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 this too.]
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 line!)
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 holder.
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 communications.]
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