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The ``Clarissa'' Mailing List FAQ

By Donald Lancon, Jr.

19 Aug 2001

WARNING: This FAQ is so old it makes Strom Thurmond look like Jonathan Lipnicki. (Apologies to Dennis Miller.) What I'm saying is, most of the info in this FAQ is 5 years old, so caveat reader. The instructions on subscribing to the list still work, though. (Except now Majordomo sends out a confirmation message instead of immediately subscribing you.)

List FAQ contents

1. What should I know before we get started?

jump to...

Purpose and scope of FAQ

[next part of this answer / next question]

This is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions file) for the ``clarissa'' internet mailing list (``the list''), which is devoted to discussion of the actress Melissa Joan Hart (MJH).

This document contains information about the mailing list itself, including how to subscribe/unsubscribe and where to get old list mail. If you are looking for information about Melissa Joan Hart or other topics that are discussed on the list, see one of the following FAQs:
The Melissa Joan Hart FAQ -- information about the actress, except stuff covered by the other two FAQs...
The Clarissa Explains It All FAQ -- information about the Nickelodeon series in which Melissa played the title character
The Sabrina, the Teenage Witch FAQ -- information about the ABC series in which Melissa currently plays the title character

Latest version of FAQ

[next part of this answer / next question]

The latest version of this FAQ is the hypertext version at:

A plain-text version of the old ``Clarissa FAQ'' may be found at:

Note: If you're not using a web-browser, the above URL is interpreted in the following way:

  1. use an FTP program of some sort and connect to
  2. if necessary, enter the word ``anonymous'' for your name (or login-ID)
  3. enter your complete e-mail address as your password
  4. change to the directory pub/clarissa/guides
  5. get the file clarifaq.txt.gz

(The .gz extension means that this is a GZIPped file. See the README file in the same directory for info about decoding GZIPped files.)

For more information about anonymous-FTP, see Zen and the Art of the Internet at:

If you are using a web-browser, just use the link provided (which actually uses HTTP to connect to the site -- don't worry if you don't understand what that means).

Completeness and accuracy of FAQ

[next part of this answer / next question]

The main source of information I used in compiling this FAQ (other than just my experience on the list) was archived ``clarissa'' list mail. When I say something like ``Adam Lieberman said on 08 Mar 1993...'' or ``(Adam Lieberman, 08 Mar 1993)'' I am referring to a message that Adam sent to the ``clarissa'' list on that date.

Most of the stuff in this FAQ won't be changing over time, but some of the info in questions 7 and 8 is a little out of date. Sorry, but I just haven't taken the time to update these questions. I'll get to it someday.

I have tried to make this FAQ as correct as possible, but there may be a few mistakes.

Please let me know if you find a mistake. (My e-mail address should be at the top and bottom of this document.)

New in this version

[next question]

19 Aug 2001
After a long hibernation, replaced the direct reference to the list address in question 2 with a more convoluted way of presenting it, so that spambots wouldn't recognize it as an e-mail address. Also, other minor formatting changes. (Don't expect regular updates now; I just wanted to cut down on spam to the list.)
30 Jun 1997
You guessed it... added another abbreviation to question 10.
18 Jun 1997
Updated some old links and added abbreviations to question 10.
03 Apr 1997
Slightly altered info about archived listmail in question 5 to reflect current state of affairs at
23 Dec 1996
Added more entries to question 10.
28-29 Nov 1996
Added a few more entries to question 10 and changed the stuff about the plain-text version of the FAQ in this question.
23 Nov 1996
Added a few more entries to question 10, added question 11, changed links at bottom of page, and fixed some HTML problems.
09 Nov 1996
Fixed some stupid HTML errors.
06 Nov 1996
Added a few entries to question 10.
03 Nov 1996
Changed the instructions for subscribing to the list in question 3 and rewrote a little of questions 2 and 5.
pre-Nov 1996
When I split up The Clarissa FAQ into this FAQ and the three others mentioned above, I rewrote/reorganized the answers to questions 1 and 5 and added question 10.

2. What is the ``clarissa'' mailing list?

[previous / next question]

A mailing list is basically just a bunch of people who are interested in sending and receiving e-mail about a topic of common interest. The purpose of the ``clarissa'' mailing list is the discussion of Melissa Joan Hart, Clarissa Explains It All, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and other related topics of interest to Melissa fans.

The mailing list itself is a single address to which people send their messages. For example, the ``clarissa'' list address is <1@2.3>, where the numbers represent the words ``clarissa'', ``tcp'' and ``com'', respectively. (Sorry for the convoluted way of giving the address. I did it that way so web robots wouldn't be able to get the list address off of this page.)

Note that this is not the e-mail address of Melissa Joan Hart or (if this were even possible) Clarissa Darling! Nor is it the address of any person or entity officially associated with the show, Nickelodeon, or Thunder Pictures. Finally, it is not the address you use to subscribe to the list; see the next question for that.

When someone sends a message to the list address, copies of the message are sent out to everyone who has ``subscribed'' to the list. ``Subscribing'' to the list just means placing your name on the list of e-mail addresses to which the messages are distributed. It doesn't cost anything to subscribe to the mailing list.

3. How do I subscribe to the ``clarissa'' mailing list?

[previous / next question]

Easy. Send an e-mail message to with the single line:

subscribe clarissa

in the body of the message. Your e-mail address will be picked out of the header of your message, so be sure to subscribe from the computer where you want to list mail to be sent. What you put in the subject line of the message doesn't matter; it is ignored.

There is also a ``digest'' version of the list, which you can subscribe to by sending the message:

subscribe clarissa-digest

The digest version contains the exact same information as the regular version, but messages are collected into groups and sent out only a few times a day instead of one message at a time.

Note that Majordomo is a machine (or, actually, I guess it's a program). It will not understand English sentences such as, ``Please put me on the Clarissa mailing list.'' You must format your request as described above. (And be sure to send your request to and not to the list itself.)

If you have successfully subscribed, you should soon get an e-mail message from Majordomo giving you instructions on how to post to the list, what is and is not appropriate to post, and so forth. It also tells you how to unsubscribe from the list. Be sure to keep a copy of these instructions for future reference.

4. When was the list founded and who is responsible for it?

[previous / next question]

The first message in the list archives is dated 17 Feb 1992. Jim Lick has been in charge of the list since it began. He can be reached in his capacity as ``clarissa'' list manager at 1@2.3, where the numbers represent ``clarissa-manager'', ``tcp'' and ``com'', respectively. (Again, I gave the address in that format to thwart web robots.) By the way, this is whom you talk to if you have trouble subscribing to or unsubscribing from the list.

5. Where can I get old list mail?

[previous / next question]

Old ``archived'' list mail can be obtained via anonymous-FTP at:
mail from archives (so supposedly complete within any given month) -- covers Feb 1992 - Aug 1993 and Mar 1994 - last month.
mail from various list members (so may be missing messages) -- covers Sep 1993 - Feb 1994

See the README files in the above two directories for more information.

You can also search old list mail for key words and phrases at:

6. What are ``ferkel'' and ``''? (a little list history)

[previous / next question]

The ``clarissa'' list used to be maintained on a computer called (at the University of California at Santa Barbara). In Aug 1993, it moved to, which was physically located at a Washington state university. So older list mail will have the ferkel address on it and newer mail will have (By the way, if you're wondering what the name ``ferkel'' refers to, I think it's the name of a pig. I don't know anything else about this, though.)

Until May 1996, mail sent to ferkel would be automatically forwarded to, but that has now been disabled. (Many of the messages that went to the ferkel address were of the ``junk e-mail'' variety anyway.)

So what is Well, it's Jim Lick (list manager) and some of his friends, who set up the site so they could continue to run various mailing lists and other things. That's all. It's not an actual company.

In Feb 1996, the list had to move again (only physically -- the address didn't change). Unfortunately, this move brought with it a monthly charge for's network connectivity. So Jim and friends now have to pay $650 a month for partial use of a T1 internet connection. The only way the mailing lists, FTP archives, etc., at can continue to exist is through donations.

Please see the Donations to web-page at

to find out how to make a donation to (and learn more about its history). Every little bit helps!

7. Does Melissa know about the list?

[previous / next question]

Yes, she and her mother Paula (Melissa's agent) both know about the ``clarissa'' list, but neither of them have ever posted to it. For the past several months, I and another list member have carried on a (rather sparse) e-mail correspondence with Paula and occasionally posted messages from her to the list. You can see the results (so far) on my homepage, at:

8. Does anyone on the list know Melissa personally?

[previous / next question]

Yes. The editor of CEIA, Richard Fernandes, has posted messages to the list under the name ``Rickedit'', but he hasn't posted anything in a long time and is currently not subscribed to the list. Another editor using the name ``urien'' posted a few messages to the list in early 1994.

The creator of CEIA, Mitchell Kriegman, has recently posted to the list and has been answering list members questions through another list member, HMurchison. You can read Mitchell's (voluminous) comments at my homepage:

Other people have posted saying that they know her as a friend, but, of course, such messages cannot really be verified. For example, a recent message of this kind came from Patrick Hait (20 Nov 1995):

I used to live right down the block from her before she moved to the city 3 or 4 years ago. We grew up together in West Sayville, Long Island. Me and her sisters were very good friends. Her mom, Paula and dad Bill were very good friends with my parents... (and still are). They have recently moved to elgelwood, NJ where they live in a MANSION. Melissa's whole family is very successful. Her second youngest sister, emily was the little `TOMMY' on Broadway a few years ago. They are a very successful family. As you would probably like to know, Melissa is the coolest person... She is very nice... well, anything else ya wanna know?...

Sometimes we can only judge the ``truth'' of someone's posts in retrospect. For example, on 27 Feb 1995, Jamie Walsh said:

Hi All, I just met Melissa Hart snowboarding on Friday. She is a really great person. A few of my friends and I stayed over at her condo and had lotsa fun with her and her sister. Anyone else know her personally?

Now, this might easily be dismissed as a play for attention were it not for a little piece of information he included in a later message (Jamie Walsh, 27 Feb 1995):

BTW in case anyone doesn't know, she is the guest star on ``Touched By An Angel'' next Saturday.

Melissa did indeed guest-star in an episode of Touched By An Angel that was filmed in Spr 1995, although it didn't air until 21 Oct 1995. (Incidentally, she met her current boyfriend, James Fields [not Walsh!], while filming this show.)

Other people on the list (now and/or in the past) have met Melissa at various personal appearances, etc. I hope to someday collect messages of this ilk on a page on my ``Melissa Joan Hart'' homepage, but I haven't had a chance to do this, yet.

9. How can I find out who is on the mailing list?

[previous / next question]

Send the message

who clarissa

to You will receive a list of e-mail addresses of people subscribed to the list. Note that this gives e-mail addresses only, not real names. (Actually, some addresses in the list do also have the member's real names, but this is not true of everyone.)

For more information about what ``Majordomo'' can do, send the message



Remember that the subject line of the message is ignored. Place requests in the body of the message.

10. What are all these abbreviations?

[previous / next question]

Once you're on the list, you'll see a lot of abbreviations being thrown around. Here are some you may run across.

Related to Melissa Joan Hart

AFTS, a Usenet newsgroup (or the homepage for it)
Alicia Silverstone
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Big Help-A-Thon
Big Sis
Clarissa or Melissa Joan Hart -- from ``Oh! Those Darlings'' skit in ``Misguidance Counselor'' (#123)
Clarissa Darling
Clarissa Darling News Network, from ``CNN'' (#105)
Clarissa Explains It All
Clarissa Marie Darling
``Clarissa, Now'' -- Clarissa pilot
official title of CEIA episode #105
Christmas Snow (1986 TV movie MJH was in)
Did You Notice?
Empty Nest Syndrome, from ``A New Mom'' (#154)
Empty Pocket Syndrome, from ``Punch the Clocks'' (#131)
Ferguson Explains It All (title of CEIA episode #161)
Jason Zimbler (played Ferguson on CEIA)
Kids Choice Awards
``Kids Pick the President''
Larisa Oleynik
Melissa Joan Hart
Melissa Joan Katherine Hart (third name misspelled)
Melissa Joan Catherine Hart (third name spelled correctly)
Mitchell Kriegman, creator of CEIA
My So-Called Life
Nick in the Afternoon (block of afternoon Nick programming)
No Parents Please, from ``The Darling Wars'' (#128)
``Oh-be kay-be'', a version of ``okay'' that Clarissa uses in several episodes
Our Favorite Family (the Darlings, in this case)
Our Favorite Actress (Melissa Joan Hart, of course!)
Point Of View, from ``A New Look'' (#125)
Ren and Stimpy
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (Showtime movie or ABC series)
The Secret World of Alex Mack (Larisa Oleynik comes up sometimes)
Touched By An Angel
Fri programming on U.K. Channel Four [stands for ``Thank Four It's Friday'']
Fri night block of programming (8-10pm ET) on ABC [includes STTW]
Teenage Mom Trauma, from ``ME 101'' (#120)
Thomas Tupper High School
Thomas Tupper Junior High
You Can't Do That On Television (an old Nickelodeon show)

See also my Alternate episode titles page for other episode references:

General ``netspeak''

As Far As I Can Recall
As Far As I Know
As Far As I Recall
As The Case May Be
By The Way
Did You Notice
For Your Information
For What It's Worth
Gotta Go
If I Recall Correctly
In My Humble Opinion (or In My Honest Opinion)
In My Opinion
In My Very Humble Opinion
In Other Words
In Real Life
I Seem To Recall
If You Know What I Mean
Just Kidding
Laugh Out Loud
On A Totally Unrelated Subject
Oh, By The Way
Only From Memory
One Of These Days
On The Other Hand
Rolling On the Floor Laughing
Read The Friggin' Manual
With Respect To
Thanks In Advance
Ta-Ta For Now
Talk To You Later
Yet Another
You Know What I Mean?


:-) :) :^) =) 8-) :> 8-> ...
smiley faces (turn head 90 degrees counterclockwise)
<G> <g> <grin>
grin (equivalent to a smiley face)
;) ;-) ;^) ...
winking smiley faces
dopey smile, embarrassed smile
}:-) };-) >:-) >;-) ]:-) ];-) ...
devilish grins (with or without winks)
smiley face (two eyes: ^ ^ and a mouth: _)
laughing out loud
:-P :-b
smiling with tongue sticking out (being goofy)
tongue sticking out and drooling
:-( :(
frowning faces (either sad or angry)
angry face
blank expression
:-/ :-\
disturbed or annoyed expression
:-o =:-o
surprised or shocked expression
a sidelong glance or rolling of the eyes

See also Emoticon's guide to emoticons at:

Related to the Internet or World Wide Web

These don't often show up on the list, but just for the heck of it...

method by which you can log on to another computer without having an account on the remote machine
Domain Name System (converts machine names like ``'' to the numbers that are used behind the scenes, like ``'')
Fully Qualified Domain Name (a complete machine name, like ``'')
File Transfer Protocol
a menu-driven way of navigating the Internet (kind of half-way between FTP and WWW)
HyperText Markup Language (the ``language of the Web'')
HyperText Transfer Protocol (first four letters of most URL's on the WWW)
IP address
Internet Protocol address (a machine number, like ``'')
A text-only web-browser
The first widely-used graphical web-browser
A graphical web-browser (currently the most popular, I believe) -- or the company that makes it
National Center for Supercomputing Applications (creators of Mosaic)
Standard Generalized Markup Language (HTML is an example)
Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol
Uniform Resource Locator (an address on the WWW)
a program that allows one to navigate the WWW
World Wide Web (``You're soaking in it!'')
What You See Is What You Get

See also the glossary in Zen and the Art of the Internet and the Basic and Intermediate Web-Internet Dictionaries from Study Technologies.

The URLs for these things are, respectively:

11. Can I get a copy of the list rules without (re)subscribing?

[previous / next question]

I don't know of a way of doing this by sending commands to Majordomo, but you can read a copy of list rules from 28 Oct 1996 at my homepage at:

12. Where else can I get information about the mailing list?

[previous question]

I would suggest (assuming you've read through the information in this FAQ):

To find out more about mailing lists in general, try:
Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner's Guide to the Internet
Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists

This FAQ is Copyright (c) 1996-2001 by Donald Lancon, Jr. Permission is granted to copy and redistribute the information contained herein provided that this copyright notice is included and provided that it is not redistributed for financial gain. This FAQ may not be included in commercial collections or compilations without express permission from the author.

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Last modified: Sun, Aug 19, 2001