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SVLUG Mailing Lists Netiquette
Thanks for reading these suggestions, before continuing to the
signup information for our lists (bottom).
SVLUG offers the following netiquette suggestions for its lists.
(See also mailing lists' listinfo pages for concerns unique to each list.)
These are suggestions, to explain our cultural norms: They are not
official rules. SVLUG's listadmins normally intervene only to ensure lists'
technical operation, to halt spam (incontrovertible spam, not postings
someone merely dislikes), and to halt major eruptions of offtopic spew.
Enforcement if any should always be minimal and public. (We don't do
backroom politics, and our preferred means of social control is to help
everyone apply his/her own well-tuned killfile.) You are always welcome
to discuss that and any other policy issues on SVLUG's public
Consider other forums
- If rushed (e.g., seeking help) or needing more-interactive help
than e-mail affords, consider using the #svlug IRC channel on
irc.freenode.net, founded August 6, 1999 by Drew Bloechl.
- For matters better discussed in person, consider attending the next
meeting or after-meeting dinner
- Stay on-topic: Linux, or matters of likely interest to Silicon
Valley Linux users.
- Silicon Valley subscribers: Be mindful of our international
audience. Our lists have subscribers world-wide.
- International subscribers: Be mindful of our local audience.
We realize you want to see what Silicon Valley Linux users are
discussing, but remember: Some topics will be local.
NO DOCUMENT ATTACHMENTS.
Don't send or attach entire documents. Send URLs (Web addresses)
where interested readers can find them.
Exceptions are small attachments (small sniplets of code;
but try to provide URLs instead, if you can).
Vcards are frowned upon but tolerated.
PGP / GnuPG signatures as MIME attachments are fine.
(Attachments for signatures are actually better than in-line,
being RFC-compliant and easier for non-PGP / GnuPG users to
Other MIME contents are not OK. In
particular, HTML-format default output from most common mail
clients is considered very obnoxious. G.E. Boyd's
Mail Clients to Send Plain ASCII Text" has instructions
for all popular mail clients.
TRIM UNRELATED TEXT.
Continuously growing messages become difficult to read, and don't
look much like a conversation. Context is good, but almost
never the entire prior message (much less prior thread).
Regardless of your software's defaults, trimming is
your responsibility: If your mail client quotes the
entire message, and you answer a few lines on top (as MS Outlook
does), you're still responsible for trimming the quoted message,
and — at the very least — removing the quoted
signature, previous unrelated quotations, and list footer.
You can also (preferred by most subscribers), reply in-line,
as you'll see most people do on-list. (Note:
Free-download add-ins exist for
MS Outlook through XP, for
MS-Outlook after XP, and for
MS-Outlook Express to make them quote properly. Highly
If your mail client doesn't let you do this easily,
consider another one. (Two choices among many are
Thunderbird, which is cross-platform, and
mutt, a Unix console-mode
If a paragraph contain something you're not replying to, that
can be snipped without distorting meanings, do snip
When quoting, make clear which parts of your mail are
quoted, and, if using multiple levels of quoting, from whom.
Always supply attribution on quotations, even if your mailer
is boneheaded and doesn't help: A new reader might attribute
someone else's thoughts as yours!
Don't hesitate to split up paragraphs into parts, to interject
your comment. Use ellipses (...) to show the split.
You can mention having snipped something: summarize the content.
However, beware igniting flame wars by summarizing too
brutally. If you think your summary may be misunderstood,
leave text intact.
IF YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TO SAY...
consider pondering until your comments are more complete; people
will respect the extra content.
Keep your e-mail signature short — 4 lines or fewer,
preceded by a "-- " delimiter line. (That line must comprise exactly
two flush-left hyphens, then one space, then a hard return.)
When To Avoid Hitting the Send Key
The main SVLUG list is a place to discuss matters with fellow
Linux users, not a corkboard for posting flyers. Local and
interesting events are worth mentioning, but
at least tell us why they're interesting. It might
spark good discussions.
Postings whose intent is to draw private rather than public replies
are probably unsuited for our public forums.
Take (and keep) interpersonal disputes private; don't
post or CC them in front of us. Public apologies are fine, if so
If you must correct factual errors on the list, be polite and
correct just the facts. Don't personally attack the author.
Consider eschewing the words "you" and "your", as they tend to
make your critique seem personal, even if not so intended.
Consider whether your message, sent to hundreds of people, would
result in hundreds of tomatoes being thrown at you, if said
at a mall or picnic. Is it really worth sending to hundreds
of people? If yes, don't hesitate. However, if you wouldn't
say it in public, don't say it here. SVLUG's mailing lists are
public places. (They're also archived: Don't forget that your
postings will represent you for a very long time.)
Are you really talking to everyone, or just this one person? If some
other people on the thread, would that be useful, or interfere
with your conversation? If the conversation is becoming private,
take the thread off-list via private reply. (I.e., send
to the author only.)
Feedback to SVLUG webmasters.