very long list of Pages I have created — at the cost of literally thousands of hours of labor (an hour or so a day, every day since December 2008) — to provide helpful information for readers of my blog. But, again, at the VERY TOP of this list you will find:

(#2) Note: the second Page on this list is “About: contact AMZ”

Ok, click on that. And you will get:

(#3) That’s all there is; there isn’t any more

This entire process should take you no more than a few seconds, even if you type terribly slowly, as I do.

Could I do better than this?

4 Responses to “My address, a rant”

  1. Max Vasilatos Says:

    i have had a sense, probably wrongheaded, that asking a person directly for their snail address specifically, is the polite thing to do in that it signals a respect for their preference whether to release it or not, despite what might be easily obtainable via a search. if they then hand it over, there’s an implicit nod, and permission, yes you may send me things in the postal mail, the way that people who know each other might. this cements the relationship, i am not lying when i say we know each other. interacting via the post is rare enough now, it has some significance.

    as i said, i am likely wrong. my snail address is on my business card, which i hand out promiscuously. my phone number is not.

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    Well, in the case at hand, my correspondent had asked me ahead of time if I would welcome some postcards from the trip he’s on. I must admit I thought that was odd, but I said I would be delighted to get postcards, as indeed I am. (After all, I live in a social desert.)

    People also send me little gifts on occasion. Or have them delivered to me. That usually makes me cry with pleasure. Sometimes they tell me ahead of time that the gift is coming, usually they don’t, and it just turns up. Every so often, they ask if it’s ok if they send me something; I realize now that these last people might be concerned that they’re presuming a closeness that doesn’t exist. My feeling is that there should be no issue if the gifts are small or silly, and indeed I’ve gotten little things from people I barely know, or don’t know at all, or who remain anonymous — readers who want to cheer me up or thank me for my postings (or my teaching in the old days) or whatever.

    (Oh, shit! Anneli, I’ve just discovered some tiny origami birds you sent me in the Days of Alcoholism Awareness, oh, 10 months ago! In an envelope, under a pile on my work table. (Well, those were messy times.) How sweet! Thank you.)

  3. Max Vasilatos Says:

    i note that you also leave off your phone number in your contact information, which is the horse’s mouth, and should mean something about what’s welcome

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Damned right. I effectively have armed guards standing all around my phone. 20-30 spam calls a day, trapped by a phone answering program. Even a familiar name and number aren’t enough to get through; clever spoofing programs mimic these. So either I have to know that this person is going to call me at this specific time, or they have to leave a message so that I hear their voice and can return their call.

      One of the spoofing programs sends me the your-computer-has-been-compromised spam message apparently from me (correctly named) at my actual phone number. About two weeks ago, this evil program went into some kind of manic overdrive and sent exactly the same message, every 20 minutes for hours and hours. Creepy as hell.

      The phone spam is like the spomments on my blog (over 5 million of those in 13 years and still rolling in).

      I get a very modest amount of e-mail spam, and it’s really easy to detect.

      Stalker and death-threat messages came only by phone (none at all any more that way; I assume the callers won’t leave a recorded message for fear of being tracked down) or in the snail mail (none at all that way for some time, who knows why).

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