Re: Topical Postings

Subject: Re: Topical Postings
From: Kat Nagel/MasterWork <katnagel -at- EZNET -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 1996 13:58:59 -0400

Christiane responded to Eric's reminder about appropriate topics:
>I must say how surprised I am to read such a statement.
> [snip]
>Of all the lists I'm subscribed to, this one
>is the only one to be so stern.

Ah, what a sheltered cyberlife you live!

Many of the lists I'm on are -far- more restrictive than TECHWR-L.

Many professional lists (mostly software, business, medical and
music lists) suspend or permanently unsubscribe offenders who
post off-topic messages.

Two lists I've subscribed to for years block -all- posts from specific
domains because a spammer used those domains to do his
dirty deeds. The subscribers who had accounts with those ISPs had
to switch providers or do without those lists.

I have been barred from one list because I expressed an opinion
that politely differed from that of the listowner---and had the gall
to provide easily-verifiable facts to back up my opinion. (At the
time, I too had the illusion that mailing lists were democracies. Hah!
When has anybody -voted- to elect a listowner?)

One promissing new list was started as a spinoff from a very
restrictive list. It was a dismal failure---the new listowner was
equally vicious, she just had different tastes.

I subscribed to my first mailing list about four years ago. I have
subscribed to over 100 lists since that time---and resigned from
most of them. The ones I continue to inflict on myself have
these common characteristics:

* They provide useful information.

* They are---at least occasionally---entertaining.

* The listowners are efficient, reasonable and polite, even
under extreme provocation.

My advice [(c) K. Nagel, 1996 <g>]:

* Set up your email software to filter messages into folders. Talk
to your sysadmin if necessary; even brain-dead entities like PINE and
MS-whatever can usually be individually configured. You just have
to convince your sysadmin that it's worth the effort.

* Get individual messages, not digests.

* Sort by topic.

* Read the first message or two from a new topic. If it's useful
(or entertaining <g>) read the rest. Otherwise trash the suckers.
For example, I have filters that automatically trash any items
with "Dr. Seuss", "cookie recipe", "Good Times" or "$$$" in the
Subject: field.

I am currently trashing most of the grammar discussions on both
copyediting-L and TECHWR-L, and archiving-without-reading the
TECHWR-L salary discussions. While I -do- feel that both of these
topics -are- appropriate for for TECHWR-L (sorry, Eric), I'm just
too busy right now to read them. If I need the information later, I
can search the archives, either my own or the official ones.

My last bit of advice?

* Get a life. There are more important things to waste energy on
than endless discussions about appropriate topics.

Kat Nagel___________________________________________________
LIFE1: Technical writing, editing and document design
MasterWork Consulting Services katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net
LIFE2: Vocal chamber music PlaynSong -at- aol -dot- com

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