Mailing list etiquette

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Some brief notes about appropriate behaviour on the mailing list.

  • Don't send large attachments to the list.
  • Don't send HTML email to the list, use text only. Also, don't send dual-format mails containing both text and HTML.
  • Don't send one-line emails that have no useful content. (But one-line emails where the line is relevant are fine.)
  • When replying, don't "top-post". Top-posting is replying with the response above the entire text of the original mail, like this:
From: Jane Doe
Subject: Re: Lunch

Yes, we should do lunch.  14:30 sounds good.

John Smith wrote:
> Hi guys,
>
> Should we do lunch this week?
>
> If so, what time?
> _______________________________________________
> Toolserver-l mailing list
> Toolserver-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/toolserver-l

Top posting is bad because it requires people to scroll down, read the original text, then scroll up again and read the reply. (Many people get a lot of email, and won't necessarily remember what the last mail was about without reading it again.) Here is an example of top posting.

  • When replying, don't "bottom post". Bottom posting is the same as top posting, except the reply is at the end:
From: Jane Doe
Subject: Re: Lunch

John Smith wrote:
> Hi guys,
>
> Should we do lunch this week?
>
> If so, what time?
> _______________________________________________
> Toolserver-l mailing list
> Toolserver-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/toolserver-l

Yes, we should do lunch.  14:30 sounds good.

Bottom posting is bad because it includes a lot of extraneous information which the reader has to scroll past to see the reply. Here is an example of bottom posting.

  • When replying, do post inline, and trim quotes. This means that your replies are interspersed with the original mail, and any irrelevant content is removed (trimmed):
From: Jane Doe
Subject: Re: Lunch

John Smith wrote:
> Should we do lunch this week?

Yes.

> If so, what time?

14:30 sounds good.

Inline posting allows people to easily read your reply and the content being replied to, even if they haven't seen the original message. For this reason, it is the standard quoting style for public forums on the Internet. Here is an example of inline quoting.

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