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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Target Audience?

The ZossPens list is maintained for people interested in all aspects of fountain pens, especially collecting vintage ones, but we also have information for associated subjects like ballpoint pens, dip pens, mechanical pencils, and so forth. The list is free and growing in activity.

The list is for people who like to "tend to business" and just discuss writing instruments, often vintage ones - although modern products and limited editions are discussed as well. It also branches into associated topics such as ink, paper, accessories, locations of pen shows, conventions, etc.

The list's purpose is to help people enjoy the activity of collecting writing instruments. It's interesting that the experts in fountain pen collecting, several of whom are active on this list, are so open and cooperative with knowledge they have acquired over the years.

What is a Listserv or Mailing List?

The idea of a "listserv" or internet mailing list is really fairly simple. The list is like a "party line" of messages more-or-less related to pens, pen collecting, pen shows, buy and sell requests, and so on.

Subscribers send one message to the list address and then the software sends copies to each subscriber of the list. You can just read them, reply to the whole list or, if the message is personal or the beginning of one-on-one negotiations to buy or sell, reply directly to the individual who originated the message.

Two Formats - What's the Difference?

The list gives you a choice when you subscribe - either "regular" distribution or "digest" distribution. Regular sends the messages go out one by one, mostly as received. The digest version collects the messages and sends them in a larger packet several times a day, for those who don't want a number of separate messages each day, the digest makes a lot of sense.

Is Commercialism Allowed on the Pens list?

Yes. This is a free list and commercialism is allowed although huge lists of wanted or items for sale should be edited to save space and bandwidth.

How can this be a free list but still allow commercialism?

The answer is a request: Those individuals and companies who make money or benefit in other ways by using the list consider an occasional donation to help offset the investment of time and money to operate the list. See this page for ways to help out the list.

Who is Tom Zoss?

Tom Zoss, the list originator, has an eclectic background, ranging from opera producer, to magician, to newspaper publisher, to corporate executive, to college professor, to fund raiser. This is the successor to his long-standing listserv, and is named ZossPens in his honor.

Are There Guidelines for Messages (on-topic and off-topic)?

Sure. In addition to these general guidelines, please read the four simple rules that follow. Please be very careful about your messages so a lot of off-topic material does not go to the zosslist@zosspens.com address.

Remember that messages addressed to the list go to everyone. Messages about your subscription or problems should go only to the moderators - email address coming soon!

While we like to stay generally on topic, we are all interested in the people who are part of this fascinating and diverse community. A self-introductory message is always welcome. Occasional personal notes (such as those from people who have had health problems, or want to share the joy of a new child, etc.) are welcome, but messages about politics, world events, eBay or PayPal problems, or MAC versus PC diatribes, are best posted somewhere else or sent privately.