[techtalk] Some meta-stuff (at least partly tech :))

Telsa Gwynne hobbit at aloss.ukuu.org.uk
Tue Nov 30 02:35:26 EST 1999

On Tue, Nov 30, 1999 at 01:00:23AM +0000 or thereabouts, Telsa Gwynne wrote:


...I did. And being an idiot, and about to go to bed, I hit the wrong
thing, and the default of Reply-To being set to the list bit me. Luckily.
it wasn't _too_ unfortunate. (And I am constantly singing the praises
of mutt for having three reply options, not the customary two, and
one is 'reply to the list and don't send the irritating cc to the
sender, so I have no excuse. Whoops.)

But since this is techtalk, and since we seem to be discussing 
etiquette, is there any real reason why Reply-To is set to the
list? There's an article detailing reasons why it can be a bad
idea at http://www.unicom.com/pw/reply-to-harmful.html (thanks
to Kirrily for including it in her mailing-list advice at the
www.oswg.org site: I could never find it when I needed it before
she did that.)

Re-reading the article (and all kudos to Kirrily: it's excellent
and I wish I'd had it when I got involved in running the list I
do), there's one thing on there that Linuxchix doesn't appear to have
which it -might- end up needing. It's the sort of thing you don't
want to have to need, but...

And that's the issue of what you do when someone really doesn't 
care about list rules (or guidelines, here. They're rules on mine :)). 
I'm sure many of us have been on lists where meta-issues flourish, 
spammers proliferate, and interesting topics vanish due to the 
actions of a few people.

On the list I run, it goes something like this:

If things get really bad, I email the person/people privately,
and tell them why people are upset and why I'd like them to
stop, hold off for a bit, or rephrase their arguments to 
arguments rather than flames.
If that gets ignored, another private email, warning them
that the next warning will be public and anything after that
will result in an unsubscription.
If that gets ignored, then the public "I am asking X, Y and Z
to stop/take it off-list/cool off; and if they don't, I'm 
unsubbing him/her/them" arrives.
If that gets ignored, then unsubbing.

This was precipitated when I took over running the list,
something occurred, I removed the person, and despite the
overwhelming "thank goodness" from most, I didn't want to
get into a situation where people didn't know the boundaries
and felt they couldn't post something or I'd remove them.
I outlined those, and since then, I've never got beyond
sending a very rare public "cool off".

Other lists I'm on use suspension periods. (This is where
it helps to be nicely automated, I suspect, which I am (still)

If this isn't appropriate for techtalk, feel free to send replies
elsewhere. I'd have sent it to grrltalk only (a) I read the
digest and selfishly I wanted to see any replies tommorow
rather than Wednesday(!) and (b) the reply-to one is a technical
argument more than anything else, and I'm interested to know
whether anyone's found a good reason for setting it back to 
the list other than "there's only four people on the list" :)


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