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Re: Q: List Policy

On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 06:18:36PM -0800, Steve Lamb wrote:
> On Monday 24 November 2008 02:32:14 Chris Bannister wrote:
> > What harm? What's worse; rec a CC or missing out on crucial
> > help/information?
>     That depends, whose perspective?
> > We are talking about newbies here.
>     No, we're talking about the list in general and how a policy to coddle 
> newbies effects it.  Which is why the question above.  To the newbie who can't 
> figure out "go to the same place you went to post to get an answer" the "harm" 
> is that they don't get a reply.  To the list where the policy is to CC on 
> every message every person who participates has to enact some sort of manual 
> or automatic filtering for the plethora of cruft with which they will be 
> inundated.
>     Most people are newbies once.  Having to filter useless CCs is a lifetime 
> problem.  So on balance the more harm goes to the inconvenience of dozens to 
> thousands of people in perpetuity.  
>     At its core a CC-everyone-on-all-list-replies is harmful in the exact same 
> manner filtering spam via Challenge-Reponse is harmful.
> http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Mail/challenge-response.html
>     It foists the responsibility which should land on the individual onto many 
> innocent third parties.


This is an interesting social cost calculation reason for preferring
Debian policy over other possible policies. I would like to add a
somewhat different kind of social calculation: On this list there are
questions, answers, and discussion. 

Discussions concern the kinds of questions that admit of multiple
points of view - how best to organize backups on a small scale
computing site, how strict to be in enforcing rules, etc. All can

Questions are dominated by newbies and people who are still learning.

Answers are some from people who are still learning but mostly from
people who have very little to learn from following this list*. Really
good answers come from a very small group of special people who set
the tone of the list. These special people also wrote the Debian
rules.  Debian list rules exist to codify best practice in list poster
behavior.  Best practice is thought to be that behavior that allows
minimum effort writing of a good answer by a person who knows the good
answer. These people are a valuable resource. They are the elite of
Debian. They deserve respect. Life is easier. You get better answers
faster if you play by the rules that they have written. And playing by
the rules they wrote is itself a sign of the respect that is due them.

*Other than ideas on how to construct well written answers.
Paul E Condon           

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