Newsgroup Etiquette


As a companion to the Embarcadero Newsgroup Guidelines, these points of general newsgroup conduct are provided. Violating these rules of thumb will not get your message cancelled, but may irritate other newsgroup users. Since these are the people you will be asking assistance from, it's a good idea to avoid irritating them. Generally, if your message violates any of these rules, other newsgroup users will point out your error, and request that you remedy the problem in future posts.

Style
 

  1. Keep quoted text to a minimum. When quoting a previous post, edit out the non-relevant parts of the message. Remove salutations and signatures. A good rule of thumb is, there should not be more quoted text than new text.

    NOTE: Under certain circumstances your message may be cancelled for quoting style. One such circumstance is quoting a message that is subsequently determined to be in violation of the newsgroup rules; when the message in violation is cancelled, your message quoting it will also be cancelled. Another special case is EXTREME over-quoting. If you post a very brief reply to a very long message, and you quote the entire message, your message may be cancelled.

     
  2. Separate paragraphs with a blank line. Also, separate your text from quoted text with a blank line.

     
  3. If you include quoted text in your message, be considerate and clean up the margins and line breaks in the quoted material. Quoted text is typically preceded by a character indicating that it is quoted, and this additional character increases the line length. The longer line length can cause the message editor to re-parse the line and insert new line breaks that conflict with the existing line breaks.

     
  4. Wrap lines at seventy (70) characters. Due to word wrapping, longer lines can make your message very difficult to read.

     
  5. Spelling and grammar count. The only part of you that the members of the newsgroup see is your typed words. Sending a poorly written message is like giving a speech in a dirty shirt. Of course, if your native language is something other than English, this consideration is reduced.

     
  6. Do not write messages in all capital letters as this is considered SHOUTING; use normal capitalization.
     



Content
 

  1. Stay on topic. When you post a reply to a message ask yourself, "Does the subject line describe the contents of my message?" If the answer is no, you probably want to revise your message or modify the subject. Modifying the subject helps other members of the newsgroup determine if your message or thread has information of interest to them.

     
  2. Move off-topic discussions to e-mail or to the "Off Topic" group. Often a technical thread will evolve into a friendly chat on some other, unrelated topic. This is good because it's part of what makes these newsgroups a community. When the discussion has moved away from the original topic to the point that it is likely no longer of interest to the greater community, please move the conversation to e-mail or Off Topic.
     
  3. Do not ask for assistance via email. Saying, "I don't read this group often, so please mail your replies" is essentially saying, "My time is more important than your time." If someone is willing to spend the time to answer your question, you should be willing to spend the time necessary to retrieve the answer. Getting one-on-one help via e-mail is also known as consulting, and consulting does not come free.

     
  4. Write conservatively, read forgivingly. Communication in a pure text medium, such as a newsgroup, is prone to misunderstanding, often due to the lack of non-verbal cues such as inflections, facial expression and body language. Given this, it is best to be conservative with expressions of anger and sarcasm when writing. When reading, assume good intent; if a message can be taken two ways, assume the friendliest meaning.

     
  5. Double check *where* you are sending your message. It can be very embarrassing to accidentally post a message to a newsgroup when you meant to send it via mail.

     
  6. Remember, your words will last a long time. With news archiving services, the whole world can read your words, long after you have written them. Think twice about what you say.

Articles

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