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Nigel Metheringham edited this page Nov 27, 2012 · 2 revisions
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Mailing List Etiquette

The EximMailingLists are normally reasonably friendly places, but have a few rules to try and keep them on an even keel. Most of these fall under the category of basic Netiquette. You may also wish to look at the MailingListPolicies.

It is worth looking at documents such as How to keep out of trouble with your e-mail and How to report bugs effectively since these are very relevant to the lists in general. The following sections touch on points that are particular bugbears on the lists.

Check Before You Post

All of the EximMailingLists have searchable archives. Exim has excellent manuals. There's an excellent book. And, there's this wiki. Please try and find information before posting questions to the list. If you find things that are similar, but don't fix your specific problem then mention that in your posting so you don't just get pointed back to the old information.

Check Again Before You Post

Yes, you read that correctly - read that last paragraph again before moving on |:)|

Be Polite When Asking Questions

When asking questions, be polite. Nobody is paid to answer questions, so do your homework before asking. Be prepared to supply additional information if required. Be prepared to listen if people tell you that what you want to do is undesirable. Be patient, you won't get an immediate response.

Be Polite When Answering Questions

Similarly, people don't ask questions for fun, they do it because they don't know the answers. If you aren't answering the question, then your response may be unwelcome. Here are some unwelcome responses to the question 'how do I X?'

  • RTFM is swearing in a public arena. It doesn't directly answer the question and is felt by some to carry an arrogant tone. It says "don't waste my time", but it's a waste of everybody's time to say it. Better to point someone to the "How to X" section of the manual, with a URL, and an explanation of why the section is relevant to the question (where necessary). Similar comments apply to the wiki and the list archives.

If you feel you have to say something akin to RTFM, then please use the following:

I feel that your question is answered in the FAQ and/or the documentation. Therefore, I would suggest that you follow the next five steps:

1. Check Exim's log on your system. : 2. Run Exim in debug mode. 3. Check the FAQ. 4. Check the documentation. 5. Check the wiki.

IF none of those steps helped matters, then please send your question to the list along with Exim debug output and relevant sections of non-obfuscated log files.

Not following those steps will just lead you to getting more copies of this email and may waste the time of regular list members.

Thank you for your attention.

  • "X" is evil

The question wasn't about what's evil, and you should assume that the questioner isn't trying to achieve evil ends. Still, it may be helpful to explain why doing "X" is a bad idea. Remember, though, that there may be contexts where "X" is acceptable, or the lesser of two evils. Ultimately, you have to let some people learn through experience, or accept that others have different needs. When trying to persuade someone to take a different course of action, it's even more important to be polite. Oh, and remember to separate the person from the idea. A daft idea doesn't make a person daft.

Quote Intelligently When Replying

You only need to quote the relevant parts of posts you are replying to. It is far preferable to quote fragments with your contributions added underneath the quotes. Using the standard Outlook form of Top Posting can be particularly irritating if a long post asking a batch of questions is responded to with a single answer to one question set above the whole original article. If you use Outlook or Outlook Express, you might find Outlook Quotefix or OE Quotefix helps with quoting.

Give Sufficient Information In Questions

Exim is a complex beast, and how it works depends on lots of details about the configuration, the machine its running on, and the version and compilation options of the software itself. If you ask a question about exim without giving context then its very difficult to give a good answer, and so you may not get any answers, or you start a negotiation stage where