LISTRIVIA (was RE: Question about Architectures and Versioning)
peter at ursus.demon.co.uk
Sat Jun 13 10:28:34 BST 1998
At 17:48 12/06/98 -0700, [a posting consisted mainly of an enormous amount
of quoted material]
**** THIS CAN EFFECTIVELY DISENFRANCHISE MANY PEOPLE FROM READING THIS
I have just come back from a meeting of Science Editors with particular
reference to publishing (and the Internet) in the Third World. [More about
this later]. *** INTERNET ACCESS CAN BE EXTREMELY SCARCE AND COSTLY, AND
EVERY BYTE IS PRECIOUS ***. There are cases where people have to queue for
access to a single Internet terminal, and where the modems run at 2Kb
(sic). It can take minutes to download a message. And, of course, they have
to *PAY REAL MONEY* which is very very scarce.
Since new people are joining XML-DEV all the time, I'll remind everyone of
some of our policies on this list. [In general the standard of posting is
extremely high, and I thank you all.]
*** PLEASE TRY TO KEEP THE AMOUNT OF MATERIAL TO THE MINIMUM ***
(A) Please do not quote material from other messages unless it is vital to
what you want to say. The problem is particularly common when the new
message appears in front of the quoted material. This results in something
"I agree with this."
[and then several hundred lines of previous message in toto.]
If you want to support someone else's posting publicly, it is normally only
valuable if you can add new insights.
Never quote the signature of the list or the previous poster - we assume
that the reader has access to previous messages (through hypermail if
necessary) so they can find the poster's address and affiliation.
(B) please do not reply to both the poster *and* the list. We have to
assume that posters read the list regularly. Remember that there is a
hypermail archive with *all* the messages in full.
It is very tedious to have to re-read material several times.
[Yes, I occasionally err here :-). Usually when the mail header from the
poster is slightly unusual. I have a lot of list traffic to maintain.]
(C) Please credit the previous posters. Good use of quoting can be a
pleasure to read. It is almost always unnecessary to include more than two
Quoting should look something like:
On [date] X wrote:
>I think Y and Z should be included...
I disagree. Z is usually unnecessary except...
> [W wrote] <!-- i.e. quoted by X -->
>> Y and Z were...
> Note that Y is .... <!-- X's original message -->
Another use of Y is to ...
[Note the use of a single line to separate the various posters.]
(D) Assume that readers may not have English as their first language. Use a
spell-checker and avoid colloquialisms.
(E) Read the instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing. They are
clear, and included in the signature. I have even had messages from
competent people asking
"Please can you post this to Henry Rzepa *** as I don't have his e-mail
Since this occurs in every message to the list, this is unnecessary. [I
know some people (rightly) question the length of the signature of the
list, but it does prevent many problems. Without it you would get many more
'unsubscribe' messages posted to the list.
Yes - I err occasionally myself. And this embarrasses me (as it should)
since it has disadvantaged someone else.
Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
VSMS http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vsms, Virtual Hyperglossary
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