Thanks for checking here for your question rather than emailing and waiting for days for a reply.
- I have questions about the copyright/forwarding.
- The issue I just got arrived on Saturday, but the date on it is last Sunday! Why?
- I like Randy’s style. Will he come give a talk to my group?
- What in the world does “arcie” mean?
- I suddenly stopped getting my issues. Are you on vacation?
- Can I get back issues that I missed? Or, do you have a story about <whatever> you can send me?
- Who or what is “AWeber”?
- Is True associated with the “Darwin Awards” that go around by email?
- Can I submit stories (or an Honorary Unsubscribe nomination) for inclusion in True?
- Can I give True books or Premium upgrades as gifts?
- True seems to use an odd punctuation style around quotation marks. Why?
1. I have questions about the copyright notice. Just what is and is not allowed, and why?
That is covered in detail in its very own Copyright FAQ.
2. The issue I just got arrived on Saturday, but the date on it is last Sunday! Why did it get here so late?
Please see your “Welcome” message that you got when you subscribed. It explains True’s publishing schedule. In summary, the stories are written on Sundays, Premium subscribers get their newsletters Monday evenings, and the free edition comes out Friday evenings (USA time). Premium subscribers also get quite a few other benefits for their modest subscription fee. See this page for details.
3. I like Randy’s style. Will he come give a talk to my group?
Yes, I do consider speaking engagements. More info is here.
4. What in the world does “arcie” mean, and where did it come from? (“arcie” is my main email address)
Say it out loud, and you’ll probably get it. Back in the olden days when I actually worked for a living, it was at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In my early years there, NASA employees didn’t commonly have Internet-connected email, but some did have access to “NASAmail” (a private network running Telemail software). My most frequent correspondent there in the late 1980s was a friend at NASA headquarters named John, and to spice up the exchanges we would include funny spellings of various things. I started to address John as “Jawn”, and John would address me by my initials, RC, which morphed into aRCie (pronounced “RC”), which later was simplified to arcie. It’s been arcie since. Jawn died in 2014, and is discussed here.
5. I suddenly stopped getting my issues. Are you on vacation?
Pretty much even when I am on vacation issues still come out. But if not, I’d announce it way in advance. More likely, your subscription was dropped from the list because your copy “bounced” back repeatedly. If you suspect you’ve been dropped off the list (e.g., your server was down for a couple of weekends), just go ahead and subscribe again — the server will either re-subscribe you, or reactivate a subscription that was put on “hold” because of bounces. Just subscribe again using the form on virtually any page of this site.
For Premium subscribers, the typical reason for missing issues is overzealous spam filtering. Always log in to your mail provider via the web as your first step: check the spam folder and mark any mail as “not spam” to “train” your provider’s filters.
6. Can I get back issues that I missed? Or, do you have a story about <whatever> you can send me?
Sorry, but I can’t provide back issues of This is True. For one thing, it would quickly get out of hand (though I do appreciate your comments!) I’m already buried in mail, but add on trying to find the story you’re thinking about, convert it to email, and send it to you? Sorry: ain’t gonna happen.
But there are three resources available to you: 1) The most recent issue is always here, and the one before that is always here. 2) There are several book compilations of past stories (with more coming), each volume containing a full year of stories. And 3) There is also an online archive with thousands of stories, and you can use the search function to find specific stories or topics.
7. What’s “AWeber”? I see that site associated with your emails.
AWeber is an “ESP” — Email Service Provider — and the company I use to distribute tens of thousands of emails for all of my free lists every week. They are the best company in the field, and I trust them completely. More info here.
8. Is This is True associated with the “Darwin Awards” that go around by email?
The short answer: No.
The longer answer: No. The “central authority” (if you will) of “real” Darwin stories (tales of people erasing themselves from the gene pool — or nearly so — by doing something incredibly stupid) is at DarwinAwards.com.
There are three categories of “Darwin” stories: 1) Those that are true (such as those on the Darwin Awards web site); 2) Those that are completely made up (and what’s the fun in that?); and 3) Those that started out as true, but have been greatly embellished with made-up details over time.
This is True, however, is associated with the True Stella Awards — cases of outrageous but true lawsuits — which wrapped up several years ago. Unsurprisingly, that web site is StellaAwards.com.
9. Can I submit stories (or an Honorary Unsubscribe nomination) for inclusion in True?
Sure: that’s been the case since True started in 1994. See this page for details. As far as the Honorary Unsubscribe, that’s much harder in the sense of timing, and that’s discussed in this blog post.
10. How do I give True books and Premium upgrades as gifts?
I’m happy to work with you on gift orders. See this page for details.
11. Why does True use non-standard punctuation marks around quotation marks?
“Standard” depends on your point of view. An average American would write
I like “This is True,” which I get every week.
while a typical Brit would write
I like “This is True”, which I get every week.
See the difference in the placement of the comma? The American system is illogical and counter-intuitive: the name of the publication is, in fact, “This is True”. Its name certainly does not include a comma, as implied by standard American quotation mark usage. “British punctuation style” is much more logical and correct. American schools teach the former because it means the writer doesn’t have to think — they can just follow a simplistic rule. Accuracy? Forget it — it’s not even considered. True is about thinking, about accuracy, about education. It follows logic when punctuating, not lazy school rules.
(This entry spawned quite a discussion when a reader chose to take offence by this answer!)