From Ender in Exile (the only sequel I have to hand), Ender gets a different email address on practically every email:

  • GovNom%Colony1@colmin.gov
  • GovDes%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov/voy
  • Gov%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov
  • AWiggin%Ganges@ColLeague.adm
  • AWiggin%Ganges@ColLeague.Adm/voy
  • EWiggin%Ganges@ColLeague.Adm/voy

From the above, one might guess that the part after the slash gets amended to indicate which mail relay to pass through (ships presumably would have their own relay to handle the difficulties of faster-than-light communication). However, Valentine gets:

  • vwiggin%Colony1@colmin.gov/citizen (while on the same ship as Ender who has /voy at the time)
  • followed shortly thereafter by vwiggin%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov/voy==PoslDreq (the only instance of ==)
  • and finally, vwiggin%ShakespeareCol@colmin.gov/voy, matching Ender's official email.

As seen above, MinCol (later ColLeague) seems to use the %-part to indicate which colony a person belongs to. Meanwhile, IFCom apparently uses it for the person's rank:

  • qmorgan%rearadmiral@ifcom.gov/fleetcom
  • chamrajnagar%polemarch@ifcom.gov/centcom
  • imo%testadmin@colmin.gov

heg.gov seems to follow this convention as well, though hegemony.gov uses the /-part for that:

  • hgraff%mincol@heg.gov
  • PeterWiggin@hegemony.gov/hegemon

What explains this proliferation of email formats, and apparent fluidity of addresses? The %-part is partially explained by early email gateways (for example ColMin might be using them this way, though it seems like a subdomain would be better), but that doesn't explain all of the uses and I can't find any precedent at all for the /-part.

  • This question was inspired by the discussion on this Worldbuilding.SE answer. – Wolfgang Jan 24 '17 at 20:56
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    fwiw - I know that "Ender's Game" was updated by the author to account for the changes in the Internet and communications networks that were occurring in the intervening years since original publication. It might be worth taking note of your version and see if it is revised or not (I'm not sure if OSC did revisions of the sequels) – NKCampbell Jan 24 '17 at 21:03
  • @NKCampbell Ender's Game itself doesn't seem to have any email addresses. Ender In Exile was published in 2008, and I recall similarly formatted addresses in the other books I've read, though I don't have them to check. – Wolfgang Jan 24 '17 at 21:08
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    The follow up question will be on Vernor Vinge's use of USENET headers in A Deepness in the Sky – infixed Jan 24 '17 at 21:12
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    @NKCampbell - Here are all the changes that have been made to "Ender's Game". None of them involve internet. There has been another planned major revision for several years by now, but it's being delayed until after the prequel series is finished. – ibid Jan 24 '17 at 21:43

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