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Cob: Coblist Kahuna - posting policiesShannon C. Dealy dealy at deatech.com
Fri Nov 9 15:05:15 PST 2001
A number of people lately have been including in their responses to the list, the entire contents of the message they are responding to for no apparent reason. This is contrary to the explicitly posted policies of the list sent to everyone when they first join the coblist (see item 1 in the policies included below). In addition, many of you are sending email in both plain text and html formats, plain text is the preferred format for this list, and including a second copy of your message in html format can easily make your messages five times as long or longer, needlessly clogging mailboxes for many members of the list. Remember, many internet services have significant restrictions on the total amount of storage each person is allowed to use for their email, and these excessively long messages will overload their mailboxes in short order. In addition to the above, when excessively long messages are sent to the list (so far, always due to these problems or other practices which are discouraged in the posting policies), they get routed to me for disposition, usually I pass them on to the list (possibly with some editing to eliminate the problem) or return them to the sender along with a note, in the future I may simply start discarding these messages to save my time and to discourage such practices. Please show some consideration for the people you send email to (not just the coblist), and switch your email program/web browser to send email in plain text mode only. Also, please only include in your message responses, that part of the message you are responding to which is necessary for readers to establish context. I have included below a copy of the coblist policies for everyone to review. Shannon C. Dealy | DeaTech Research Inc. dealy at deatech.com | - Custom Software Development - | Embedded Systems, Real-time, Device Drivers Phone: (800) 467-5820 | Networking, Scientific & Engineering Applications or: (541) 451-5177 | www.deatech.com LIST ADMINISTRATOR'S POLICIES: ------------------------------ Due to the large number of service providers who do not appear to be able to correctly administer their mail systems, I have been forced to adopt a policy of unsubscribing anyone whose email has been bounced as undeliverable by their service provider for more than one week. In addition, I am no longer able to spare the time to resend messages that are being bounced, even if their service provider corrects the problem. If you feel that you have missed any messages, you can always check the archives as described above for the most recent messages. If you think that you have been unsubscribed, you are always welcome to re-subscribe to the list using the instructions found through links at: http://www.deatech.com/natural/coblist but please check the archives first to see if you have been missing messages, sometimes there is no traffic on the list for one to two weeks at a time. I am sorry for the inconvenience this causes, but the administrative overhead caused by poor mail system management at some of the largest service providers was simply consuming to much time. I understand that it is not the end user's fault, but unfortunately I only have so much time to devote to the list and this is the best compromise I have been able to come up with. POSTING POLICIES: ----------------- The following list posting policy was extracted from an email I sent to the list in order to clarify what constitutes appropriate behavior. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Basic list posting policy: Do whatever you like until it irritates me, then I will tell you to do something else. If you ignore me after being warned then I kick you off the list. Sorry if some of you want a more cut and dried answer, but this is how I manage the list. To date, I have not even had to issue a warning (though I have made a few behind the scenes suggestions) and I would prefer to keep it that way. If you wish to avoid irritating me, all that is really necessary is to show consideration for others on the list by considering ALL the consequences of your actions. In order to aid those of you who are newbies or who for whatever reason haven't picked up on the basics of being a polite member of a mailing list, I will try to spell out in gory detail what I mean by this and why. How to be considerate when posting to a list: 1 - When responding to a posting by someone else, remove from your reply, all portions of their posting that you are not responding to, and make note of where the deletions occurred using "[snip]" or a similar notation (see the top of this message for an example). It may be necessary to have multiple "[snip]" marks if you are responding to several different points and interleaving your responses with their messages. This is particularly important for people who subscribe to the digest version. WHY: Any portion of the message you are not responding to but still include in your reply is: a) Wasting space in the archives b) Costing money for list members in areas which still charge by the byte transfered or by the minute of connect time. Remember this is an international list, and Internet access in many countries is much more expensive than it is in the U.S.A. c) Wasting the time of list members who end up reading this useless portion of your posting in order to get the context for reading your reply. 2 - Keep your postings on topic. This does not mean you can't discuss anything other than the specific topic, but it does mean there should be a DIRECT connection with the list topic. In other words, for the coblist it is appropriate to discuss any aspect of house building as it pertains to cob, as well as any other possible uses of cob. Examples of appropriate cob discussion would be: Cob ovens, cob furniture, cob sculpture, how to make cob, plasters, foundations, floor systems, roofs, attaching cob to other materials such as strawbale, related earth building techniques such as rammed earth, design of buildings using a mix of techniques including cob, etc. Inappropriate postings would include how to feed the world, what is wrong with our government (except of course where it pertains to buildings, permits and approvals), and any other topic which does not pertain to creating buildings using earth and straw. WHY: This is not what most members of the list signed up for, and while I certainly understand how easy it is to get off topic, the appropriate way to deal with the discussion is to take it off the list by privately sending email directly to those persons who have been involved in the off topic discussion. One of the biggest problems with trying to get the discussion off of the list is that everyone wants to be the one to have the last word to the list and prove that they were right, rather than take it off the list and have those who don't participate in the follow up think they were wrong. I understand this, it is only human nature and I suffer from this inclination like everyone else, but it is necessary to ignore your inclinations and do what is best for the list. In other words show consideration for others first and your ego second. If you want to make sure anyone who is interested in the discussion gets a chance to participate when you move it off list, send one final message on the subject to the list which contains no discussion of the topic (no fair trying to get the last word :-), but notifies everyone you are taking it off the list and that they should email you privately if they wish to discuss it further. It is particularly important to keep the discussion on topic for the following reasons: a) All of the reasons given for item one above b) If the list contains to many unrelated postings, then people who don't have time to read all of them will unsubscribe and they are often the most valuable contributors. Putting a note in the subject line or top of the message that it is off topic doesn't help since it still takes time to determine that the message is not of interest and discard it. You may think that this shouldn't be a problem because there aren't that many off topic messages on this list, but everyone on this list gets mail from other sources, including in many cases, several other lists, and the cumulative effect of all the unwanted postings mixed in with the desirable ones can consume a great deal of time. One of the reasons I don't participate more in this list is lack of time, caused in part by the amount of email I have to deal with (sometimes as much as 1000 messages a week, thankfully it's usually closer to 100 messages per week). The strawbale list lost some of it's best contributors for this very reason, and if any of you have looked at the Internet newsgroups lately, you will find that most of them have been abandoned to the advertisers because it takes to much time for people to find the useful postings in the mass of junk. c) Many of us (possibly most of us) have heard the whole debate on the current off topic subject before, regardless of what the topic is. The same off topic subjects come up over and over again within the same list, as well as on other lists. 3 - Don't include unnecessary or unusable information in your postings. Examples of this would be: Don't include copies of pages from web sites, just provide the URL for the web page so those who are interested can go and get it. It is however appropriate to collect information from a variety of web pages and condense it in order to provide a list of useful information. Messages to the list should be sent in plain text format, NOT HTML which some of you have on occasion sent though you may not realize you are doing it. If you are using a web browser to read and send email, check your configuration to make sure it sends using plain text (sorry, I can't give you specific instructions). Refrain from attaching documents in other formats, convert it to plain text first rather than making everyone else do the work for you. Don't attach pictures to your postings, put them on your personal web page and give people the URL in your posting. WHY: a) All of the reasons for item one above b) Not everyone uses a web browser to read their email, so if your mail contains HTML formating information, it makes it very hard to read. c) Not everyone has the facilities to convert documents you attach, so they cannot read your attached document. d) Many Internet service providers have limits on the size of message that their customers can receive, as well as the amount of space allowed for storage of their unread messages. If you start attaching large objects like pictures, it may not even be possible for some members of the list to receive your message because of message size limitations. Remember, whenever you post to this list you are sending your message to people all over the world (currently about 160 people), each of them with different interests, concerns, and technological capabilities in the form of Internet services, computers, and software. Before sending a message to the list, you should consider whether or not your posting is relevant to the interest each of them has expressed by their signing up for this list, and whether each member will be able to read or view all of the information you send. I am not trying to discourage anyone from posting to the list or even telling you what to do with the current off topic discussion, but keep in mind now that you have been made aware of some of the problems and issues with posting messages to an email list, anytime you fail to follow the above guidelines, you are failing to show consideration for the other members of the group. Shannon Dealy dealy at deatech.com 12/15/97
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