RFC - e-mail in tough environments
yavor at gnu.org
Thu Dec 10 17:35:26 UTC 2009
Matthias Kirschner wrote:
> - *E-Mail signature* Keep it small and simple. Signatures longer
> than five lines should be avoided.
IIRC in the good old days the standard was maximum 4 lines (5 lines
with the "-- " sig separator).
> - *Mailinglists* Use list-reply. It is not necessary to include the
> sender in To: or Cc: if he is subscribed. If the e-mail programs
> are configured correct the sender will be Cc’ed if he is not
> subscribed or wishes to be Cc’ed.
Hmm. This is certainly debatable. On GNU and GNOME mailing lists
(and I dare to say, on *most* free software lists) the default policy
is to always to CC people who participated in the thread.
This is fairly logical:
I am a user who discovered a bug in GNU Foo, and post to
bug-foo at gnu.org. I should not be required to subscribe, and I
should not be required to dig eventual followups via inconvenient
interfaces like Mailman's archives, or -- heaven forbid -- something
like the various/nefarious mail archiving sites like nabble.com. I
should get the response right away.
I'm a regular lurker on the bug-foo list, thus I'm subscribed. A
user reports a bug/misfeature, or is confused about something in the
`foo' package, so I reply to him. It is not feasible to check
whether the user is subscribed, even if I happen to be the list
admin. I just CC her, to be on the safe side and save her extra
I happen to develop gnome-foo and need to announce a string change
to gnome-i18n during a string freeze. I'm not a translator myself,
and I'm not subscribed to that list. I post the announcement, but a
translator then asks a question about the new (cryptic) string,
which I don't receive.
I'm subscribed to many lists, but I don't read regularly all of
them. However, if I participate in a discussion on some of those
"low interest" lists, I appreciate if a person who posts to the
thread CCs me. I know this is not very usual situation, but the
more mail I'm processing as years go by, the more I appreciate it.
There are plenty. Really.
From all the lists I'm subscribed to (much more than 200, actually),
TTBOMK only Debian has a strict no-CC policy. I comply, of course,
although I notice that many DDs don't bother. (The extra mental
excercise to determine where you're posting to is also slightly
annoying.) In general, it seems to me that a no-CC policy is very
inter-community friendly (you sort your mail easily, and you rely
people to CC you when you ask), but basically user-unfriendly -- it is
very presumptuous to rely that the OP is going to search and watch for
your-almighty-followup just because you happen to have an odd list
More generally speaking, mailing lists are a gross hack to replace
Usenet newsgroups, just because the new kids on the block seem to find
NNTP archaic and weird (partly because most "modern" user-agents have
from moderate to poor NNTP support). Thus the always-CC vs. no-CC
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