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1. You want to contact me because you feel something is seriously wrong with my site (unexpected windows popping up, chunks missing or you can't seem to get anything to work). Thank you very much for taking the time to let me know of the problem. Go here.
2. You just can't find something. Go here.
2a. You need help finding websites on topics dealing with Roman antiquity, or want to know what happened to "RomanSites". The search engines (i.e., mostly Google) are now so good that RomanSites had become pretty much useless, certainly in terms of the work required to maintain it. I deleted it in mid-August 2004, and recommend you sharpen your searching skills.
3. You want to know my credentials. Go here.
4. You want to know who is the translator or editor of a text on my site, or who holds the copyright and whether you may reproduce it. This information is almost always onsite. The copyright status is indicated by the number of asterisks in the URL of the photo or the page (and see the footer link on copyright). Further details will almost always be found on that text's orientation page: if you have landed on a chapter or section of something, you need to go there; the link should be found at the top of the page, marked by
Here and on some few other pages it will just send you to my homepage, but usually you can climb to the level with the information you need. If (a) there is no "up" button, or (b) I've failed to provide the information on the orientation page — please let me know, including the URL of the page in question: I goofed, will want to improve my site, and will be grateful to you.
Otherwise, if the information is onsite — if for example someone asks me about "[my] translation of Dio" when the Dio orientation page is quite clear about who translated it, about the source or copyright status of an engraving in Smith's Dictionary, etc. — I categorically will not answer their e‑mail. It is pointless writing to someone who can't read.
5. You want a textfile for one or more of my webpages. Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no underlying textfile for any of them, since I work directly in HTML. At that point, it becomes just as easy (or, in some cases, hard) for you to extract a textfile from the webpages as it would be for me. The simplest thing is of course to copy the entire contents of the webpage into a blank file in your preferred word processing format, and go from there.
5a. You want a textfile of something not on my site. (And usually, you want me to send it to you by e‑mail.) If it's not onsite, then I don't have it; it just doesn't exist yet. I may eventually put it up, but I'm not your own private short-order cook: anything available is available to everyone, not just to some privileged persons who get it in their in-box.
6. You are looking at a page of mine in some foreign language, and would like it translated. Go here.
7. You want to report a broken link, fix it, or correct any of the many errors I must surely be making, add useful or interesting information, or just send along some encouragement. Thank you! — and go here. (If on the other hand you're in a mood to insult or threaten me, see below.)
8. You wonder what I'm working on now, or you have a suggestion for some neat resource to add to this site; or maybe you're even thinking of some type of joint venture (a big thank you here from me to you!) — Go here.
9. You're going on a trip to a part of the world I know well — most likely central Italy — and have questions or need advice. You're in luck: I'm by no means as curmudgeonly as some of the previous answers might make me seem, and of all the mail I get, this is what I like the best. Go here.
10. You believe we are related, or you are interested in some other member of the Thayer family. Go here.
11. You hope I will be able to advise you on finding, buying, authenticating or assessing books, coins, artworks, or other old artifacts. Unfortunately, such a hope would be misplaced: I have no expertise at all in this kind of thing, and recommend you hit the used book stores and online auction or sales houses, or seek out an appraiser specializing in that particular type of object; or your local museum or university library.
I don't participate in mutual-link schemes. If I don't like your site, there is no allurement you can offer to make me override that; conversely, if your site is good, I need no bribery.
13. You want to send me political petitions and the like. Spare yourself: I will throw them away, as little read as possible. Usually such petitions are resorted to because the viewpoint is that of a small minority anyway. If they are outright offensive, I will adjust my filters so that all further mail from you, regardless of the subject, is automatically filtered to trash.
14. I don't answer anonymous, unsigned, or blatantly pseudonymous mail (e.g., from Queen of the Night or FriedEggsInHell); actually, most of it I usually don't see, since it's automatically trashed with the spam.
Abusive mail of any kind (almost always a sign of stupidity) will not usually be answered either; and by sending it, you authorize me to publish it onsite.
Threatening e‑mail is very rare, thank goodness; it gets sent to the FBI.
If you get no answer from me: see this page for possible explanations, and what to do about it.
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Page updated: 20 Sep 09