Our Bizarre Posting Conventions

I’ve been around open source mailing lists for so long now that I tend to forget that our conventions around sending plain text emails, quoting replies, threading, etc. aren’t necessarily obvious to everyone out there.

That’s especially true for some of the folks working on RHEV-M, many of whom have come from a Windows development background. I eventually realized that saying “just do what everyone else does” wasn’t really good enough and spent some time documenting what all those little conventions are.

I’ve posted some guidelines to the rhevm-api wiki. What am I missing?

7 Responses to “Our Bizarre Posting Conventions”

  1. jospoortvliet says:

    He, good guidelines. I personally like to use the when you trim mails of excessive quoting in the top or middle of the mail (eg not on the bottom); and I am not too fond of the word wrap. I think ppl should fix their mail client, word wrap doesn’t make sense if you have a netbook or a large screen – making it hard to read stuff. Or wasting lots of space. So I say let’s stop doing word wrap in FOSS mailing lists, all modern clients can handle unwrapped text much better than wrapped :D

    Moreover, you could fix the KMail part (darn awesome client, really, at least compared to Evolution, try it, it even runs on GNOME besides the usual windows/mac OS X/Mobile platforms) by saying “just works fine by default”. It switches automatically between HTML and plain text – if you use formatting it goes HTML, if you don’t it won’t.

    Oh and feel free to link here: http://en.opensuse.org/File:Threading.png to show threading more clearly (evo doesn’t show tree lines, making it harder to distinguish the actual relationship between mails, it is the main reason I use KMail under GNOME at home. Ok, besides the bad keyboard shortcuts. Fixes are welcome.)

    ;-)

  2. markmc says:

    Thanks Jos, I’ve fixed the KMail section :)

  3. Yeah, like Jos I have mixed feelings about word wrap; it seems like something that should be done at the reading end. I still usually use it because it’s the convention, but I’m not sure we should be worrying about VT100 terminals any more. =) I always turn it off (Evolution style ‘preformatted’) if it’s screwing with how I actually want to lay something out, or the flow of a patch, or something.

  4. jospoortvliet says:

    aaaand something got missing in my comment – I was talking about using the to cut out pieces of quotes ;-)

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  6. 1. Possibly it would be benefitial to include why the inline/bottom posting is preferred:

    > Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
    >> Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
    >>> Top-posting.
    >>>> What is the most annoying thing in e-mail?

    2. Maybe link to page what is netiquette would be benefitial (say to wikipedia or RFC 1855).

    3. Ad VT100 terminals – I guess 80×24 legacy will be long. If anyone uses X as xterm multiplexer he probably will open it with 80×24 or 80xX format. Anyway at least line should be <72 characters OR proper flowing set in header.

  7. Rob says:

    Lots of good stuff but do we still insist on sending 72 char hard wrapped? Meh