Mailing List Etiquette

The lists are official tools for the Forum and the following rules are intended to help make the mailing lists more useful and enjoyable for all, not to mention minimizing workload administering the lists and archives.

They are a version of the general "Netiquette" rules, also known as RFC 1855 and available throughout the Net. Please read and abide by the following rules when posting to the list. Thank you for your cooperation.

  1. EDIT QUOTED MESSAGES

    Everyone's already seen the message you're replying to and no one wants to have to pay to see the entire thing all over again just because you're too lazy to edit it down to the specific parts you're replying to. Since you're quoting to establish context, intersperse your reply with the quoted material to make it easier to follow.

    Let's also mention hitting enter when your original lines get to 65 or 70 characters. Some mailers don't really insert newlines when they wrap long lines, which really screws up quoting on other mailers.

  2. USE A DESCRIPTIVE SUBJECT

    The list discussions are archived as a knowledge base and it makes them difficult to browse when your message doesn't provide a descriptive subject header or the subject is "Help!", "Linux question", "Re: Ngnog-discuss digest, Vol 1 #490 - 19 msgs", and the like.

  3. DON'T REPLY TO A MESSAGE WHEN YOU'RE REALLY COMPOSING A NEW MESSAGE

    Even if you change the subject header, there are other headers that link threads between replies. If those reference headers are bogus, it makes threaded indexes worthless. Similarly, when you contribute to a discussion thread, use your mailer's reply feature so that it will include the reference headers to thread your message to the discussion.

  4. DON'T INCLUDE OR ATTACH LARGE FILES

    These lists aren't the place to distribute entire files, although code snippets and short scripts are encouraged. If you do email attachments at all, it works best if you make them MIME attachments of the proper type and not "inline" or just included in your message. MIME attachments aren't "HTMLized" in the archives so they're easier to retrieve and less likely to be corrupted, although they still don't come through the digests very well.

    Please put files that are more than a few kilobytes on an FTP/web site or your forum blog and post the URL. Again, some folks have to pay real money whether they want your attachment or not.

  5. LIMIT YOUR SIGNATURE TO NO MORE THAN 4 LINES

    We really don't want to have to enforce a limit, but ASCII art is definitely out. Most of the useful stuff in signatures is already in the message headers anyway and cutesy quotes just waste space in the archives.

  6. NO HTML

    ...and especially no mixed/alternative MIME messages that include more than one copy of your message in different formats. For that matter, avoid MIME altogether (except for file attachments.) By default Outlook sends HTML, so you will have to deliberately disable this feature.

    It's not a "global" setting, but instead configurable "per email address". This means creating an "forum list" entry in your address book and setting the properties accordingly. If you must use Outlook, *please* take the trouble to do this.

  7. AVOID CROSS-POSTING

    (For those who don't know, that means sending your message to more than one mailing list at the same time.) Each list has a different charter. It's hard to imagine how one message could apply to more than one, so target your message and post only to the appropriate list.

  8. DON'T POST YOUR MESSAGE MORE THAN ONCE

    If it doesn't show up on the list in a few minutes, be patient. Your message may have got caught in a spam trap or maybe your mail system is congested and simply hasn't delivered it yet. If it doesn't show up within 14 hours, check the archive to see if it's there before you repost it.

  9. DON'T SPAM THE LISTS

    Don't post off-topic messages, or use an auto-responder (vacation program) that replies to list mail. If spam, administrative requests, or off-topic discussions leak through onto the list, don't respond on the list. Also avoid "Me too!" replies that don't add anything relevant to the thread you're responding to.

  10. CHECK THE ADDRESS WHEN YOU REPLY

    All list messages leave the originator's From: and Cc: headers intact, but normal replies will generally go back to the list, because the "Reply-To:" field is configured to be the list address. Unfortunately however, some mailers lose the Cc: addresses, ignore the Reply-To: address, or use the envelope or sender address. Even if your mailer gets it right, you should check to be sure you aren't replying to more recipients than you intended (note cross-posting above).

  11. DON'T BLIND COPY (CC or BCC) THE LISTS

    Your message may be discarded automatically. (A "carbon copy" message is sent when you decide to use Cc: or Bcc: in stead of To:)

  12. BE NICE

    We will get very upset when someone assumes the authority to be rude and annoying, so just ignore miscreants or kindly direct them to the list owner and leave it at that.