Mailing list guidelines

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=== Before Posting to the List ===
 
=== Before Posting to the List ===
  

Revision as of 20:17, 11 October 2010

Contents

Before Posting to the List

There are a number of ways you can find help within your system. If you don't find the answer there, try to look into the list archives before posting a question. This is a high volume list and chances are that someone has already had the same problem you are now trying to fix. See Useful Resources below for a list of places to try. Refer to this presentation on mail etiquette that you should follow.

If You Still Can't Find an Answer

If you don't find a suitable answer for your question in the resources described below, then writing to the list is a good idea. These guidelines were written to make sure your message gets the attention it needs to be read and answered. You may also find useful to look at Charles Curley's netiquette guide .

Posting Guidelines

Keep it Short

The users list maintains a maximum message length of 60 kilobytes; other Fedora lists may have similar length-limits. Remember that thousands of copies of your message will exist in mailboxes -- please keep your messages as short as possible. Avoid including log output (select only the most relevant lines, or place the log on a website or in a pastebin instead) or excessively quoting previous messages in the thread (trim the quoted text down to the most recent/relevant messages only).

No HTML Mail, Please

Set your mailer to send only plain text messages to the list (How? ). Why? HTML is designed for web pages, not emails, and uses a lot more bandwidth. Many list members actually block HTML because it is used for malicious code.

Not only does HTML mail be used to run malicious scripts, but when using handheld devices the time taken for the page to appear is also much higher.

(see "7 reasons why HTML e-mail is EVIL! ")

No attachments

Attachments to email make the messages much bigger. They create an enormous amount of extra Internet traffic when a mailing list sends the message and attachments to thousands of people worldwide. They also can create problems for the recipients, who may be limited to low-bandwidth connections. A reader may not know they are downloading an email with a very large attachment until it is too late, and they might be blocked from getting other mail until they finish that download, which makes them frustrated.

Don't use attachments to your email. Instead, post a file in your Fedorapeople.org space, or elsewhere on the web, and include a URL to that file in your email, not the file itself.

Starting a New Subject

When you send in a new topic, do not start by replying to an existing message, but rather, start a new message to "users@lists.fedoraproject.org". This keeps messages organized by thread, for people who like to use threads (on high-volume mailing lists like this one, threads can be a great convenience).

Furthermore, please do not recycle messages. Recycling messages is replying to an existing thread by changing the thread name. This creates confusion and diverts the number of people replying to the topic.

For details see http://mm.bbspals.org/message-recycling/

Write a Good Subject Line

Make a subject line that clearly tells us what you need. This is a point that can't be overemphasized. Try "Can't get past partitioning on F9" instead of "Argg - help me!!!" Why? So that people with certain skills, looking for someone to help, will notice your message. That helps you get help from the right people quickly.

On a high volume list like this, many people just skim through the subject lines and only read the messages that catch their interest. So, by creating a good subject line, you increase the chances that your message is actually going to be read and eventually answered.

Also refer to the subject for commercial messages below.

If You Are Replying to a Message

Make sure we can tell what you are replying to. Place each part of your reply after the text it addresses (i.e., NO Top-Posting, please see "Wikipedia - Top Posting" and links therein for more on this). Most mail readers automatically put a '>' character in front of each replied-to line. It gives a conversational flow to the text, and people know what you're replying to. Trim irrelevant material. It makes it easier to read your reply and helps the reader to stay on subject. Using bottom, interleaved posting is recommended as it is more organised.

The fact that you're sending the email from a smart-phone or similar device doesn't invalidate those guidelines. Please consider sending the reply at a later time when you have access to your regular email system or send a private reply instead.

Replying to Digests

In a high volume list like this, you may choose to receive mails in digested mode. However when replying to such messages, please avoid just hitting the reply button. This creates meaningless messages like "Re: Fedora-ambassadors-list Digest, Vol 44, Issue 10" which does not reflect what you are talking about. Please edit the subject to reflect what topic you are talking about.


Let Us Know When Your Question is Answered

When you get a solution to your question (or find it yourself after posting to the list), reply to your original e-mail describing what solved your problem, adding a [SOLVED] to the end of the subject line. This will let people know that you don't need help any more with this and can look for other posts to help. Also, it makes a search in the archives easier when someone has a related problem in the future.

Proper posting style

Top posting is replying to a message on "top" of the quoted text of the previous correspondence. This is highly unwanted in mailing lists because it increases the size of the daily digests to be sent out & is highly confusing and incoherent. By default, most email clients use this (includes gmail & hotmail). Please, remove the irrelevant part of the previous communication(in case of more than a single correspondence) and use bottom, interleaved posting.

Do not over-quote by the hierarchy level in the correspondence.

Bottom, interleaved posting is replying to the relevant parts of the previous correspondence just below the block(s) of sentences. For a comment to another block of sentences of the same quoted text, you should move below that relevant block again. Do not reply below the whole of the quoted text. Also remove any irrelevant text.

Please provide URLs to articles wherever possible. Avoid cutting and pasting whole articles especially considering the fact that all may not be interested. Pasting whole articles may also amount to copyright violations, which is not something that this list encourages.

Read the above mentioned pdf file on mailing list guidelines by Shakthi Kannan : http://www.shakthimaan.com/downloads/glv/presentations/mailing-list-etiquette.pdf. The illustrative document should clear all doubts.

Be Courteous

Be courteous and polite to fellow members in the list. Never swear or be rude to anyone.

Certain behavioral guidelines

If a mail has offended you personally, please send a private message to the person expressing how you feel, instead of sending it to the mailing list.

Please remember that we have members from all genders and nationalities. No gender abuse is allowed on the list, and do not include any gender specific slang in your posts. Also do not indulge in racial or regional criticism. This is a very serious violation.

Be careful when using sarcasm and humour. Without face to face communications your joke may be viewed as criticism. When being humourous, use emoticons (smileys) to express humour. (tilt your head to the left to see the emoticon smile) :-) = happy face for humour.

Behave in a professional manner in the mailing lists. Any mistake could put you under the scanner and at the receiving end of much rebuke.

Do not Cross Post

Avoid posting to multiple lists simultaneously. Pick a mailing list that is most suitable for your post and just use that. CC'ing multiple lists should be avoided.

Post to the the mailing list that is most suited to your purpose and then just copy the link to that page or mailing list and paste to all the other mailing lists you want to post to. This will reduce the amount of data duplicated - only one copy will be accessed by all who read it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossposting

No chain letters

Never send chain letters to the mailing list. A mail simultaneously sent to more than 10 users will not reach the list. This is to eliminate possible spammers/bulk mailers to reach the list.


Don't make social network connections through the mailing list

Do not send invitations to social networking sites through the mailing list. The email addresses of people on the mailing list is visible to the members. To add mailing list contacts to your social network, try searching them on the social networking site or contact through email & not the mailing list.

Commercial messages

When using the mailing list for commercial purpose, please prefix the subject line with "COMMERCIAL".

Unsubscribing

To unsubscribe from the list you can visit the Fedora Users List web page

Avoid long signatures and disclaimers

We find value in your main content rather than signatures. One or two lines would be optimal to convey messages that must be included in your signature and avoid huge disclaimers describing how your mail is private and confidential while sending things to the mailing list. If your company/organization enforces that in the mail gateway, use a webmail with pop/imap access like gmail for instance. Such disclaimers aren't enforceable half of the time and are monumentally silly in a public mailing list.

Do not use a PGP Style Signature that is not published

Use of PGP or GnuPG signing is encouraged. However, if the corresponding key is not published on a public keyserver, then the message will cause some email client applications (MUAs) that are PGP/GPG aware to hang while they try all known keyservers. This can take a long time and cause frustration for other users. For more information on how to properly create and use GPG keys, read the Creating GPG Keys page.

Use the common language

Unless you are a Fedora mailing list that is dedicated to users speaking that particular language, communicate in English. Other languages might be ignored merely because the users in these lists might only know English or use it as their common language. Refer to the Communicating and getting help page for more information on other mailing lists.

Use standard language and not colloquial or regionally accepted abbreviations.Visit http://www.jargon.org for more such acronyms.

Use the universally accepted standard English. Always do a spell check before mailing to the list. Grammar doesn't matter as long as one is understood. Do not use SMS language. Do not use dots(".....") to conclude the sentences as is common across social networks.

Do not use ALL CAPITALS

Using capital letters in your sentences is considered shouting. It is considered as being rude. If you want to emphasize on something *use this* or _this_.

Avoid repetitive posting

Often people helping on the mailing lists are volunteers who, just like you, have busy lives. If you do not get a response within a few minutes or hours, avoid re-posting the same question repeatedly. Give a minimum of 24-48 hours for an answer, and if you don't have one by then, give a "nudge" to the list by replying to (not re-posting) your original message.

Please *read all your mails before replying* to a mail. Someone may have already answered it.


Useful Resources

Getting Help From Your System

There are many ways to get information from your system. Get a terminal window by right clicking on the desktop. In the window type one of the following (without the '$', and substitute application-name with the name of the application you are having trouble with).

$ man application-name
$ info application-name name
$ locate stuff-you-want-to-know-about
$ rpm -qd packagename

You can also find a significant number of documents stored in /usr/share/doc.

Documentation

A lot of effort is currently being put into documentation for Fedora. Some of the results of this are:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is based on the Fedora project. So, the RHEL documentation should be helpful for the Fedora user:

Also, good help can be found here:

List Archives

Sometimes difficult to use. Try the extended search or just entering your search query again after it returns the initial 0 found.

Good search engine, preserves threads. Also can display the answer in many different formats, to suit anyone's preferences.

Another favorite of the list users. However, it seems to use subjects instead of references to sort the messages, which means that the threads are sometimes broken.

Mailing list

If you encounter any problems regarding the mailing list setup or operation, please email the list administrators rather than posting to the list about the problem. For lists on fedoraproject.org, the list administrators may be reached via $listname-owner@lists.fedoraproject.org, e.g. for the users list users-owner at lists.fedoraproject.org. There is a link to the -owner address at the bottom of the listinfo page for each list.

Search It!

Search for Fedora issues almost invariably returns multiple hits. Of course, if you are using google, its search criterion/criteria are important here and multiple attempts on keyword variations may be needed. One particularly helpful way to narrow the search is to include a mailing list name in the search criteria. Some examples:

fedora users + "boot hang"
fedora devel + pup

Another possibility is to include site:lists.fedoraproject.org instead of the list name. It will search all the main archives, which also include the test and devel lists (testers or developers are likely to come across problems before you do), the RHEL lists, and the old Red Hat lists.

Acknowledgments

This document grew from the work of James McKenzie, Duncan Lithgow, Gustavo Seabra, David Curry, James Wilkinson, Perry Spiller, Christofer C. Bell and various people's useful comments and is in the spirit of the: RedHat Install List (RHIL) Unofficial User's Guide and How To Ask Questions The Smart Way .

Netiquette discussions are always ongoing and previously established conventions are continually revisited. Please read these guidelines in the spirit intended: to create a living document that reflects group consensus. Remember, you are more likely to receive answers to your questions if you adhere to these guidelines.