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Computers in Engineering 308-208

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List Etiquette

It's important to remember that the list has a lot of members! It's generally considered good manners to follow what have become accepted list practices. Most of these are common sense, but it's always a good idea to read this section over. Periodically, because we all tend to forget the details . . .

1. Written words can often be misunderstood - they don't impart the facial expressions and body language that often allow what sounds insulting to be understood as humor. Take care in what you put in writing!

2. There can be more than one opinion on a topic, and more than one way to solve a mechanical problem. This list is information - you can take it or leave it. It isn't necessary to flame someone (doubting technical competence) if you don't agree with them. State your case, and let it go. The readers of the list are smart enough to figure out who is right - and in many cases - everyone is right.

3. Lurk more! Type less! Being a top-dog on the monthly posting ranks isn't really a goal to seek, unless your posting has content. The content can be technical, questions, opinions.. but make sure it actually has some content. Or humor.

4. If you're new to the list - LURK EVEN MORE! Learn who is who and the general tenor of the list. Look to see who has asked questions - and why.

5. It's been mentioned - but quoting an entire question/article is usually not necessary, a short quote of part of a message is enough to continue a thread, and allow the readers to get the max info in the least time.

6. Learn to type. Paragraphs are easy to do - an extra hit of the enter key. Capitals aren't necessary, but often enhance readability. Your postings will be judged/respected not only for content - but only if people will bother to read them. Again, spelling isn't real important, and I often hack it for effect (or just 'cause of stupidity), but try to take a bit of care.

Context and attribution

Quite a few messages on the mailing list, as in news groups, are replies to previous messages that hopefully carry a discussion along. When you reply to another's message, it is helpful to other readers if you put your message in some sort of context. This is particularly true if you are responding to someone else's comments. Usually it is easy enough to copy the original's meaning to your own posting. MAKE SURE to address your replies to "" if the reply will be beneficial to all readers - otherwise reply directly to the individual.

At the same time it is considered irritating - i.e. not polite - to enclose the whole previous message. Everyone else, including the originator, has already seen it. Just quote what you need and leave the rest. A little creative editing makes reading your message much more pleasant and therefore much more likely to be received with an open mind.

Also when you are responding to someone else's comments or posting, you really ought to acknowledge what person wrote what. Usually by copying the person's name or email address into your reply. But beware of false or inaccurate attributions. This can really irritate other people and lead to nasty flame wars that draw the administrator's unwanted attention.

Sign Your Name

Remember that there are a LOT of people on the mailing list. Most of us like to know who we are talking to. Just like with the regular post office, if you don't sign your letters we may be able to decipher enough from the post mark to make an educated guess as to where the letter originated. But it's still nice to see that the writer thinks enough of their own work/thoughts to sign his/her name to them. Some mail environments will automatically add your signature file to the posting .

Many Happy Returns

Unlike most word processors, some mail tools don't automatically wrap lines. Try to remember to put a carriage return at the end of lines, and to limit lines to 60-70 characters.

A Capital Idea

Over the years, a convention has developed on the Internet NOT TO USE CAPITAL LETTERS UNLESS YOU WANT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO SOMETHING. When used in friendly correspondence, it looks as if you're shouting. Think Twice, Write Once Lastly, politeness always helps. If you read something that really steams you, write your reply. And then sit on it for a few hours before you roast the witless squid who angered you. You're likely to be surprised how letting a little time go by moderates your thoughts. And ultimately makes life more pleasant for all who use the list. If you are interested in spelling contests, flame wars, or panty raids you will probably be better off in other lists. Try to stay fairly close to the main topic: Computers in Engineering Course !