Brian J. Tarricone bjt23 at
Thu Oct 13 23:51:36 CEST 2005

Hash: SHA1

On 10/13/2005 2:26 PM, Auke Kok wrote:
> Brian J. Tarricone wrote:
>>On 10/13/2005 1:31 PM, Auke Kok wrote:
>>>I'm going to add another entry to the Xfce ML FAQ withg roughly the 
>>>following contents:
>>I'm against this, for the following reasons:
>>1.  They actually do have legal meaning in some jurisdictions, though
>>it's somewhat useless when posted to a mailing list with several hundred
>>recipients and a public archive.
> Nonsense, you cannot disclaim the law in any country. Not even the USA.

Not sure what you're talking about.  There's no law (in the US, at
least) that says that if you have posession of something, you're allowed
to do whatever you want with it.

> If they did have legal value obligating me to do something with it then 
> the end of mailinglists will be near, very near.

Not really.  As I said, if you're going to post something to a public
mailing list that has public archives, it's hard to enforce a disclaimer
like that based on your actions.  If you send something to one person
via private email, that's different.

>>2.  Some company mail servers (like the one where I work) automatically
>>append the disclaimer to outgoing email, so there's nothing people can
>>do.  Though I'd argue that people shouldn't be posting here from their
>>work email, unless their question is related to their job, but whatever.
> which is why the perfectly fine suggestion to use another form of e-mail 
> known as webmail will help. There are alternatives plenty, and this one 
> IMHO really helps.

True.  I glazed over while reading that portion.

>>3.  Refusing messages is a bit harsh, and while yes, you are the server
>>admin, this isn't your mailing list. If you want to implement this
>>policy for the Lunar lists, that's certainly your prerogative.  I don't
>>see why we need to be such jackasses about it.
> I'm not trying to be a jackass, I'm trying to get through to people.

Whether or not you're trying, that's how it comes off.

> I'm 
> always a bit harsh up front - lenient later. My work as a sysadmin 
> required that - things get pretty messy if you allow everything and 
> never say "no".
> I added this to try to get through to people - if you never tell them 
> they will never know. If you ask them nicely once they might listen and 
> that sure helps everyone.

But you're not asking them nicely.  You're being a dick and telling them
"get a goddamned different email or we're going to reject your messages,
you bastard".  You're calling this the "Xfce Mailing List FAQ", not
"Auke's Personal Feelings on Mailing List Ettiquette".  I -- as a
representative of the group of people covered under the term 'Xfce' --
don't want to discourage people from joining and posting things to the
list, and nor do I want to associate myself with an up-front guidelines
document with such harsh language in it.

The harsh language tends to come later, if you do something that pisses
me off.

>>4.  Bandwidth is cheap.  (Yes, really, it is.)  If we can't handle a net
>>increase of a few hundred kB per month (or even, to be conservatively
>>outrageous, a few tens of MBs) due to a few disclaimers on emails from
>>the mailing lists, we're in trouble.  The bandwidth is donated, anyway,
>>so it's not like you can point to someone specifically (not even Remco)
>>and say they're being financially hurt by silly disclaimers at the
>>bottom of emails.
> You're obviously using the American standpoint on conservation here - 
> "We should save energy but I can still drive my SUV right?". Same goes 
> for bandwidth - every bit helps.

Do I detect a bit of smug European superiority there?  Methinks I do.
Sure, every bit does help, but wasting time and energy -- and in this
case, goodwill -- grabbing at teeny tiny bits while ignoring the larger
chunks is just stupid.

While you're bashing Americans, I'll take my turn: the recent
legislation to increase the length of daylight saving time in the US,
which I heard is expected to save a pathetic 0.5% of our yearly oil
consumption.  Which I'm sure will be utterly negated in costs associated
with preparing for the change (and doing the planned study to see if the
change is effective).

>>5.  As long as the disclaimers are at the bottom, and preceeded by a
>>signature, or at least the sender signing their name, I have no problem
>>finding content in the message.
> they end up in quoted threads all through the posts, sometimes 3 or 4 
> times. Yes people should trim their posts but having less to trim helps.

Given: most people suck at trimming their posts.  A little extraneous
text won't hurt.  At any rate, if you're drag-selecting, pulling down an
extra couple lines isn't going to break your wrist.

>>6.  Sometimes they make me laugh.
> you must be the only one laughing, it's not even an old joke anymore.

Don't speak for everyone...

> for me the bottom line is: don't unless absolutely unavoidable - if you 
> really must post from your corporate account and it attaches a 
> disclaimer then so be it... but please - try to be nice first? That's 
> all I ask from people.

Then for crying out loud, SAY THAT.  You don't need to get all BOFH in
what may one of the first experiences an Xfce user has with getting support.

> That's also why I posted it and why I want to include the text (in this 
> or a different form) in future Xfce ML FAQ mails. The FAQ content is 
> surely up for discussion, and I think that including some guidelines 
> regarding e-mail disclaimers is a really healthy thing to do.

Fine, include some guidelines regarding email disclaimers.  I have no
problem with that.  But keep out the inflammatory content.  Something
like this should be appropriate:

"If you are posting from an email account where a legal disclaimer is
automatically appended to your outgoing messages, please disable it.  If
you cannot, please use a different email account, or register for a free
webmail account (GMail, Yahoo, etc.).  Note that such a disclaimer means
very little when you post an email to a public mailing list with public
archives.  Extraneous disclaimer text in email can make your message
harder to read, and tends to add a lot of useless content when messages
are replied to repeatedly.  Remember that you're posting to a community
of hundreds of people, and it's impolite to use up their time

Is it that hard to take a friendly tone?  (Yes, I know: pot, kettle,
black.)  Many people don't respond to initial aggression very
positively.  I know I don't.


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