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Effective communication on our mailing lists

The New York City *BSD User Group strives to create an environment welcoming to all. This means we do not tolerate racist, sexist or homophobic actions or comments anywhere on our mailing lists and at all of our events. We hope that each and every NYC*BUG participant should view this code of conduct as a reminder to help maintain a respectful environment and create a welcoming community.

The primary goal of our lists are to have useful and enjoyable discussions. Good manners are important, both being civil and conforming to a style of writing and replying that helps us talk. This is called netiquette and its use will help you to become a well respected member of this community.

You might be thinking "why should I do this netiquette thing?", a leading question if ever there was one and thanks for asking it. The goal here is effective communication and this will help you do that here. We have borrowed a set of rules from the Usenet community that has proven to be very successful in getting people to communicate across space and time (no joke). We also want to be able to do these things here. What you gain by using these rules is to influence people to help you by showing respect for their time. You are not being rude and this helps you solve your problems because over time you will get more and better answers. This is because many of us are very busy, you to probably, and if it takes too much time and effort we will not bother to read your posts. And it is just that simple.

Now here is how we do it. Its really simple.

Time

Operate under the assumption that other people's time is more valuable then yours, it just good manners after all.

Attitude

NYC*BUG's theme is "A forum for discussion and a bridge for learning". This means we operate under different guidelines than other *BSD mailing lists. Please be understanding to newbie questions and do not slam less informed users or accuse them of trolling. Remember: Discussion is encouraged, BASHING is not. Bridging is encouraged, RTFM is not.

Quote your message

With a '>' in the first column of the text you are replying to, and this can be done in most mail packages, including Outlook.

Please do not top post

Top Posting refers to responding to a message from the top of the response email. While this is often the convention for many email discussions and is also the default for most end-user mail applications, it is inconvenient for the many who follow the list with text-based mail user agents (MUAs), such as Pine and Mutt. When responding to a message, please begin your response at the bottom of the message or below the first part you want to comment on and work your way down.

Please quote to what you are responding

Quoting in a response is a natural and often necessary feature in mailing list discussions. It is encouraged so that it is clear to anyone jumping mid-way during a discussion can see what exactly you are responding to, and they do not have to remember or refer to the original posts. Quoting is also necessary to verify the validity of your response.

For example, if you are having a hard argument about one topic or another, and are not quoting the person you are responding to, how do we know you are accurately and fairly responding?

But there is generally absolutely no need to keep the entire message text intact. Just keep enough of the parts that you are replying to so that the rest of us have some context and can figure out what you are saying.

Personal disagreements

If you want to have a hissy fit, please do not do it here. If it becomes a problem we will take the proper measures to have peace restored. We are here for a purpose and that is not it.

Personal attacks and profanity (in the context of an argument) are not allowed, and that includes users and admins alike. Gross breaches of netiquette, like excerpting or reposting private mail when permission to do so was not and would not be forthcoming, are frowned upon but not specifically enforced. However, there are also very few cases where such content would fit within the charter of a list and it would therefore probably rate a warning (or ban) on that basis alone.

Ask well thought-out questions

If it looks like you took time to write a well formed, researched and thought out question the rest of us are much more likely to help you and will probably do it quicker and/or get it right on the first time. As any technical person can tell you it is not the fixing that takes the time it the finding whats broken. So please help us find whats broken.

Advertising

Advertising of non-NYC*BUG related products or services is strictly prohibited and will result in an immediate ban if it is clear that the offender is advertising by spam.

Other Links

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way, Eric Steven Raymond.
How to get the best results from FreeBSD questions, Greg Lehey.