• Many people on the list dislike HTML email because of the unnecessary formatting it contains. Also, HTML email is likely to trigger the spam filter so it is really, really recommended that you post in plain text. Please ask for help if you do not know how to make your e-mail client use plain text.
  • If you are replying to a mail sent in HTML, don’t include the HTML in the reply, just the plain text of the messsage.
  • Set your mail client to wrap lines at less than 80 characters. This helps people who use console based mail readers. And quite a lot of people do.
  • Start a new e-mail topic by starting with a new e-mail. Don’t hit reply to an existing post, then delete the contents and change the subject line to start a new topic. Doing so leaves hidden headers in your e-mail that will cause it to be threaded with the topic by people using threaded views in their mail client. This means that someone choosing not to read a particular thread may not read your e-mail, even though it’s on a different topic.
  • Don’t send attachments to the list. Either upload your file to a web server or e-mail it to the individual in question off-list. If you need to upload large config or log files for debugging purposes and you don’t have a web server you can upload them to you can use the HantsLUG Pastebin. Any post (with attachments or not) over 40k in size will be blocked by the mailman software and held for approval.
  • Please try and keep any signature at the end of your e-mails to within a reasonable length. Only include pertinent information, don’t make people read an essay at the end of every e-mail you send.
  • Sending your question to a number of different mailing lists (cross-posting) is frowned upon. It wastes lots of people’s time as lots of people reply to tell you the same thing as each other. Cross-posting is usually only acceptable for announcement mails.
  • The above advice on cross-posting also applies to sending the same question to a number of different mailing lists in separate e-mails. It still wastes people’s time and it will get noticed.
  • If you find that your questions aren’t getting helpful answers, consider rephrasing them rather than just asking again, or asking on a different list.


  • Try to help yourself – use your favourite search engine to see if you can resolve the issue first. Also, try reading about projects and their history. This can help you avoid “trolling” (see later) and flamewars.
  • Please use common sense when discussing potentially controversial topics. The list should be inclusive, not exclusive. Also, flamewars might scare off new list members or new Linux users.
  • Remember that just because someone uses Linux doesn’t mean that they’ll agree with you on every other issue. This includes politics.
  • Please don’t openly tout commercial interests. If someone has asked for recommendations for commercial services, then it’s OK to mention a service you’re involved in. But randomly replying to e-mails saying “I’ll fix this for you if you pay me” won’t be appreciated by list members.
  • Members are unlikely to offer personal support for free (apart from at bring-a-box meetings). Trying to take a problem off-list (whether by e-mail or phone or in person) deprives others of being able to follow the issue and benefit from the solution.
  • Try to give as much information as possible about your problem. There will always be people who don’t read that information properly and suggest something that you’ve excluded for good reason in the OP. But that’s life, I’m afraid.
  • On the converse side of the last point, please try to read the original posters question in detail, and answer accordingly. There are few things more irritating than saying “I want to do X and I’ve tried Y, to no avail”, only to have someone reply with “Have you tried Y?”
  • Don’t post an e-mail with a vague subject line like “This might be of interest” and nothing but a URL in the body. Say what the contents of the page you’re linking to is in the subject line or the body of the e-mail. It saves people clicking if they’ve already heard that piece of news – remember some people are still on dial-up!
  • List members won’t do other people’s homework for them. It’s generally easy to tell when a question has been copied straight from an assignment. Writing an e-mail saying “I’ve been set this assignment, how do I do it?” will get replies from people telling you to go away. If you have a specific question about an aspect of your homework and can demonstrate that you’ve researched the issues around it you are much more likely to get a helpful response.
  • Many useful tips of asking questions in the best way to get results can be found in Eric Raymond’s article on the subject.
  • Don’t troll – asking deliberately divisive questions to cause consternation. (KDE or GNOME? vi or emacs? Which distro is best?). These questions just end up covering the same ground and cause some people to get really hot under the collar.

Subject Lines

  • Off-topic posts should include [OT] in their subject line.
  • Hardware problems are often flagged with [hardware] in the subject line, especially when they don’t explicitly involve Linux.
  • The List Manager (or Deputy List Manager) will include the [ADMIN] flag in the subject line when officially requesting an action from list members (i.e. a reprimand and request for a thread to be dropped). This is to distinguish from mails sent representing their personal views.
  • The [ADMIN] flag may also be used by other members of the Committee when sending mails relating to official LUG business, such as meeting announcements and election information etc.
  • If you’re selling some old computer kit off or have some other commercial offering, place [Advert] in the subject line.


  • You can only send email from the address you are subscribed with.
  • If you receive a message from mailman saying your post has been caught by the spam filter, please be patient. This does not mean your mail won’t get to the list, but it does mean a list Admin will have to approve it first, normally this will take less than half a day.


  • Trim the HantsLUG tail when replying to a mail, otherwise long threads end up with many tags at the end that just waste space and bandwidth.
  • If you are substantially changing the subject matter of a thread (going off on a tangent) then change the subject line to something like this: New subject (was: old subject)
  • Trim irrelevant parts of the original message when replying. This makes it easier for people to see which parts of the original mail you are responding to. It is irritating to scroll through a dozen inline e-mails looking for comments only for your reply to be two lines at the bottom of all the content. Chop the irrelevant parts of the original mail(s), chop the signatures, but keep the content that you are replying to.
  • Don’t remove or move the “Re:” part of the subject line as this can break threading in some clients. The “Re:” should remain at the beginning of the subject line, before the [hants] tag.
  • Don’t top post. (This is writing a reply to a mail, with your content inserted at the top of the mail, rather than inserted throughout the original mail. Hang about on the list and you’ll see what that means practically.) See TopPosting for a full explanation.
  • Don’t remove the [hants] section when replying to an e-mail. The mailman software will have to insert it again, and it will insert it at the beginning of the subject line. This means that the [hants] tag moves in the subject, which is often enough to break some mail client’s threading modes.
  • If you use some anti-spam or anti-virus software to scan incoming e-mails that inserts tags into the subject line to indicate status (e.g. {OK}), please snip these tags before replying to the list, or else configure your software to stop it inserting them in the first place. These tags are liable to break threaded mail clients.
  • When replying, don’t cut and paste several mails into one and send that — this breaks threading and attribution as well as context. Reply to each email individually.


  • Some people are subscribed to the list with more than one e-mail address, so they can post from work and home. (This can be confusing at first, especially when they have slightly different identifying information for each account.)
  • For some reason, answering your own post used to be considered bad etiquette. It could be a little embarrassing, especially if your problem was something stupid – like forgetting to turn the mains on to your system, but isn’t really seen as bad form these days. In fact, letting people know you’ve solved your problem will help others with similar issues and stop people wasting their time replying to you!
  • Note that the HantsLUG mailing list is a medium-high-traffic list. At the moment (August 2005), we’re averaging about 30 emails a day, with peaks of 60 a day. It’s highly recommended that you filter mailing list mail to a dedicated folder where it won’t clutter your normal e-mail correspondence.
  • There is a daily digest option that you can use if you don’t want to receive huge numbers of e-mails every day. You can configure this option on the mailman interface.
  • The letters “OP” refer to the Original Poster – the person who posted the first e-mail in the thread.
  • Please read an e-mail carefully before replying to it. Although we all make mistakes, it can be frustrating for the OP to have solutions suggested that they have said that they either already tried or can’t use.
  • If you are coming in late to a thread, please read all the mails in the thread before replying to the OP. Otherwise you can end up trying to help solve a problem that is long since resolved, or alternatively end up suggesting the same things that other people have already suggested.