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Mailing Lists Etiquette

The list below are specific to the rockbox.org mailing lists. Where they differ with respect to RFC1855, these points override those in RFC1855:

Violating these guidelines will make people ignore your posts and possibly get you kicked off the list.

  1. Subscription requirements.
  2. Sending a new message to the list.
  3. Replying to a message from the list.
  4. Sensible subjects.
  5. Searching the archives, the web and the wiki
  6. Automatic replies.
  7. Unsubscribing.
  8. Credits and further reading

1. Subscription requirements.

Recently, we have had to impose a restriction on the mailing lists. You must be subscribed to the mailing list in order to post messages to that mailing list. This is mainly due to the massive amounts of spam we need to deal with somehow otherwise.

2. Sending a new message to the list.

DO NOT reply to an existing message as a short-cut to post a message to the lists. Email is not a disjunct set of messages, but is threaded, and mailing lists use this feature to provide a coherent archive. Many email clients also group messages into a thread. When ever you hit the "Reply" button, it adds information to your outgoing email that tells the rest of the world that it is a reply to that message.

3. Replying to a message from the list.

When you do reply to a message someone else has posted, please use the "Group reply" or "Reply to all" button on your mailer. Individual developers don't know everything, and by replying to them personally, you effectively cut yourself off from all the other people who could help you. Please ensure that you reply to the list.

If you are including the original message in your reply, always edit the message such that it only quotes the sections which are relevant to your reply. Don't just quote the whole of the message to which you're replying.

Also, please use a mail client which correctly includes References: and/or In-Reply-To: headers in email replies. These headers are what keeps threads together by indicating precisely which messages you are replying to, and the absence of them obfuscates the mailing list by making your reply appear to start a new thread of its own rather than being correctly associated with the message to which you replied. Some mail clients, in particular some configurations of Microsoft Outlook, are not standards-compliant and do not conform to the recommendations of RFC 2822. In the case of Outlook you may be able to work around the bug by switching to its 'Internet Email' mode.

If you reply to a message, don't use top-posting. Top-posting is when you write the new text at the top of a mail and you insert the previous quoted mail conversation below.

This is why top posting is so bad:

        A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read
           text.
        Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
        A: Top-posting.
        Q: What is the most annoying thing in e-mail?
All this is pretty straight forward, and can be found in RFC1855 - Netiquette Guidelines.

4. Sensible subjects.

By phrasing a correct and descriptive subject of your mail, you increase the chances of it being read by persons who you address. This is particularly important for the people who subscribe to a mailing list in digest mode since then the subject of the mail a user replies to is by default always unsuitable for sending.

5. Searching the archives, the web and the wiki

Please search the mailing list archives before posting a technical question or a problem to the mailing lists. It is highly possible that your question has already been asked before, or someone else has encountered your problem and a solution has already been aired on the lists.

6. Automatic replies.

We don't need to know that you're out of office. If you enable an autoresponder, do it in such a way that it doesn't respond to mailing list messages. Failure to do so will get you unsubscribed from the list.

7. Unsubscribing.

You NEVER ever mail to the list asking to get unsubscribed. You use the same page to unsubscribe that you used to subscribe. As bonus feature, every single mail sent out from the mailing list contains unsubscribe information in the mail headers.

8. Credits and further reading.

Parts of these etiquette guidelines come from Russell King's guide from the linux-arm-kernel mailing list.

"How To Ask Questions The Smart Way"

"How do I quote correctly in Usenet"


Page was last modified "Jan 10 2012" The Rockbox Crew
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