RE: ADMIN: Civility and content

Subject: RE: ADMIN: Civility and content
From: MList -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2003 13:23:58 -0400

I too have been subscribed for years'n'years.
I hope that I've contributed, at least occasionally, but overall, I must
be part of the problem, since I don't really see all that much of a

The things that *I* would like to see on the list are:

a) labels like they use on CE-L (the copyeditors list), and yes that
includes the MISC: and CHAT: labels

b) more care (yes I'm guilty) in subject lines

c) related to b), *change* the darn subject when the topic drifts
and change the label from QUERY: or TOOLS: or whatever to CHAT:
when that becomes appropriate

d) and this is the biggie, [SOLVED] posts, which sum up the original
problem and the answer(s) that worked. Archives really need
such milestones. In fact, the "real" archive should probably
consist of just those posts. Well, maybe there could also be
[UNSOLVED] sum-ups for those times that everybody admits there's
not a solution, and others would benefit from knowing that they
can stop banging their heads...

Yes, I know that Eric pooh-poohed the notion of labels, but they
have proven very useful on the CE-L. Lots of people filter out
the CHAT: and MISC: labels, 'cuz those people are all business,
all the time. Other people practically live in the CHAT: section,
and it helps to keep the list friendly and give it an ongoing
character, rather than an impersonal, disconnected atmosphere.

Personally, I like to commiserate with folks who are having a
rough day (or series of days), both to help jolly them along
until the next patch of solid ground, and to know that other
people have bad days, too. As well, I *do* like to share the
humor of our (sorta) common situation.

Perhaps something could be arranged at the server end, to
filter certain Subject TAGS: before they are sent to certain
members, thereby eliminating the bandwidth problem for those
who live in the technological fringes.

AND ANOTHER THING! whoops, I was shouting there... sorry...

If the owner's server bandwidth is not a problem, then the
sheer volume of messages should not be a problem for the
rest of us, given that we have labels and good Subject lines
to rely on. (Condolences to those who are still hostage to
a pay-per-byte internet connection, but you are vastly in
the minority.)

A couple of somebodies mentioned the "interruption" factor.
There isn't one. If, in this day and age, you choose to use
an e-mail reader that isn't capable of filtering/processing
your incoming mail into sub-folders, then you are the author
of your own interruption-misfortune. All the rest of us have
our various list-related messages automatically shunted into
off-line (or online) folders, the moment they arrive. My
inbox *never* has a Techwr-l post or a CE-L post or an OCLUG
(Ottawa Canada Linux Users Group) post, or a Framers post,
etc., etc. in it. If I want to peek at those messages, I click
on the relevant folder in my mail program, where they are all
nicely arranged in an order that pleases me, with color cues,
threading, and so on. This is true at work, where I use
Outlook, and it's true at home where I use any of several
free mail programs on Linux.

When I get busy, I can go *days* without reading anything from
any of the lists. When I resume, sometimes I don't even
bother skimming what came in while I was occupied... unless
there's an interesting thread still going on, and I dig back
in its history. That's actually more likely on the lists that
(whose members, not owners) enforce proper labelling and subject
lines and subject-line changes.

But again, the list (nor any of the others) never interrupts my
day or my train of thought, because I -- and the very standard
technology that I use -- don't let it.

In the techy lists that run most smoothly, it is the members
who are most likely to say "Please re-Tag or please change
the Subject line. This is no longer on the original topic." Also,
when a thread dries up, somebody usually reminds the originator
that they owe the group a [SOLVED] post or other summary.

The fact of having a CHAT: tag is, indeed, permission to wander
off into conversational hinterlands, but it is also a way to
keep the interested people on the list by giving them an easily
filtered place to take (or even start) threads that are not
strictly technical.

If there is to be no social element to Techwr-l at all, then
that doesn't apply. I hope otherwise. I derive as much value
from the social outlet of my ... dare I say it... peers, as I
do from the more technical discussions.

As others have suggested, if there's a too-low posting limit,
then I'll save my daily limit in case I have a question.
If I answer anything, ever, I'll have to decide who -- in a day --
is worthy of my assistance. Or, I can just save up and
respond to several queries in one daily post, thereby destroying
the usefulness of archives. Well, maybe not if I'm the only one
doing it, but you get my drift.



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