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Mailing List Etiquette

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Paul "LeoNerd" Evans
July 4, 2020 11:49
Mailing List Etiquette
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TL;DR: Remember to trim quotes when replying; change subject field if
  appropriate; include TL;DR summary on long posts.


As we seem to be getting a lot of traffic lately, I would like to take
a moment to remind everyone of a few "good citizen" tips that will help
make everyone's life easier when reading and responding to messages. As
the volume of traffic increases, so too does the importance of being
able to convey your message succinctly, without overly annoying
everyone else trying to read it.

 1) Trim quoted sections when replying.

    If you are replying to just a small part of a long message please
    remember to delete the parts of the quote that are not relevant to
    your reply. Many email clients will even do this automatically - if
    you highlight just a portion of a message and hit the "Reply"
    button, only that section will be quoted for you to reply to.

    Doing this saves a lot of burden on the readers for not having to
    scroll past irrelevant parts that you are not responding to. This
    is especially important if there is more content *below* your
    reply. Nobody wants to have to scroll to the end of the quote only
    to find nothing more added there. So too if all you are doing is
    posting a one-line "I agree"-type message. No need to provide
    a full quote of the content; just a short one-line will do fine.

 2) Change the "Subject" field if you are drifting the topic onto
    something else tangential.

    If often happens - someone makes a side comment that gains a reply,
    and spawns a different conversation. This is fine, but please
    remember to alter the "Subject" line of your reply to indicate
    this fact. Most decent email clients will be able to show that this
    may be a new thread of conversation, and detach it from the old
    one. Doing so helps other people who are not interested in
    following that side-topic to ignore it, and focus on the original

 3) Give a one-line "executive summary" at *TOP* of the message,
    or relevant sections thereof.

    Sometimes called a TL;DR - for the flippant "too long; didn't read"
    reply - these handy summaries are good for letting people know the
    direction of your message before they read it, in order to judge
    their level of interest and investment in spending the time to read

    You will perhaps notice that I have done that in this message
    itself - both overall, and for each of these three sections. I hope
    you will agree that it has helped you follow along.

Paul "LeoNerd" Evans      |  |

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