In this document:
Please read the entire document before your first post to the list, as it explains the list policies and contains a few words about the kind of culture we've created.
In order to keep the list a useful and annoyance-free place for everyone, there are a few policies to observe. These policies are intended to make the lives of everyone on the list easier, including you, so please take them to heart.
- Please use the unsubscribe interface in your account setup to leave the group. Don't make the whole list sad over your departure by mailing them about it.
- Do not crosspost between lists. Send individual copies of a message to each list if you must, but do not send a single message to multiple lists. That holds true for any mailing list, not just this one.
- Trim your replies. If you have more quotation than original text, think about cutting down on the quoted stuff. The list members can look at the message to which you responded, or check the archive. Prune that quoted text with ruthless abandon. Everyone else will thank you for it, especially the list admin(s). Don't forget, thankful list admins are less hasty with the unsubscribe button.
- The list admin(s) will scowl heavily in the direction of any Jeopardy-style quotations-- that is, putting your answer before the quoted question to which you're responding-- but won't actually unsubscribe you for doing it. Unless you keep doing it without trimming down your quoted text (see above).
- Keep your signature file short. Five lines should be more than enough for anybody, but the fewer the better. One-line signatures automatically get good karma points from the admins.
- No solicitations of employment or requests for applications. There are job boards, Web sites, mailing lists, and other venues for helping stimulate your local economy. Check them out.
- While we're interested in announcements of new CSS tools, software, designs, publications, and other resources, don't send advertisements to the list. In other words, a one-time announcement like "I just published a new book called CSS for the Terminally Clueless with O'Hara and Friends" is okay, but "Buy my book at 30% off and get a free back massager!" is not.
- We encourage discussion and debate, and don't mind if it gets a bit heated. However, this does not mean you can flame other list members. If you think someone's flaming you or being needlessly offensive, take it up with them in private e-mail. If they get abusive, discuss it with the list administrators (the e-mail address is in the headers of every list message). Don't take it onto the list. Regardless of how long you've been online, I highly recommend a reading of the following: Avoiding Personal Conflict on Mailing Lists.
- If you're asking for help with a problem, then remember this: A description of your problem is good. A URL to a page showing your problem is much, much better. The two together are sometimes referred to as "mythical" or "legendary." Be a part of the legend.
- Try not to offend other list members, or to feel offended by them. See the section below titled "Offensensitivity" for more.
- No HTML or RTF (rich text) e-mail period, end of story, full stop. Your mail client should let you configure it so you can send plain text messages. Make use of this ability.
- Do not send attachments to the list. Ever. Put whatever you were going to attach on a Web site and post the URL instead.
- If you post from an address other than the one you subscribed, your message will get caught in our spam filters. What we do at that point will probably depend on our mood. Don't risk it; send messages from your subscription address and avoid the hassle.
- If your address starts bouncing, you will be removed from the list. You will not be notified of this, as we don't keep a list of secondary addresses. It's your responsibility to resubscribe once the problem with your address has been fixed. "Bouncing" includes vacation autoresponders that e-mail either the list or people who post to the list. If we notice or get complaints about either, you'll be unsubscribed right away.
- List messages may not be republished in any public forum without the explicit written permission of the original author(s) of the reposted message(s), or else the explicit written permission of the list administrators. This policy applies to automated gateways such as SMTP to NNTP gateways.
- No matter how potentially embarrassing they may be, posted messages are never, ever deleted from the list archives. Plan your posts and your demonstration pages accordingly, especially if you're seeking help with a design a client is paying you to create.
- If you suddenly stop receiving list mail, do not post a "test" message. Either one of two things has happened: your account was disabled for bounces, or the list itself is down. You can check the first case by logging into your account and looking around—there will be big red-on-yellow text if your account has been disabled. In the second case, you'll do no good by posting, and look foolish when the list does come back up.
- If it's taking a long time for your post to show up, wait. When traffic flows are heavy and the server gets overtaxed, it can be a few hours before your message gets processed and sent out to everyone. On the other hand, if you can see from the timestamps that people who posted after you have had their messages go out, something else may be wrong. Wait a while longer, and then contact the list administrators. Do not post a "test" message to the list. It will either have no effect, or make you look foolish.
- Did we mention that there's an unsubscribe interface available for use when you decide it's time to go?
- People who violate the goodwill of the list community will be unsubscribed with extreme prejudice. Not to mention haste.
(The word "offensensitivity" was, so far as I'm aware, first used by Berke Breathed in Bloom County.)
When posting to css-discuss, remember that your message will be sent to (literally) thousands of people all over the world. They all have likes and dislikes as individual as your own. They will also be offended by certain things which you may not find remarkable. While you can't foresee every potential area of conflict, there are certain guidelines that are fairly obvious: avoid swearing, cultural insults, blasphemy, proselytizing, and things of that nature. If you wouldn't say it out loud in front of your grandmother while in a place of worship, then you probably shouldn't say it on the list either.
At the same time, recognize that you are receiving messages from (literally) thousands of people all over the world. They all have likes and dislikes as individual as your own. They will also not find remarkable certain things by which you may be offended. Odds are that they probably didn't set out to offend you on purpose, so try taking a deep breath and counting to a nice high number if you feel a rising sense of offense. If, after this calming break, you still feel you must say something, e-mail the poster directly (and not on the list) to explain your feelings calmly, reasonably, and above all clearly without attacking them. They may be unaware of the effect of their words, so this is your chance to educate them. If you just slag them for being "insensitive," you may get flamed in return and create a resolve to keep offending you just for being so uptight and irrational (from their point of view).
Above all, remember that other people are about as likely to change their basic natures and habits as you are to change yours. You may at some point have to make a choice between tolerating other people's views and participating in the list. Please make this choice privately, and follow through quietly. Thank you.
A few words on the subject from Eric:
css-discuss is meant for beginning and experienced authors both, but I'm actually more interested in helping out the beginners. CSS can seem daunting at first, and it is definitely a skill that is challenging to acquire. We all started out wondering how to do cool stuff, and perplexed by browser behavior. It's my hope that the more expert among us can help ease the transition the newcomers are making by sharing our collective experience. Of course, there's room for advanced stuff: the list is also meant to be a place for CSS veterans to share new ideas, tricks, and techniques for using CSS in interesting ways. And it's also a good venue to pass along CSS-related announcements that will be of interest to all.
My philosophy is that there are two kinds of questions: good questions and unasked questions. I much prefer the former. It doesn't matter how "dumb" you think the question might be, because I guarantee you that at least five other subscribers are wondering the same thing, and will learn from the answer. "How do I position a background image?" is as valid a question as "Why does this 15KB stylesheet almost but not quite work in Opera when I use an HTML4.01 Frameset DOCTYPE?"
There is a flip side to this, which is the answering of said questions. What I ask is this: if you're answering a practical question, first make the answer practical and directly address the question. Tell the inquirer how to do what they ask. Do not berate or belittle them for asking it. Follow up your answer with "...but here's something else to consider" if you feel it important to do so, but only after you've answered their question. (The classic case here being "How do I set the font size of my page?")
Simply posting a URL as an "answer" is also discouraged. Back up that URL with a little explanation of what the reference is about, why you posted it, and some keys to understanding the resource you're referencing. It doesn't have to be a novel; a line or two will usually suffice. But that line or two will be of enormous help to people reading your message, who may not be as expert as you are.
Above all, if you can't answer with a modicum of respect, or without feeling somehow annoyed by the question, then DO NOT ANSWER AT ALL. I'm dead serious about this. You may have seen and responded to a question six thousand times, but the person asking has only heard it once: when they asked it. They're asking it in order to fill a gap in their own knowledge. Make your answer an encouragement for more questions, not an incentive to unsubscribe.