Mailing list etiquette

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Mailing list etiquette

The mailing lists tend to be high traffic and quickly suck away the time and mailbox space of those volunteering their time to help. Therefore we ask that a few simple rules be followed to make the experience nicer for everyone. These are not hard and fast rules and we don't mean to be controlling; the lists are not moderated. You must be subscribed to post to the list.

In general traditional Usenet etiquette covers most of it.

Some requests

  • "Just the facts, ma'am" - Smaller to the point posts means we can handle a higher rate of traffic with less overhead.
  • Please be specific in your questions. Exact command line usage and exact error messages are much more useful and more likely to get a positive answer than simply "g.module didn't work. Help!" It is hard to guess, we need more information to go on. Posting the version of GRASS and operating system you are using is helpful too.
  • Be nice! We don't get paid to provide help and if common contributers get annoyed they might go away, and we don't want that. It is well understood that language barriers and the lack of verbal cues may alter the intended tone, so please don't take offense if someone appears rude, just ignore it. A post demanding "I need an answer now" is likely to never receive one.
  • Avoid posting large attachments. The mailing list blocks very large attachments, and although smaller attachments are allowed through it is nicer to find some web space somewhere and post a URL to it rather than spam 1000 mailing list readers' long suffering inboxes with a largish file. PasteBin, Google webspace, and Flickr are three places you might post code, data files, and screenshots.
  • Non-English mailing list? Be sure to write in the language of the list..
  • We don't accept spam, commercial ads and other rubbish on the list - just don't send it (otherwise we'll unsubscribe the spammer).

Do your homework before posting:

Responding to other posts

  • When replying to a message please crop away any useless quoted text, for example office phone numbers, mailing list details, irrelevant parts of the conversation, etc. Please do keep "So and so wrote:" tags so that someone reading an email can follow the quoted conversation without having to hunt back through the thread to see who said what.
  • Annoying, isn't it?
  • A: Top-posting.
  • Q: What's the most annoying thing on Usenet?
  • Please reply ongoing questions to the entire list, not just to the person who supplied some help. In this way other experts on the list can provide additional ideas and any solutions will be saved in the archives for future travelers.
  • While it is very useful to have confirmation that a suggested solution works lodged in the mailing list archives, and you should do that, you really don't need to cc a thank-you note to all 1000 readers of the list. Sending a private note to the helper is fine :)
  • If someone does reply to you in private (aka off-list), please respect their wishes and do not quote their email back to the public list (or ask them first).

Common posting mistakes

  • Avoid posting in HTML. It makes it hard to read for some people and bloats the email size. Post in plain text instead.
  • "This email is intended for you and you alone" footer notes have no place on a public list and may be considered rude. They are probably legally useless anyway.
  • Be careful when sharing your entire address book with a social networking website. Having the website spam the rest of us using your name isn't very nice.
  • Cross-posting: There's no need to start a new message thread on both the -user and -dev mailing lists. Almost all people on the -dev list also read the -user list, so your question will not be lost. If the topic strays too far away from its starting list it may migrate to the other list. The danger of attempting a split discussion is that the relevant information does not get back to all parties and it is hard to follow in the archives.
  • To get a better response try replacing any "I want this new feature ..." in your email with "This would be good for GRASS because ..." and see if it still makes sense.

Privacy police and misc

Note that

  • the emails are sent to a public mailing list (upon subscription you can write; the archives are accessible to anyone), this is a one-way process
  • Anti-spammer measures: your email address is (maybe) disguised (username [at] domain.com) to help thwart spam crawlers
  • The mailing list archive is statically mirrored by several public webmail archives (Nabble, Gmane, etc).

See also


Code of conduct