[Volunteers] Ideas for list policies

Karsten M. Self kmself at ix.netcom.com
Fri Jul 15 22:25:15 PDT 2005

Comments below.  No issues w/ elided content...

on Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 02:30:33AM -0700, William R Ward (bill at svlug.org) wrote:
> Here is a rough draft of a new list policies page, presented for
> comments. I took the existing page, trimmed it down a lot and
> reogranized it a bit.  The links are represented as [link] here, which
> you can easily guess or find the equivalent place on the existing
> document.
> SVLUG Mailing List Policies

...most of the following are minor.  Less is more.
> Mailing Lists.  SVLUG has the following mailing lists, all of which
> are open for you to subscribe to.  Click the list name to reach the
> subscription page for each list.  Before subscribing, however, please
> read the guidelines and rules listed below.
>   - svlug: General discussion among SVLUG members.  Announcements allowed
>     with officer approval only.  No job offer postings.

Tighter language:  

    "Non-SVLUG announcements require [link:officer approval].  No job

>   - svlug-announce: Announcements of SVLUG-related events only by
>     SVLUG officers.

Lose "only":

    svlug-announce: Announcements of SVLUG-related events by SVLUG

>   - jobs: Job offers may be posted here.  See the [link]Jobs Policy
>     page for more information.

    - jobs:  Employment and contract opportunities.  See the [link]Jobs
      Policy page for more information.

>   - volunteers: Planning and discussion among the officers and
>     volunteers who make SVLUG run.
> Netiquette
>   The SVLUG discussion list has hundreds of readers and at times can
>   have a lot of traffic, so please follow customary netiquette
>   standards. 

Suggested text:

   SVLUG's mailing lists have many readers and much traffic.  Netiquette
   guidelines help us all get the most from the list.

>   [link to external netiquette doc?]


   RFC 1855

...and Google turns up a number of other links, largely duplicative.

>   If you have a concern about netiquette violations by any poster,
>   please send mail to officers at svlug.org and we will handle the
>   matter.  Do not contact the person about it directly.

I disagree with the above.  Reminders, if given, should be gentle and
point to a supporting source (which is why list policies, even if not
read in advance, are useful).
> Other Resources
>   In addition to its mailing lists, SVLUG offers other ways to help you:
>   IRC (Internet Relay Chat): The SVLUG IRC channel, #svlug at
>   irc.freenode.net, can be a great place to get help with a Linux
>   problem.  It was founded in August 1999 by Drew Bloechl.
>   In person: Come to the next SVLUG [link]installfest and ask for help
>   in person.  Also you may be able to get some help at our regular
>   meetings, especially at the dinner afterward.

> List Policies

Note that this list still varies between policies and suggestions.
>   Please follow these policies on our mailing lists.  Failure to do so
>   may be grounds for being removed from the list and/or banned from
>   re-joining.
>   * Keep messages on-topic: subjects about Linux or likely to be of
>     interest to Linux users in Silicon Valley.
>   * No job offer postings except on the jobs list.  No non-SVLUG-related
>     announcements without prior approval from an officer.

This repeats information above.  Perhaps roll in "no advertising, spam,
or job postings".
>   * Be mindful that we have a large international audience as well as
>     a large number of people in Silicon Valley.

... and ?   What's the intent of this policy?  Not to be mindlessly
bigoted?  To provide address/localization information?  To include area
codes on phone numbers?  To use clear language???  Or can it be dropped?
>   * To save on bandwidth, do not post document attachments.  Copy and
>     paste small text attachments, and/or include a Web address where
>     interested readers can find the document.  Exceptions: Vcards (but
>     they are discouraged) and PGP / GnuPG signatures.


    Do not post file attachments.  Quote small portions of text inline.
    Make larger documents or images available from a Web site.  PGP /
    GNUPG [link:RFC 2015] MIME-encoded signatures are acceptable and

>   * Post in plain text, not HTML and not "both text and HTML."  See
>     G.E. Boyd's excellent "Configuring Mail Clients to Send Plain
>     ASCII Text" [link]Web page ([link]mirror copy) for instructions
>     concerning all popular mail clients.
>   * When replying, put your comments BELOW the quoted text, not above
>     it.  Also, trim any part of the quoted text that does not directly
>     relate to your reply, including the signature and extra blank
>     lines (people can consult the list archives for more context if
>     needed).  As a rule of thumb, the quoted text should be no more
>     than 50% of the total text.  The only exception should be if you
>     are forwarding a message from somewhere else, and adding a small
>     note to the top.

Mostly a conciseness rewrite:

     * In replies, put your comments BELOW the quoted text, not above.
       Trim any part of the quoted text not directly relating to your
       reply.  This includes signatures and extra blank lines.  Aim for
       50% or less quoted text.  An exception is made for messages
       forwarded from elsewhere, which should have a brief explanatory
       note at top.

The following might better be addressed in a general tips section (see

>     Note to Windows users: free-to-download add-ins exist for [link]MS
>     Outlook and for [link]MS Outlook Express to make them quote
>     properly.  Or just use a different client: we suggest
>     [link]Mozilla Thunderbird, which is cross platform, and mutt, a
>     Unix console-mode client.
>   * Do not flame or attack other people.  If you have an objection to
>     someone's behavior, report it to officers at svlug.org; do not take
>     it into your own hands.


    * No flames or personal attacks.  Report issues to * officers at svlug.org.

These two should be suggestions, not policy.

>   * Be mindful that everything you post to the mailing list is being
>     sent out to hundreds of people and is archived for all to see.

    ... for years.

>     Do not post something you will regret later.
>   * If your reply is not of interest to the mailing list in general,
>     reply directly to the person rather than to the mailing list.
>     Only send messages to the list that are of general interest.
> General Suggestions
>   In addition, here are some tips that may be of help:
>   * Please do not crosspost messages between SVLUG and other forums.
>     If you must post the same content in two places, send two emails
>     rather than CC'ing both lists.  Why?  If you cross-post and people
>     reply to your message, they may end up sending mail to lists that
>     they are not on, which might cause a bounce message.
>   * Use TO or CC, not BCC, when posting to the lists, to make it
>     easier for people to filter the mailing list mail into its own box.

Unnecessary comma:

    * Use TO or CC, not BCC, when posting to the lists to make it
      easier for people to filter list mail to its own folder.

Actually:  procmail filtering on ^X-Been-There is far more accurate than
To/Cc field filtering, though not all clients allow this.

>   * If you need help filtering list mail into a separate mailbox, see
>     the [link]Mail Filtering FAQ


   Additional resources:

     - [link:Mail filtering FAQ]
     - [link:Quote-fixing plug-ins for MS Windows email software]
     - [link:We recommend Mozilla Thunderbird for MS Windows mail]
     - [link:http://linuxmafia.com/~karsten/Rants/gpg.html:Karsten's GPG
       Rant] (shameless plug)


Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
  Good thing the users aren't developing Galeon, or it'd be a huge, disgusting
  pile of garbage. Hell, even Internet Explorer would be an improvement.
  - Adam Hooper, explaining the tradition of user involvement in GNOME
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