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Re: [BKARTS] Behavior and Topics on List?
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: Re: [BKARTS] Behavior and Topics on List?
- From: "David S. Rose" <david@FIVEROSES.ORG>
- Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 21:50:01 -0400
- Importance: Normal
- Message-id: <02b801c35c86$385eb610$0d00a8c0@dsrthinkpad>
- Sender: Book_Arts-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
To give you an idea of "how to list", that is, how to
participate in a list like this in such a way as to get the maximum
amount out of it, while both contributing to it and not annoying others,
you might find it of interest to peruse the "Netiquette" section of the
monthly welcome letter that is posted to the Letpress mailing list, a
list which actually has quite a bit of overlap with this one.
While not all of the items are directly applicable, most of them
are, and it summarizes (rather neatly, I believe) most of the "generally
accepted wisdom" with regard to appropriate behavior on mailing lists
such as this. I hope you find it useful...
David S. Rose
Five Roses Press
New York, NY
Tens of thousands of mailing lists have been operated over more than two
decades of Internet use, and during that time several basic principles
(collectively known as "netiquette") have been developed by consensus
that govern responsible use of the lists for the benefit of all their
members. While most of them are based on common sense and common
courtesy, a quick review is often helpful, especially for those who
might be new to the use of Internet mailing lists. There are several
sites online with excellent discussions of netiquette, including the
complete online text of the classic book "Netiquette" by Virginia Shea:
and TidBits' "Mailing List Manners 101 and 102":
With regard to Letpress in particular, most active members of the list
would probably agree with the following guidelines:
. When you first join Letpress, monitor the messages for a few days to
get a feel for what common questions are asked, what topics are deemed
off-limits and what the general tone of the list seems to be. This is
often referred to as lurking. When you feel comfortable with the group,
then start posting.
. Do make it a point to read both the Introduction to Letterpress
Printing (www.fiveroses.org/intro.htm) and the Letpress FAQ mentioned
above. It's a little depressing for veteran members to see the same
questions every few weeks, particularly when they know that you've been
explicitly pointed to the answers but didn't bother to click the mouse
to read them.
. Keep in mind that Letpress has members from many countries, including
the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India,
Belgium, France, Germany and others. Don't assume that everyone will
understand a reference to TV, movies, pop culture, or current events in
your country. If you must use the reference, please explain it. Also,
don't assume that everyone will understand geographical references that
are local or national.
. Remember that Letpress is dedicated *solely* to letterpress printing
and certain very closely allied subjects. Therefore please keep your
questions and comments relevant to the focus of the discussion group.
While we all have strong feelings about politics, religion and other
topics, messages about them do not belong on Letpress. There are many
other forums for those discussions; please use them. That said, Letpress
members are free to post anything letterpress-related they feel might be
of interest to others. Topics have included everything from discussions
on the history of printing, to technical Q&A, to offerings of services
and supplies by vendors and individuals.
. Because Letpress serves as a 'social club' for letterpress printers
from around the world, conversations on the list occasionally drift into
letterpress-related humor. This is acceptable (while not specifically
encouraged), but most members would appreciate it if the humor threads
were kept relatively short and sweet.
. If another person posts a comment or question that is off the subject,
do not reply to the list and keep the off-subject conversation going
. When going away for more than a week or so, please unsubscribe or
suspend mail from Letpress (and any other mailing lists to which you may
belong). This is especially true if your system is going to generate an
automatic "Sorry, I'm away" message in response to all incoming mail.
. If you would like to be able to easily differentiate incoming messages
from the Letpress list in your mailbox, simply go to the administration
page, type in your email address and name in the boxes provided, and
under Mail header style, click on the second choice (LISTSERV-style,
with list name in subject). That way, all messages from the list will
show up in your box with [LETPRESS] preceding the subject in the subject
line. Even easier, for those with all but the most rudimentary email
programs, simply set up a new mailbox just for Letpress, and then create
a "rule" to move all mail from the list into that box as soon as it
arrives. Voila, all the list in one place, with no interference of your
. When quoting another person, edit out whatever isn't directly
applicable to your reply. Don't let your e-mail software automatically
quote the entire body of messages you are replying to when it's not
necessary. Take the time to edit any quotations down to the minimum
necessary to provide context for your reply. Nobody likes reading a long
message in quotes for the third or fourth time, only to be followed by a
one line response: "Yeah, me too." This is especially true if you
subscribe to Letpress in what is called "Digest Mode". In addition, if
you are quoting part of a previous message, make sure to put it BELOW
your own comments, instead of at the top. Otherwise recipients who only
scan the first paragraphs of messages will assume that it is a duplicate
and toss it without reading.
. Use discretion when forwarding a long mail message to Letpress. It's
preferable to reference the source of a document and provide
instructions on how to obtain a copy (as this message does with the
Introduction and FAQ above.)
. Some members choose to use a special "signature" that is appended
automatically by their e-mail program to every message they write. While
this can be useful to everyone else by letting us know where you're
located, or with what organization you are affiliated, overly-long
"sigs" (say, over three or four lines) with graphics, lengthy quotations
and the like are much more of an annoyance than a help, and give your
readers the impression that you're clueless rather than cool.
. Note that this is a text-based mailing list, and no graphics or
pictures are allowed. If you want to share an image, you should arrange
for it to be posted online somewhere, and then include a link to the
location in your message. Few things will bring down the wrath of the
list faster than a message with an attachment.
. While e-mail messages composed in HTML format (of the kind used on web
pages) allow the author a wide range of formatting and linking options,
they will, unfortunately, will be passed directly through by the list
server to ALL subscribers. This creates a very real problem for the
significant minority of Letpress members who, for one reason or another,
use e-mail programs that are not able to correctly read HTML mail. For
those members (and there are many more of them than the casual user
might think) this means that even the simplest of messages comes across
as pages of what appears to be gibberish, and there is no way around it.
It is therefore standard netiquette, both on Letpress and other such
mailing lists, for EVERYONE to post ALL messages in plain text format
(such as this message.)
. Please resist the temptation to "flame" others on the list. These
discussions are "public" and meant for constructive exchanges. Treat the
others on the list as you would want them to treat you. Remember that
you are responsible for all postings made by you, or from your account.
Please think before you post anything inflammatory which you may later
on regret having posted.
. If something is confidential, please do not send it to the list. All
postings are copyright to their respective poster, but should be thought
of as a publication in Letpress and its Archive. Your post goes to at
least 700 of your closest friends, and all messages are captured for the
Archive. Once in the Archive they will not be removed. At the same time,
however, you need to realize that even though a member posts a comment
to the whole list, this does not put it into the public domain, and you
may not copy and use that comment elsewhere without permission, whether
on the Internet, in a print medium, or elsewhere.
. There are some issues on which Letpress will never, ever come to
agreement (including things such as the optimum amount of impression,
the definition of an "amateur" printer, whether or not printing from
photopolymer plates is "real" letterpress, and whether or not an
Original Heidelberg should be called a "windmill".) Threads on these
insoluble questions get very tiring very quickly, so please don't drag
them out unnecessarily.
. When posting a question to Letpress the answer to which would clearly
not be of general interest (such as "who wants to buy my
snickelwooper?"), please request that responses be directed to you
personally, "off-list". If appropriate, you can then post a summary or
answer to your question to the group. One nice way to do this (for that
particular message only) is to use the option in your e-mail program to
have replies sent to your specific address (under "Options" in MS
Outlook, for example). That said, however, Letpress would definitely
benefit from the answers to many different types of questions, so if you
have to choose, please err on the side of staying "ON-list".
. When replying to a message posted to the Letpress list, ALWAYS check
the address to be certain it's going to the intended location (either a
person or the List address). It can be very embarrassing if a
correspondent replies incorrectly and posts to the entire List a
personal message that was intended for an individual. That said, even
the most experienced of us sometimes blow this one, and you should be
sympathetic and look the other way if you see a public posting that
obviously should have been private.
. When you first signed up for Letpress, the LISTERV software
automatically sent you a "subscription" letter. It is important to save
that e-mail for your reference. You should also seriously consider
saving on your own computer this message, the "Introduction To
Letterpress Printing" and the FAQ. That way if you go on vacation you
will have the subscription address for suspending mail. At any time you
can instantly get a complete list of all the commands available to list
members (and there are some nifty ones) by sending to
email@example.com the message "info refcard" (without the
. Other people on the list are not interested in your desire to be added
or deleted. Any requests regarding administrative tasks such as being
added or removed from a list should be made to the LISTSERV address, not
the list itself. (See above and read the FAQ!) Occasionally, however,
subscribers to the list who are not familiar with proper netiquette will
submit requests to SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE directly to Letpress itself.
Be tolerant of this activity, and possibly provide some useful advice,
as opposed to being critical.
. Finally, after you've been a member here for a few weeks or months,
please do try to post a question, an answer or a comment at least once
in a while. Letpress members include many of the world's leading experts
on letterpress printing, type-founding and other subjects, but these
folks don't stay around solely for your pleasure. Everyone, no matter
how much of a letterpress novice, or how shy, is capable of contributing
to the list, and long-term lurking really isn't fair to the rest of
those who participate. Sucking up all that useful information without
trying to make a contribution yourself in return is very parasitic
Note: Some of the preceding suggestions were based upon a useful guide
to Netiquette developed by Arlene Rinaldi for Florida Atlantic
University. The full guide can be found at
*Postings may not be re-printed in any form without the express
consent of the author - Please respect their contributions & ©*
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