Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(November 2005)

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Subject: Re: Posting style filters?
From: Jim Osborn <jimo @ eskimo . com>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 22:45:01 -0800
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <43850C13 . 90305 @ btinternet . com>
Mail-followup-to: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
References: <20051124000638 . GA23161 @ firedrake . org> <43850C13 . 90305 @ btinternet . com>
User-agent: Mutt/1.4i

On Thu, Nov 24, 2005 at 12:40:51AM +0000, lee wrote:
> I don't know of such software; However do you really feel that
> top-posting is a technique which is bad enough to warrant being
> bounced? Or indeed 'too much' quoting? 

Many of the lists of which I am a member do enforce such policies.
It seems the more the lists are targeted at "professional" membership
the more the maintainers keep tight hands on the reins.  My wife
subscribes to a botanical list that fully moderates new members.
Once you've demonstrated that you can follow the list's etiquette
rules, you're granted un-moderated status, which must help take
the load off the maintainer.

> I wouldn't have such views on the mail lists I admin, because I
> believe such things are the personal choice of the poster with pros
> and cons from both sides. 

That's a choice you're free to make as a list manager.
One of the virtues of the mailing list is the freedom to be as
democratic or autocratic as the maintainer desires (assuming 
corporate decision makers aren't setting policies).

> If one or more readers don't personally like an email to be
> structured in such a way, and actively object to it, I would feel
> they are petty and more interested in finding fault rather than
> considering what is actually being written. 

I think some of the more autocratic formats arise from a desire to
increase the signal-to-noise ratio in an environment where noise
can easily get out of hand.  It's hard enough to keep up with
just the signals on lists that deal with serious information.

One of my favorite lists deals with aggressive dogs.  That listmom
specifies the format of the Subject line, the line length of the
body, and has guidelines for sentence structure and grammar, as well
as the customary rules regarding excess quotation, plain-text-only,
etc. There's also a booklist you're expected to have read before you
post at all.  If you make your living helping people manage difficult
dogs, I guess you don't stand for any breaking of the rules on the
list you run.  Sit. Stay. Write. :) The signal-to-noise ratio there
is very high indeed. 

As Chuq said, this stuff is religious, and minds aren't often
changed by debating the subject.



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From: Jim Osborn <jimo @ eskimo . com>
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