Xen Users Netiquette

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Netiquette for posting to the xen-users mailing list

These are some tips on how to write good mails to the xen-users Mailing lists. They should help giving everybody a good list experience, and increase the chances you get help when posting to the list Some people will just ignore you if you not follow these rules, they aren't bad people, but it just isn't fun helping people who don't make it easy to read and understand their postings and most people are here because they have fun helping and sharing information. Some of these are about the content of mails to the lists, some about the form, and some are a mixture. Please read them all through, and try the best you can to follow these rules.

The Guidelines

  1. If you don't get a response, don't repost your questions unchanged. If nobody replies to your request, but you are sure somebody must know a solution or at least have a hint, it's very likely that nobody understands your problem. Try to describe it better before reposting. And read all these rules here again, maybe you got something wrong and peope are ignoring you/you are on the wrong list.
  2. before posting questions, read the xen manual, the README files, the wiki, and the mailing list archives. Use google or your favorite search engine. Only after finding no answer there, post to the list. It's sometimes good to say you searched the docs, because people might tell you to read the docs first with problems which are well documented. Still sometimes you don't find things because you don't know the right word to search for.
  3. Please specify, short but exactly, what you are trying to accomplish. What you did to accomplish this, and what the symptoms of your problems are (assumed you are mailing the list to get Help with a problem).
  4. Don't post your full logfiles without being asked to do so. You can post some lines of a logfile, if you think there's an interesing information for analyzing the problem (warnings/errors/uncommon messages) - but no unfiltered full log/output. You will be asked for more if it is needed. Even if asked for more, if you have really a large amount of logs to show, you should think about putting your logs on a public webserver, or use a service like http://pastebin.com/, which lets you store some files for public reading for a small amount of time. Only use these for large files (e.g. >100-200 lines) - for smaller parts of logfiles, it's better to have them archived with the list.
  5. Configure your Mail client to write plaintext Emails to the list. HTML Mails are not a good idea on lists with a lot of people and a lot of different Email clients.
  6. Quote mails you reply to with thought:
    • Don't copy the full text of the previous message when you reply to a message. Only cite the important part you are replying to.
    • And add your response to that part below the part you are citing. So the conversation can be read in a timely order, even after multiple replies.
    • Most mailers by default mark the citation by adding ">" at the start of each cited line - this is a good idea, because otherwise nobody sees what you cite. Find you rmailers settings to get this if it doesn't do it by default.
  7. If there's no special reason to do so, or you are invited to, please do not mail the people on the list personally as a reply to their messages. Always copy the list, so information keeps concentrated on the list and everybody can follow the issue.
  8. Do everything you can to not add legal/privacy disclaimers to your mail (you know, those you tell you after reading a mail that you probably aren't supposed to read it and have to forget about it immediately) - they tend to be very long, and they aren't useful at all to solve technical problems with xen (and, by the way, also don't help to keep any business secret!). Try to talk to the person in your company responsible for them and tell them that they are useless and disturb your communication. If your company still forces you to use them, try to use a freemailer which does not have such a disclaimer (and doesn't have more advertising instead, but no freemailer has so much ads as these disclaimers are long).
  9. Don't start a new thread as response to an existing thread. A lot of Email programs have the ability to show Emails ordered by discussion thread(which is the sum of all Mails belonging to one subject or question). This makes it easy to track these threads. They do this either by subject of the Mails, or by the "In-Reply-To:" header, which is embedded in the "source" of the Email. If you start a new discussion, or post a new questions by hitting "reply" in a mail coming through the list ( which means it already belongs to another thread), and just change the subject, this Mail will still look like belonging to the other thread because of this "In-Reply-To:" header. So, even if it's easy and conventient, to start anew question as response to an existing one, please don't do it. Start new Mail, and type the list address yourself.
  10. Use an appropriate list - xen-users for question about usage of stable versions, xen-devel for reporting and discussing problems with unstable/testing versions. avoid cross-posting to multiple lists, as longs as there's no real need for it.
  11. Don't write test mails to the list. Not for yourself, and not as an administrator to solve your user's problems posting to the list. Contact the list admin in case of problems instead.
  12. Unsubscribing from the list is NOT done by mailing to the list's address. Remember that if you want to get off the list. Just use the links at the end of the list mails...

Guidelines for pointing out the guidelines

  • only point out netiquette errors in private mail to people - you want to help them get better, not deface them publicly
  • only point them about about breaking rules which are conained in our discussed and agreed upon set of netiquette rules. If you think these aren't enough, as if it's o.k. to add a rule there.

Further reading

Some of these are just copies of information multiply found in other places, too - we mostly wrote down the rules we saw being broken often on the xen-users list. IUf you are curious to learn more about it, here are some more links: