What is an Echo?
<back>An Echo mail message area is somewhat similar to a news group in that you and the users on your BBS can post a message on one BBS, and that BBS system will automatically export your message to other FidoNet systems all over the world. Other people who subscribe to that message area will then see the message and will be able to reply to you.
Just like a news group, it's a great way to find help, or find other people with the same interests as yourself. Before you start writing your message, though, you should check the message echo's rule file, and read the topic of the echo in the Zone 1 Echo list.
Almost all of FidoNet's areas are moderated, which means if you post 'off topic' messages, you will most likely be asked to stop posting in that area by the moderator. If you continue with your off topic posts, you may cause more than just your system to lose access to that message area.
The Difference between a NewsGroup and an
<back>Moderated Newsgroups (which are sometimes imported into FidoNet echo areas) require a poster to send the message directly to the moderator, and then if the topic of the message is acceptable, the message is then posted to the news group by the moderator.
FidoNet Echos use a Post-Moderated technique, meaning that after the messages are posted, the moderator reading them may decide that the message isn't fitting for the area, given the topic of the echo. The moderator reading the messages will then contact the poster to let him or her know that the message is unacceptable.
FidoNet moderators also sometimes use a Read-Only flag on their echo to indicate that these echos are only to be read by others, and that no user or sysop may post in it. Often this is used when a Moderated Newsgroup is imported into FidoNet, or when the echo area is only used by the moderator to announce the arrival of newly received FidoNet files, etc.
What is the EchoList?
<back>The Zone 1 Echo list is used by Backbone distributors to verify that the echo area is moderated by an active moderator, and to record the characteristics of that particular area (it's topic and it's rules). The echo list coordinator, currently is Vincent Coen, 2:250/1, releases a monthly information file, normally named with the prefix ELIST and the suffix for the year/month of it's release. You can see the existing archives of the echolist.
Normally these Distributors release a file called, "BACKBONE.???" to list the areas that they distribute. The file extension, .???, will be an abbreviation of that distribution's name.
NA: North American Backbone
PA: Pan-American Backbone (Discontinued/No Longer Active)
WW: World Wide
Z1B: Zone 1 Backbone (Discontinued/No Longer Active)
How Do I Get a Feed to Echomail?
All you need to do is ask, generally :)
Some people charge a little bit to offset the cost of their hardware/internet connection, etc., but if the people you check with are charging to much for your situation, let me know and I'm sure I'll be able to find you a cheaper, or even free connection to echomail.