Here is the "Netiquette" list guidelines I send whenever someone
joins my list. I have found this is very helpful for an overview of
how lists in general operate. I don't know if Jeff made these up,
but when he took over administration of the Mastercook lists he
posted these and I thought (as a list manager) that they were very
good and incorporated them into my list policy.
MAILING LIST GUIDELINES
The following are general guidelines for your behavior as a member
of the Machine-Knit Lists, as well as most other mailing lists. Your
cooperation with these guidelines will be appreciated by the list
moderators and fellow subscribers alike.
BROAD INTEREST: Don't send personal replies to the entire list.
The list has deliberately been configured so that replies by default
do NOT go to the whole list. If you choose to override the default,
please make sure that it is warranted, i.e., ask yourself if you are
including information that would be of interest to the list _in
general_. Even some information of general interest can be sent
only to the requester, if the requester promises to post a summary.
ETIQUETTE WHEN ASKING QUESTIONS: Request that answers be sent
directly to you, and offer to post summaries of responses.
Questions are fine--the access to a large number of people who might
answer them (though not necessarily consistently :-)) is one of the
biggest assets we have in the list. However, they also have the
potential for generating a lot of list traffic with bits and pieces
of answers. A good way to "get the best of both worlds," and also
for those who ask for the information and presumably benefit from it
to "return the favour" to the list, is to offer to post a summary or
compilation of the information back to the list.
Not only does this reduce piecemeal traffic, but your compilation
may make an excellent article for inclusion in the M-K Archives, or
FAQs that will be made available, or even so that other interested
people can store all the pertinent information in one mail
AVOID TRIVIA: Please refrain from trivial responses (usually
characterized by being 1-2 lines long) after completely quoted
This is not to encourage you to be verbose if you can make a
point concisely, but most 1-2 line responses of late have seemed
rather trivial. When one is asking several hundred people to go
through your message (and the dozens of lines of quoted material
that typically accompanies these trivial messages), would it not
behoove one to put at least a little thought into the content?
Examples of trivial messages (unless accompanied by some further
elaboration): "Me [sic] too!" "I'm not sure if I would agree
with that." "Ha, Ha!" "I was wondering that too." These are
probably appropriate if sent *just* to the original poster, but
it really does little more than clutter up mailboxes if sent to
the whole list. (Many _questions_ ARE 1-2 lines long and
appropriately so--this guideline is not intended to apply to
SILENCE MAY BE GOLDEN: There is nothing wrong with a silent list.
OK, that's not an absolute for ALL lists. For example, for a
startup list, some continuous traffic may be desirable just so that
the list achieves critical mass of membership and volume, and does
not die from inactivity.
PROLIFIC POSTERS: Don't feel that you need to respond to _every_
message on which you have an opinion.
A lot of good information comes from some of the most frequent
contributors, and it is not atypical that the majority of people on
the list are "lurkers," and are quite happy to remain so. But
sometimes one sees an abundance of messages from the same person that
fall into the "trivial" category and it is then especially annoying.
One solution, if you really must add your two bits' worth to
_everything_, is to assemble these responses into a file, and post it
once a week. Even if you feel that you are making worthwhile and
well-considered statements with every posting, try not to dominate
the list with your own postings.
FLAMES (DON'T): Don't send flames* to the list. [*Attacks, usually
personal, typically going back and forth several times between the
same two people, ad nauseum.]
Just send it to the person you want to insult.:-) OK, so that
removes most of the "satisfaction" one gets from flaming someone in
public. Disagreements and controversy are fine and even healthy. But
when these degenerate into personal attacks and nitpicking, then
after the first round of disagreements has been aired, nothing new
of value to the list membership is usually provided, and it is only
egos that are being aired, and list members' patience that are being
tried. Some people like to flame-bait. Don't fall for it!
CONSIDERATION: Be aware of and considerate towards the _readers_.
Consider that when one posts an article, one is ostensibly doing it
either (i) for the benefit of the _other_ members of the list, or
(ii) to gain benefit from the other members of the list. In either
case, it seems that one should be considerate towards all these other
people. There are many little things you can do--here is just one
+ Don't quote the entire article when mailing a follow-up note. It is
rarely needed since most people have seen the original. If you must,
do take the minute or two extra time to edit out all but the most
pertinent part of the original article. If your own contribution is
smaller than what you're quoting, you're probably quoting too much
[also see Avoid Trivia]. If your mailer does not make it easy to
do this, don't subject everyone else to its limitations. Learn how to
save the file, edit it separately and read it back into your reply.
Some people still have 2400 baud connections to their on-line
services and this can make a _big_ difference!
Most of the above was paraphrased and downright stolen with
permission from Jeff Mayzurk of Arion/Sierra Software.
Home Page: http://www.iquest.net/~amys