Using the Mailing List

What runs the Mailing List?

The mailing list is run using the mailman software. It is hosted on a server run by the wider community, not HantsLUG.

Who do I talk to about problems with the list?

Ask the hostmaster.

How do I unsubscribe?

If you wish to unsubscribe from the mailing list, see the mailman page (near the bottom) for instructions.

E-mail clients

Why do some people's emails arrive as attachments, and could they stop doing it please?

They are using a cryptographic signature for their emails. The signature and the text of the email are separated by using PGP/MIME in the email. Most email clients will handle this more or less correctly, and display the text in-line, and either check the signature, or display it as an attachment. Outlook Express, and some webmail systems, do not display the email correctly. The authors of such emails are unlikely to respond well to requests not to sign their emails simply to make broken email clients "work" better.

Why do some e-mails not have replies prefixed with '>'

This is because the person involved is using Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express, two of the most evil e-mail clients around. These by default adhere to few standards regarding e-mail and break all rules of quoting known to man. If you must use Outlook or Outlook Express, using poor quoting is not an excuse since there are fixes available. Most noteworthy is this one:

Why do some e-mails have lines >80 characters

See the answer to the above.

Why does a particular e-mail suck in general?

Again, most likely it is to do with the answer to the above.

What is threading?

Threading is a feature found in most e-mail clients, like mutt and Mozilla Thunderbird. It allows e-mails that are related to be grouped together. It makes reading mail from a high-volume list a lot easier, and is used by a lot of people on the list. Mail clients "thread" mails based on subject line and hidden e-mail headers. Some people can get quite upset if you break the threading accuracy of their mail client by failing to follow the tips above.


Why do people complain about off-list e-mails?

Taking a thread off-list is considered bad ettiquette, because whilst there may only be two people involved in a thread, there may be a number of other interested parties reading it. Taking a thread off-list prevents them from reading the thread and learning tips and tricks. It also means that the resolution to the original problem won't be archived, so it can't be referred back to.

The alternative of sending technical questions to specific members off-list is equally bad ettiquette. The prinicpal of a mailing list is that anyone can answer the questions. Sending e-mails to individuals off-list negates all the advantages of a mailing list:

  • You are reliant on that person to respond. If they are away from their keyboard or on holiday, it could be days or weeks before you get a reply. By using the mailing list, you can get a reply from anyone who knows something about the subject.
  • That person could be wrong in their reply. If someone gives bad advice on the mailing list, they will almost certainly be told so. This won't happen if you e-mail people off-list. Alternatively, you can judge which is the most recommended solution from the responses yourself.
  • That person may not be the best person to contact about that subject. You, or they, might think they are the best person to answer the question, but they may not be. You never know who is reading e-mails on the mailing list and what experience or expertise they have.
  • You may get a response from someone on the mailing list that is totally unexpected, but that introduces you to new software or methodologies.

Is it acceptable to send any e-mails off-list?

Some people ask for e-mails bidding for goods for sale to be sent off-list. This is generally considered OK, especially when money is involved. Also, e-mails of a personal nature, where it would be socially awkward to conduct a conversation in "public" or where the issue is not suitable for archiving may be sent off-list. But if you are sending a question to someone related to Linux, Free Software, computing or technology to someone off-list, think again!

I want to sell something via the list / I run a Linux business that I want to tell people about.

If you want to advertise some PC kit or a service, you may do so on the list. If you do so as a profit-making enterprise, please include the tag [Advert] in the subject line. E-mails should be in plain text and short. Brief details and a link to a website should be sufficient. Only advertise things that are likely to be of interest to Linux users. Please only post any such e-mails once. If they become too regular the Mailing List admins will ask you to stop.

"I run a Linux business that might help someone resolve an issue they've mailed to the list about."  Saying that your company has a product or service that might meet the needs of a specific question is acceptable. Having your company or website in your e-mail signature is acceptable. Constantly promoting your company at every opportunity is not, and members are sure to tell you so. If in any doubt, declare your interest in the body of your e-mail. "OK, I work for this company, but I think the $PRODUCT will meet your needs." Randomly replying to e-mails saying "I'll fix this for you if you pay me" won't be appreciated by list members.

I would like to post a job advertisement

If you are an individual who is a LUG member, that's fine. We do not want the list to turn into a job advertisement list – i.e. no agencies please.