[clug] Ethics & etiquette

Scott Ferguson scott.ferguson.clug at gmail.com
Tue Jan 27 13:50:56 MST 2015

On 27/01/15 23:09, Bryan Kilgallin wrote:
> Thanks, Scott:
>> https://wiki.debian.org/DebianMailingLists
> I read that plain text was recommended.

You read correctly sir. :)
Some 'may' prefer HTML(*1), others prefer plain text - as do many list
administrators. Plain text is lighter on resources and renders more
uniformly in various MUAs. It also focuses the writer on bread instead
of butter. Some are adverse to HTML(*1) for "security" reasons, others
because the limited subset of HTML email supports varies according to
the MUA(*2). Given all that, plain text is the best way to get your
message read by all.

(*1) MUAs can only be relied on to support a subset of HTML4, and
despite almost 2 decades of looking and asking I've yet to see any
"security problems" with HTML in email. (I prefer plain text for lists
Note: various Windows flaws (doors?) have been exploited in the past
through Outlook - but not due to any problems with support for HTML in

(*2) http://www.email-standards.org/


>>> Important differences are that it's unmoderated, no one is required
>>> to answer anyone else (freedom - see the previously referenced Hacker
>>> Ethics for expansion), and that includes the freedom to limit our
>>> exposure i.e. we are free to use any name we like, we are free to
>>> never answer any questions, we are also free to find the perceived
>>> behavior of others frustrating (hopefully while being aware of all
>>> the permutations).
> Whereas I was more used to moderated discussions. 

Moderation - in the context of mailing lists refers to a process
designed to encourage a diversity of opinion on a subject. Which is
distinct from "censorship" - the process of "disappearing" material
deemed disagreeable (often wrongly described as only being censorship if
done by government).

If a list has no one who holds an official position to do that the list
is called "unmoderated". However, the list may still be "moderated"...
as most lists are, by other posters e.g. "Oy Bill! Don't be so hard on
the n00b, you were new once yourself".

>> If you have more questions - please search the web for
>> "how to ask smart questions first" 

> http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

Yes - *that* guide.  :)
Probably the best guide IMO on "how to get answers to your question".

Kind regards

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