Net Mail Doc
NET MAIL is public or private messages transmitted from one BBS to another BBS. This is accomplished by Addressing the Message to a particular BBS. NetMail is not only for SysOps but can be used by anyone (often by prior arrangement if a long distance call is required ..for example for someone in Nashville sending a message to someone in California). You can in fact, on quite a few systems, make arrangements with the SysOp to send a file to another BBS for pick up by a friend. When we send to another BBS we use thier NetWork Address. If the BBS you are on has a NetMail message section, chances are, they are a member of a Network. How to enter messages in the NetMail area depends quite a lot on the BBS software. But most all of the Software will prompt you for a Net, and Node Number of the BBS you are sending to. Sometimes (depending on the Network) you may even need to know the Zone and Region of the BBS. It is really not as complicated as it sounds -- Imagine trying to explain how the telephone system works to someone who has never used it. It's easy once you get the hang of it.
a typical GhotiNet Address: (GhotiNet is a Network. Prononunced Fish Net)
^^^^^^^^ 6:5555/422 | ^ ^^^^ ^^^ Network Name | | | ZONE ---| | |---NODE NET
Network - a Group of BBSs which all have the ability to exchange mail via a common carrier and similar software. In the case of GhotiNet all systems are Binkley compatable (which follow the FTS (Fido Technical Standards). Nodelist - a listing that the BBS software uses as a `phone-book' of members of the Network. In a Network BBSs refer to each other by thier Network address. GhotiNet calls thier Nodelist GHOTLIST. Zone - the largest division of the Nodelist often a Continent or as in GhotiNet the entire Network uses the same Zone. Region - the Next to the largest division of the Nodelist. a region may be as small as a state and as large as many states. Ghoti divides thier regions into individual states from an alpha listing starting with states of the U.S.A. Net - a `local' group of BBSs which usually are within local calling area. In the above example it is local GhotiNet 5555. Node - a BBS or System. A private Node is a Private System which all mail is routed through thier Hub. GhotiNet uses even numbers for full time Systems or BBSs and odd numbers for part-time or private systems.
Bridge - in the case of a BBS it is a BBS belonging to more than one Network who can send NetMail to either, or (as in the case of Control Systems) other BBSs can send mail addressed to his BBS which will then be readressed and sent into the other Network. In the case of two Networks with totally different technologies the BBS is often called a Gateway. Hub - A network mail helper. A BBS which routes mail (and Files) in the Network. In some cases a Hub may supply an entire segment of the community with echos or even route to Long- distance Nodes within a local Net. A Hub can be a NetHub or a Regional Hub or even a Star System which routes within the entire Zone or Network. Coordinators - a SysOp who has volunteered to help out and coordinate activity within the Network. Activity such as keeping the correct listings in the Nodelist. To join a Net you would apply with the Network Coordinator (NC) in your local area. There are also Regional Coordinators (RC) and Zone Coordinator(s).
Now remember that NetMail and EchoMail are really two different flavors of mail. Consider Echomail public conversations and Netmail more of a one-on-one communication. And don't let anyone kid you, the SysOp can always read Private mail. Often in an echo you will see what is known as an origin line. An origin line is always at the end of a message to let everyone know the originating systems address. For example;
*Origin: The Best BBS in New York City "Izzies Hideout" (8:3542/221.0)
It often includes a slogan and the Name of the BBS. The address (X:XXXX/XXX.X) is defined as Zone:Net/Node.Point - we will need this address in order to send netmail to the person writing the message.
Lets say John on Izzies HideOut wrote a message in an Echo which you wanted to give a private response to. Now you couldn't do that in the echo and even if the BBS you were using supported private messages in that echo, it would most likely not be recieved as a private message. Net mail is the way to go. Go to the Net mail message area of the BBS and enter a message. Many BBS software handles Net Mail prompts differently. You can almost bet that if your message will require a Long Distance call the software will reqire you to obtain credit with the system to send your message. Many SysOps will be most happy to oblige and the cost is often very small. This may require you to send the SysOp some small donation to cover the call, in much the same way if i used your phone to make a long distance call. On many BBS's the ? will get you help at any prompt. You will need to enter the Name of the person you are sending to and the address of the BBS which he reads his mail on. For the address if the Zone is the same then you do not need to enter a Zone in the address. You do however always need to enter a Net/Node Number. Most BBS software has not caught up to point technology yet so you do not need to worry about it. But if it is important I would drop a line to the SysOp to be sure they forward the message to the point system. In GhotiNet Points are not used. The philosphy being that Private systems are considered an integral part of the community as well as full time BBS's.
A bridge is a BBS that belongs to more than one Network. Often a bridge supports sending net mail to either one zone or another or, in the case of different networks, one network or the other.
A word about Zones; It is not always that a BBS that you use supports Net Mail to all the zones. The SysOp does not often compile `other' nodelists than the Network they belongs to. If you see an address with leading zeros (and without a zone reference), for example 008/010 then it is a GtNet message and that message can only be responded to by either GtNetMail or if the BBS you are using connects to a Gt/Fido Bridge. There are currenlty only a handfull of these bridges in existance. The first is in Nashville TN and called CONTROL SYSTEMS (007/001, 1:116/36, 6:5555/30 and 7:721/29). Many of the Sysops in Nashville who carry the Gt Echos will send a message through the Bridge for you. Zones 1, 2, and 3 is traditionally FidoNet and i believe a recent addition of zone 4 also) - in FidoNet zones are geographic by continent. Zone 6 is GhotiNet (pronounced Fish Net) growing Nation wide and originating in Nashville TN. Zone 7 is AlterNet which now encompasses America, Canada, and Europe. Zone 8 is RBBS Net. Zone 9 is Phoenix Net. If you see a different looking address (different from the Net/Node technology) such as @System.My.Comp.Bob.etc it is often an address of UseNet or Compuserv or other<tm> Nets which may even be a commercial network. Many UseNet bridges are currently members of GtNet, FidoNet and AlterNet.
Now you must realize that there is a difference between Echo mail and Net Mail. If you send a Net message (private) to 6:5556/318 to John Smith only John Smith (and the SysOp) would be able to read that message. Often a Moderator will refer two users fighting or carrying on to use Net Mail. Net mail originally was the only form of communication that was available. A message went from one BBS to another. Echo mail was designed as conferenced Mail to share and have everyone participate. Originally the `echoing' software supported only all public messages (non- Private). Since then the technology has changed and there is software which supports private messages in echos though it is not currently being used. There are exceptions to the rule though and upon this writing i know of at least two echos which support private messages. The ADULT Echo - a FidoNet National Echo which is for adult singles only and the GAMEROOM Echo - a Nashville Local echo.