Mailing List Etiquette

Mark Hymers markh at linuxfromscratch.org
Fri Aug 16 14:25:06 PDT 2002


This message is from the whole LFS team.

Due to the increased volume of traffic currently appearing on the LFS
mailing lists [0], it's about time for a reminder of mailing list etiquette.

Much of this mail repeats what is in Marc Heerdink's document (see
Resources) but it was felt that we need to remind everyone of these
issues.


Which Mailing List
==================

It's important to make sure that you are posting to the correct
list.  Just because a thread started on a particular list doesn't mean
it should remain on it.  A quick reminder therefore, of the current *LFS
lists:

* alfs-discuss:  Everything to do with ALFS
* lfs-book:      CVS commit / Bugzilla messages and internal 
                 editorial discussions for the LFS book
* lfs-dev:       Matters to do with the future development of the LFS book.
* lfs-support:   Support for packages in the base LFS book *only*.
* blfs-book:     As lfs-book for BLFS
* blfs-dev:      As lfs-dev for BLFS
* blfs-support:  Support for any packages *not* in the base LFS book;
                 not just those in the hints/BLFS book.  Note that the
                 development of hints should also be discussed here.
* lfs-chat       Anything goes!

If a thread is moving to a discussion of various things (MS v Linux to
take one recent example) *please* move it to lfs-chat and off the
*-support / *-dev mailing lists.  For those who only want to see
strictly development and/or support issues, it is exceptionally annoying
to see off-topic messages on those lists when there is a catch-all list
ready and waiting!  This is especially important because (at the latest
count), the lfs-support mailing list has around 420 and the blfs-support 
list around 530 members, not counting those who use the news servers.
Therefore, if you post a message not related to that list, you are
wasting anywhere upwards of 500 peoples time.


E-mail formatting
=================

Mailing list email should fit the following criteria:

DO
---
* Trim quoted material to the minimum needed to clarify what you're
  talking about
* Make sure you are attributing material to the correct person 
  (i.e. make sure the "On 19/07/2002, Joe Bloggs said:" is correct)
* Write your responses *after* the quoted text, not before.  If your
  mail client makes it difficult to do this, get a new one!
* Make sure lines are wrapped at 76 characters (to fit an 80 character
  wide screen)

Don't
-----
* Post in either HTML-only or in Text and HTML.  If your mail client
  doesn't support not doing this, please change it.
* Top post
* Give a one line answer having quoted the whole post
* Use too long a signature
* Reply where you should start a new thread

In general, make emails as short as possible whilst keeping them
comprehensible.


General Etiquette
=================

This can really be summed up in one phrase - 'be polite'.  

If you think something is off-topic, don't reply to the list although 
you may want to send a short and *polite* note to the person privately 
telling then which list would be more appropriate; don't just say - 
"that is OT for here".

If someone flames or trolls the list, don't reply - it wastes everyones
bandwidth.

Don't reply to spam which gets through to the list - we do use
SpamAssasin on the lists now and this catches most of the spam; it is
inevitable that some will get through so just ignore it when it does.
We also use Razor for spam elimination and Gerard watches the list carefully
for any spam which does get through.  When some does (as is inevitable) he
updates the rules in order to prevent it occurring again.  This is done
quietly and so there is no need to report it, reply to it or do anything
other than ignore it!

Resources
=========

* The ultimate guide to most matters to do with email etiquette is
  RFC-2822 which can be found at: 

  ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc2822.txt


* The following page by Marc Heerdink (one of the LFS team) is recommended 
  reading on subjects such as:
  * Threading and proper MUAs
  * Signatures
  * Quoting
  * Wrapping
  * HTML E-Mail
  (Note that the section on the LFS mailing lists doesn't mention
   lfs-chat)

  http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/~gimli/lfsml.html



Many thanks, by sticking to these principles we hope that the LFS
mailing lists will continue to be a fun and informative place.

Any polite and sensible replies to this message should be made to the 
lfs-chat mailing-list.  If you feel the need to flame over this for some
reason, any flames should be directed at the person who
put this together: <markh at linuxfromscratch.org>

The LFS Team

[0] Any references to mailing lists in this message also apply to the
    LFS newsgroups.

PS - We apologise for those recieving this email on several mailing
     lists but it's the only way to target everyone (and yes, we *know*
     we said not to cross-post!)
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