[BALUG-Admin] how to (and not to) post to lists, etc.

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Fri Jan 16 15:35:33 PST 2009

Continuing a point I saying a few days ago:

> Moreover, most people in all populations operate from a tacit assumption
> that, if it's physically possible to do something, it must be OK -- that
> any rule worth respecting is enforced in a way that makes it the
> path of least resistance, and that any rule that can be ignored is just
> noise.  Suggest to them that they should _not_ follow the path of least
> resistence just to do the right thing, and they'll want to know why they
> should do you a favour.(!)
> (Consider the number of technical people on Linux mailing lists who post
> from GMail and who both top-post and quote entire prior message threads in
> every posting.  Do you think it's because they don't know that's wrong
> and rude?  No, they're almost uniformly fully aware of that.  They just
> can't be bothered to do anything requiring extra effort.)

Part of what I was getting at is that it's neither necessary nor
desirable to post rules (or even guidelines) forbidding every single
little wrong thing people could do on a mailing list.  I just now had an
example:  A Wikimedia Foundation guy in San Francisco just tried to post
two job-offer ads to the SVLUG Jobs mailing list.  I was obliged to
politely reject them, with this message:

   Eugene, I'm sorry to have to welcome you to this mailing list with
   bounces of your postings.  In general, they're fine, i.e., they're
   within 75 miles of San Jose and are Unix/Linux-centric as required on
   http://lists.svlug.org/lists/listinfo/jobs .  The problem lies in your
   bit about (paraphrased) "visit [URL]" to see details of the openings".
   No, can't do that.  The moderators need to see the details of the job
   inline in your posting, so they can verify that it meets our guidelines.
   Please post again with the job descriptions pasted into your post.

The mailing list's formal rules are here:

The ones that really matter are the first two:

  # Posted jobs must be Unix- or Linux-centric (AIX, HP-UX, IRIX,
    Solaris, etc. all OK). Having Linux or Unix as a nice-to-have is not

  # Fulltime positions must be within a 75-mile radius of San Jose. No

In order to verify that postings comply (especially with the first
part), the Jobs moderator needs to see the jobs description.  So,
pragmatically speaking, it needs to be inline -- and merely including
this sort of stuff doesn't qualify:

   See the linked pages for details and how to submit your CV:

Now, the formal rules at http://lists.svlug.org/lists/listinfo/jobs
don't _say_ "Your posting must include the job description, not just a
hyperlink to it."  Do they need to?  Is it unfair to bounce postings if 
that's not part of the formal rules?

No and no.  The posted rules cannot possibly cover every possible way of
violating the spirit of the rules.  Some things need to be regarded as
obvious, and left up to the poster to figure out.  Otherwise:

o  There's a perception that anything not forbidden is permitted.
o  The ruleset becomes a ridiculously complex mess, which
o  tends to get ignored because people assume you aren't serious, 
   or that they're an exception.

If recruiters / managers were _frequently_ posting omitting job
descriptions and asking people to visit [URL] for details, _then_ I
might append something to the listinfo page.

To review, rules/guidelines are best kept really minimal and simple, for
many reasons.  And it's OK to omit coverage of rare and unlikely mishaps.

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