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Mailing List Etiquette

These are not hard and fast rules but they will help you to get responses to your questions. These rules are based on normal every day netiquette.

  1. First and foremost, be nice, clear and concise. Others may not have your experiance or knowledge. By the same token, others may have more experiance and thus more insight or other ways to achieve the same goal. Try not to ramble. You will loose your audience if you dive off on tangents. This is not saying that there cannot be some friendly jesting and fun. We much prefer a friendly atmosphere over a stiff and straight rod one. You should keep your posts as short as possible and still be able to get your point across. Some participants do not have English as their first or second languages. Keeping things short helps them by putting the needed information where it is easily accessible.

  2. Don't beg or post the same message over and over and over. People will ignore you because of it.

  3. If you want to start a new topic, do not hijack someone else's thread by replying to a message in that thread and changing the subject line. Start your new topic by writing a completely new message to the list or group. We understand that there may be topic drift from time to time. In those cases, an appropraite change of the subject line is ok as long as things do not get too far afield.

  4. When replying to someone's thread, it is preferred that you keep the traffic on-list. Replying to the list helps others that can also benefit from your post. There is no reason for multiple people to have to ask the same questions you ask. Getting multiple answers all saying pretty much the same thing is a benefit, though.

  5. It is in everyone's best interests to keep as much list or group traffic on the list or in the group so that everyone can benefit. It is all too easy to make a mistake and lead someone astray whereas posting in public will allow others to see possible mistakes or even to offer additional help or clarification on the subject at hand.

  6. Please ensure that you trim unnecessary text from the messages you respond to. There are a lot of people who top post and leave everything trailing, including signatures! It is not very nice to others to make them have to download all that extraneous and unnecessary text.

  7. If you receive the lists in digest form, you definitely want to trim all unnecessary quoted text from your replies. Leave only that text which you are replying to.

  8. If you receive the lists in digest form, change the subject line! No one can tell what you are responding to if you leave the subject line as the digest subject line.

  9. Concerning top posting, bottom posting or inline posting: it is best for all to use inline posting if you can. By using inline posting, you can respond to specific points within the message you are replying to. Inline posting makes it easier for others to read along. Inline posting is like reading a story. Top and bottom posting should be avoided if at all possible. Top posting is like starting at the back of the book and reading forwards. Everything is out of sync, hard to follow and hard to understand. Bottom posting is almost as bad because people have to scroll all the way to the bottom past all the text, untrimmed signatures and other fluff just to see your contributed words of wisdom. Many people will ignore posts that are top or bottom posted.