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Re: rampant offtopic and offensive posts to debian-user

On Fri, 2007-05-18 at 16:41 -0400, Joey Hess wrote:
> Frans, Cord, Martin, Pascal,
> I'm writing the listmasters because reading debian-user has become
> nearly unbearable for me (one of the sadly few DDs who bothers to read
> our user lists) due to volume and offensiveness/repetativeness of
> offtopic posts there. I've in the past threatened to leave -user
> entirely, and I have in fact moved a lot of my attention to providing
> support on forums.debian.net[4], but I would prefer that Debian
> articulate a policy of not tolerating this kind of behavior.
> Out of 2861 posts to -user this May, 407 (one in seven) have been labeled
> OT.[1][2] Their content has included jems like these. Anyone who has spent a
> while on the internet can probably fill in the surrounding mega-threads[5]
> from these excerpts.
[snipped] a TON of examples and justification, not because I disagree
but out of the message I write here for policy.

This is my last response to anyone on this subject, at least on any
mailing list. 

I have to go to one of the finest writers I know of, George Orwell for
some kind of self moderation policy. From “Politics and the English
Language” we get a very good set of writing tips:

        A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask
        himself at least four questions, thus: 
             1. What am I trying to say? 
             2. What words will express it? 
             3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 
             4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
        And he will probably ask himself two more:
             1. Could I put it more shortly? 
             2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?
        One can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a
        phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct
        fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:
             1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech
                which you are used to seeing in print. 
             2. Never use a long word where a short one will do. 
             3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. 
             4. Never use the passive where you can use the active. 
             5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a
                jargon word if you can think of an everyday English
             6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything
                outright barbarous.

Here ends my comments on OT-ness.
greg, greg@gregfolkert.net
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