Bill and George's
for the Canals List
These have been cobbled together from observations made by the
canals list manager, from e-mails received from canals list members,
and from perusing netiquette files from other lists and newsgroups.
There is nothing here that should be controversial.
Nothing on the canals list thus far has been that big a problem.
Most complaints have been about excessive quoting of previous
messages, which is why that is the first suggestion listed.
Quote as little as possible from previous messages
Quote just enough for context. This reduces the burden on those
with slow connections or those who pay by the number of characters they
receive or pay by download time (e.g., like cellphone users on boats). It's
also an infernal nuisance to our digest readers, who hate to see the same
text quoted over and over again in their digests. It also keeps down the
network traffic, and keeps down the size of the archive files. Often, a couple
of words of explanation, rather than a longer quote, will be sufficient to
remind readers of the points being discussed.
A good rule of thumb is that you generally should
not quote much more than the length of your reply. For instance,
if your reply is 3 lines, you should think seriously as to
whether you need to quote more than 3 or 4 lines of the
message to which you are replying.
Don't post or quote private email without permission
Don't post or quote to the list email that was sent
to you personally, without the permission of the sender.
Use meaningful subject lines
Here just for the record. Everyone seems to have been
doing a fine job at this.
Try to keep the subject short
Some mail readers display only the first 25 characters
or so of a subject. [Everyone seems to be doing well at
Send one message per subject
Some people send a message out with a specific subject
heading. The message starts by discussing that subject,
and then introduces a totally new subject. Discussion of
this new thread continues under the old subject heading,
leading to the situation where there is no equivalence
between the subject heading and the matters under discussion.
This is important, because some busy people skim through a
'received message summary sheet' and only select those
messages with a heading in which they are interested -
consigning the rest to hyper-space - thus missing messages
that they ARE interested because they carry headings that
they ARE NOT interested in.
Use a line length of no more than 65 characters in your messages.
Otherwise some will have difficulty reading them. And they're
more easily printed that way. (This may be easier said than
done, as we've seen mailers that do word-wrap while you're
composing the message, but then send each paragraph as one
Reply to the sender or to the list/newsgroup?
If it is completely clear that only a personal reply
to the sender is appropriate, do so. Otherwise, feel free
to post! The philosophy of the canals list, prior to the
formation of uk.rec.waterways, was to encourage posting, in
order to have a lively and friendly group. We hope this
continues with the newsgroup.
Remember that the list is not just for you
Most people are probably not terribly interested in 80% of what
gets posted to any particular list/newsgroup. It's the other 20%
that keeps them as members. But for each of us, which messages
fall into which category is completely different. Best you
can do is to skip/delete those messages that don't interest you.
Triple check the information that you post
Make sure that telephone numbers, addresses, email
addresses, web addresses, etc. are correct the first time.
Check your facts, or express your degree of confidence in them.
Make sure your meaning is clear
There are no vocal inflections, facial expressions, or
gestures that accompany your messages! It's just bald prose
and its tone subject to interpretation by the readers. So
use smileys :) frownies :( or other indicators ([grin] or
[ha ha], for example) when needed to clarify the tone of your message.
Don't post copyrighted material without permission from the copyright
If you didn't create the material yourself, someone else has
the copyright, even if it's not officially registered. Brief
quotes of copyrighted material are generally acceptable. [The
convention is, however, that mailing list
messages themselves can be freely quoted WITHIN other mailing
postings. However, DO NOT QUOTE mailing list messages OUTSIDE
of the mailing list. Internet convention is that emails, like
those you receive on the mailing list, are considered PRIVATE
Avoid libelous statements
Yes, you're mad. But don't post anything here that you wouldn't
say in the newspaper or on television. HOWEVER, most (if not
all) democracies have the concept of "fair comment". You can
review, for example, a canal boat hire firm just like you can
review a movie or a book. Both positive and negative observations
can be made in the context of a fair review.
Learn how to use the features of your mail reading program
Take some time with the manual, tutorials, or help screens.
You may find something useful! In addition to editing replies,
including files, and such, you may be able to thread messages
on the same subject, or receive your canals mail into a
mailbox distinct from your other messages.
If you'll be away and not reading your mail...
Will your mailbox fill up? Will messages to you start
bouncing? If so, please set your list subscription to
"nomail" until your return.
Double check the destination of your message
Some messages were sent to the list, with a cc: ("carbon
copy") sent to the list also, with the result that the
same message appeared twice.
Turn off confirmations
Don't know much about these, but the list has occasionally
received messages saying that "so-and-so has read your message".
These are apparently the result of a feature of Pegasus mail.
They occur because the *sender* of the message has confirmation
requests turned on. If this message is then received by a
Pegasus user who has confirmation replies turned on, then
one of these confirmation messages is generated. The responsibility
seems to lie mainly with the sender, who should turn
off confirmation requests whenever posting to the list.
George Pearson Bill Davies
Text Copyright © 1995-2005 by George Pearson and Bill Davies.
Last Modified: Tuesday, 18-Oct-05 10:30 pm CDT