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Note from the Moderator--newcomers, please read

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  • Scott
    Folks, this group has been around for ages, since late 1998, actually. It used to be a far more technical list--Linux was more difficult to use, and people had
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 27, 2007
      Folks, this group has been around for ages, since late 1998, actually.
      It used to be a far more technical list--Linux was more difficult to
      use, and people had to put more effort into it to even get X working.

      In the last couple of years, there's been an influx of newcomers.
      Sometimes, their posts are so, errm newcomer like, that the people who
      might actually help aren't inclined to do so.

      Please follow a few netiquette rules. It will make it far more likely
      that the more experienced users will look at your post--many times, some
      of us, especially when we're busy, don't even bother to look because we
      see that the people posting couldn't be bothered to read the list faq.
      It's located at

      http://home.nyc.rr.com/computertaijutsu/linfaq.html

      It's dated now--I don't maintain it anymore because it became so obvious
      that no one was reading it.

      So, a few rules. You'll note that Cameron, perhaps the most
      knowledgeable person on the list will sometimes correct your top
      posting.

      PLEASE DON'T TOP POST. Post inline, as if it were a conversation.


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

      Although most emailers, when you hit reply, want to start at the top of
      an email message, take a moment to scroll down and put your answer to
      paragraph A under paragraph A, answer paragraph B under paragraph B,
      etc. It really makes it much easier for others to follow.

      Try to trim messages a bit. This is a judgment call but yahoo already
      puts a bunch of stuff at the end of messages, so try to snip out the
      parts of the post that you're answering that aren't really important.

      On most technically oriented Unix and Unix like system mailing lists,
      and actually, on most technical Microsoft lists, both of these will make
      it far more likely that those who can help you will read your email.
      Those of us in the IT field usually belong to many technical lists, and
      get hundreds of emails daily--if we see something top posted with plz
      hlp me, thx, we're probably going to ignore it.

      One more pet peeve. Maybe this is a young person thing and I'm just too
      old, but another thing that you seldom see on more advanced technical
      lists are text message type substitutions. If I see "u" instead of you,
      or "plz" instead of please, my feeling is that if the person is too lazy
      to type you and please, etc., I'm not going to take the time to help
      them. I realize that many of you are students, and these abbreviations
      are popular, but save them for your fellow students. :)

      These things will, honestly, make it more likely that you will get
      informed answers. We realize that many of you don't have English as
      your first language, but I would bet that if you were able to read
      enough English to subscribe to this list, you know the correct spelling
      of "you" and "please." (The sad thing is that many of you, who judging
      by your names and emails, are from the Far and Middle East, write
      English better than many American college students. Ah well, that's a
      comment on America's educational system, I suppose.)

      So please keep a few of these basic (to Unix and Unixlike system
      technical lists, anyway) things in mind. In the long (and even the
      short) run it will probably help you get better answers too.


      --
      Scott Robbins
      PGP keyID EB3467D6
      ( 1B48 077D 66F6 9DB0 FDC2 A409 FA54 EB34 67D6 )
      gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys EB3467D6

      Buffy: Now, we can do this the hard way or... well, actually,
      there's just the hard way.
      Darla: That's fine with me.
      Buffy: Are you sure? Now this is not gonna be pretty. We're
      talking violence, strong language, adult content.
    • Thomas J. Hruska
      ... Good stuff. However, I ve found on my own groups that saying such things doesn t change the behavior of new newbies. What is said today won t be
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 28, 2007
        Scott wrote:
        > Folks, this group has been around for ages, since late 1998, actually.
        > It used to be a far more technical list--Linux was more difficult to
        > use, and people had to put more effort into it to even get X working.
        >
        > In the last couple of years, there's been an influx of newcomers.
        > Sometimes, their posts are so, errm newcomer like, that the people who
        > might actually help aren't inclined to do so.
        <snip>

        Good stuff. However, I've found on my own groups that saying such
        things doesn't change the behavior of new newbies. What is said today
        won't be heard by the newbies tomorrow when they join the group. On any
        given day 10-15 people will typically leave and 15-20 will join an
        active group (YMMV, but the point is people join and leave all the time).

        Here's an alternative link you might use that I frequently see:

        http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

        It would allow you to remove some of the general posting things from
        your page and keep it Linux-specific.


        If you want to get rid of newbie posts, check out the "new" Yahoo
        feature called Answers:

        http://answers.yahoo.com/
        (Click Computers and Internet)

        Watch the discussions for about a half hour to get a feel for how it
        works. My general impression is that stuff that isn't too technical
        (i.e. newbie stuff) is answered in 5 minutes or less. More complex
        questions can take up to 30 minutes to get an answer. Answers could
        work well for the newbie questions posted to the group...redirect the
        person there to get their answer with some sort of "canned response"
        that lets them know why their message was rejected.

        The moderators can then act as a firewall for newbie questions AND the
        OP knows where to get answers to basic questions.

        Just a thought. (And don't forget - we were all newbies at one
        time...although we also tended to follow the rules of netiquette).

        --
        Thomas Hruska
        Shining Light Productions

        Home of BMP2AVI, Nuclear Vision, ProtoNova, and Win32 OpenSSL.
        http://www.slproweb.com/

        Ask me about discounts on any Shining Light Productions product!
      • Scott
        ... Heh. That one is in the faq and so few people read the faq that I doubt they re going to read through Mr. Raymond s page. I understand your point, but my
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 28, 2007
          On Fri, Sep 28, 2007 at 10:48:06AM -0400, Thomas J. Hruska wrote:
          > Scott wrote:
          >


          > Good stuff. However, I've found on my own groups that saying such
          > things doesn't change the behavior of new newbies. What is said today
          > won't be heard by the newbies tomorrow when they join the group. On any
          > given day 10-15 people will typically leave and 15-20 will join an
          > active group (YMMV, but the point is people join and leave all the time).
          >
          > Here's an alternative link you might use that I frequently see:
          >
          > http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

          Heh. That one is in the faq and so few people read the faq that I doubt
          they're going to read through Mr. Raymond's page. I understand your
          point, but my feeling is that at least a few people might have read my
          post. I'm going, unfortunately, on the premise that many newcomers
          don't yet understand why they should go to the trouble to check out some
          of those links--if they went to the faq and looked at the netiquette
          section, then they will find the smart-questions link. If they didn't
          glance at the faq then they wouldn't bother to go to Mr. Raymond's site
          either. (In my opinion.)

          This is also why I only mentioned the three most egregious
          sins. In the past, we have tried correcting people's top posting,
          mentioning it to them, pointing out thread hijacking, etc. etc. For the
          moment, if 10 percent of the people who looked at my post stop top
          posting, start trimming and begin using "you" and "please" I'll be
          happy.

          > Just a thought. (And don't forget - we were all newbies at one
          > time...although we also tended to follow the rules of netiquette).

          Yes, we were. This is one reason I sympathize. However, these yahoo
          groups have always attracted newcomers, and I really feel the problems
          have gotten worse in the last few years.


          As I'm at a new job where we use a good deal of Fedora and CentOS, I
          figure I should start making the effort to make this list a home again.
          :)



          --
          Scott Robbins
          PGP keyID EB3467D6
          ( 1B48 077D 66F6 9DB0 FDC2 A409 FA54 EB34 67D6 )
          gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys EB3467D6

          Buffy: I'm sorry, it's just been a really weird day.
          Xander: Yeah, Buffy died and everything.
          Willow: Wow, harsh.
        • Daniel Hyatt
          . Will the moderators be offended if we respond to the newbies with Read the FAQ Learn how to use Google Get and read a basic unix book or start a Linux Newbie
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 28, 2007
            .

            Will the moderators be offended if we respond to the newbies with
            Read the FAQ
            Learn how to use Google
            Get and read a basic unix book or start a Linux Newbie list
            Write in english or don't post (no "u" "pls" ......)


            P.S. I am notorious for top posting...bad habit, the moderators are breaking me of it.

            We will now return you to your scheduled programming.
            Dan








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