Mailing List Tips and Etiqutte

For a nice look at coping with the large amounts e-mail that can be generated by mailing lists, take a look here. Most importantly the author asks e-mail writers to make clear and concise mail, then think hard about whether the recipient really needs to read it.

Making desktop-devel-list not suck

  • I think that a lot of the "bad behaviour" found on can be eliminated almost immediately by publicly posting the rules and expectations of the community. If you make it clear what is expected on d-d-l, 99% of the posters will follow it. Those few who don't or who misinterpret those expectations can be told civilly, on a case-by-case basis, that they should discontinue a thread, or move to a more appropriate list. I have asked a number of people a number of times to spell the norms of the community out more clearly, and I feel that when this is done, there will be an actual improvment in the quality of d-d-l. Therefore I will attempt to summarize my understanding of the norms, largely learnt by trial-and-error.

The Desktop Developer's list is a high-level, cross-module mailing list meant specifically for discussing development issues by the community at large. Because the large number of subscribers from many different places, it is critically important for effective communication to maintain a high level of quality discussion and a low level of noise and chatter. Therefore the following rules apply to posts sent to desktop-devel-list (d-d-l):

  1. All posts must be strictly on topic and relating directly to development, translation, or documentation of GNOME.
  2. All dicussions for which a more specific mailing list exists must be conducted there first.
  3. All posts should be of a specific, concrete, and practical nature.
  4. Excepting where the list is gathering concensus on a decision, no post should amount to a simple "yes", "no", "me too", or "look at this".
  5. Desktop-devel-list is not the place for airing out your wishes or ideas. (Then where is?)
  6. If you wouldnt stop each developer subscribed and tell them, individually and in person, about the content of your post, you probably should not send it.

While there is room for interpretation in these rules, you may be asked in a civil manner, at any time, to either discontinue a discussion, or move it to a more appropriate list.

This is just *my* impression of the rules as a non-core person. I know that they should be a little less strict wrt core developers, but at the same time I have to ask why should there be two sets of rules? Expectations 1-3 are general, but I think 4-6 would cut down on 80% of the noise.

Attic/Communication (last edited 2013-12-03 14:29:07 by WilliamJonMcCann)