The most recent version of these essays can be found at http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/faq/.
("That's what you get for swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool.")
Economy of expression is a good thing. So, rather than have to repeat myself continually, I'm posting my top rants here, for ready reference. Many of you (readers) will be visiting today because I pointedly referred you to the "#"-tagged URL of some particular item, below.
Table o' Contents
- Modems . . .
- Hardware . . .
- Linux Tire-Kicking . . .
- Virus . . .
- Proprietary Warez . . .
- MacLinux . . .
- Crybaby . . .
Netiquette . . .
- "This mailing list's software should auto-add a Reply-To header to all list posts, pointing back to the list."
- "Please send all replies (to my newsgroup/mailing list query) via private e-mail."
- (You sent a private-mail reply to my attempt to help you on a mailing list, and failed to mention having done so.)
- (You posted my private mail to you, sent to you in confidence, to third parties and/or a public forum.)
- (You cross-posted your plea for help to multiple newsgroups, or mailing lists.)
- Miscellany . . .
Bureau of the Netiquette-Challenged
There used to be some real if minor debate about this subject through the 1990s, though proponents of the referenced "munging" (forcing) procedure never had a respectable technical leg to stand on, even on the basis of the moldy 1982 SMTP standard. Then, by 2001 (in RFCs 2822 and 2369), the IETF definitively fixed the alleged problem, clarifying once and for all that munging is not a legitimate use of the Reply-To header, and providing official support for better ways to handle many-to-many e-mail. Those better ways are being handled by newer e-mail clients.
Most commentators haven't yet caught up. They need to realise this is a dead issue: "Reply-To munging" lost.
Don't take my word for it: Read Neale Pickett's concise summary.
Please don't raise the objection that the new RFCs are "merely Standards Track: Proposed Standard, and hence not official". IETF codifies standards already thrashed out in the field; deliberately, it conservatively follows implementations rather than attempting to lead them.
Roughly speaking, an RFC being denoted as "Internet Draft" means "Somebody thinks many people are doing this; reviewers so far find the explanation sound". One being listed in Official Internet Protocol Standards as "Proposed Standard" means "We're pretty sure everyone's doing this and would be perverse not to, but are triple-checking our wording and how universal the standard is". One being listed there as "Draft Standard" means "This really is absolutely universal; you ignore it at your peril". One being listed as "Full Standard" means "This one not only has been universal since God was a teenager, but also the Internet would break without it."
For more information, see IETF's tutorial "The Tao of IETF". Note this in particular:
Most of the standards in common use are Proposed Standards and never move forward. This may be because no one took the time to try to get them to Draft, or some of the normative references in the standard are still at Proposed Standard, or it may be that everyone found more important things to do."
I know it's a rude shock, but this public forum doesn't exist for your sole, private benefit. If you want a private tutor, hire one. Don't tell us that you need this because you "don't get this newsgroup", either: That's what DejaNews is for.
Let's go through this slowly: You posted a public call for help on a mailing list. I sent a public reply, assisting you, knowing that the public nature of my reply means I'm thereby helping innumerable others with the same problem. Your return post inviting further help, however, was to me solely: You decided to silently drop the mailing list from your addressees. In effect, you've unilaterally turned our public discussion into a private tutoring session, without telling me you've reduced my audience to one. (This time, I happen to have noticed, but might well not have.) This is rude and presumptuous.
At the very minimum, I'm going to deal with this by assuming you omitted the list's address accidentally, and so will feel free to quote your "private" mail on it. (Ordinarily, posting someone's private mail without permission on a public forum is incredibly rude.)
Absent extraordinary justification (which you currently lack), this is an extremely scummy thing to do. Some boneheads who do this justify it by saying they wanted to "open the discussion for broader input". If, to accomplish this, you send my private comments to parties I never intended, then you have given considerable offence, and your pleas of haplessness and good intentions will not avail you.
I was going to help you, until I noticed your cross-post. Now, I'll spend that time assisting someone else, who's not being a pain in the ass.
A large and growing number of otherwise helpful people are ignoring you in exactly this way. Watch and see. Unlike most, I'm taking the trouble (through referring you to this text) to tell you what's going on.
I could advise you to avoid cross-posting because it's rude to the on-line community, but saying that just conveys the message that the Internet community rewards rudeness. No, I'm suggesting you should post to a single forum at a time because you'll get more, better, quicker answers — because you won't be widely boycotted and ignored. Yes, it's true that "other people do it". They're getting worse help and less help. They just haven't yet figured it out.
Don't clean up your act to please me. Yes, I'd prefer that you avoid acting clueless and rude on the Net, because I care about the Net, but (like many others) can and will deal with the immediate problem by disregarding your crossposted question.
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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 by Rick Moen. Verbatim copying, distribution, and display of this entire article (page) are permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved. Alternatively, you may create derivative works of any sort for any purpose, provided your versions contain no attribution to me, and that you assert your own authorship (and not mine) in every practical medium.