[fosscomm] email format (was

Kenneth Gonsalves lawgon at au-kbc.org
Wed Jul 15 23:39:13 PDT 2009

On Thursday 16 Jul 2009 11:18:58 am Pranesh Prakash wrote:
> Surely the F/OSS way of doing things isn't about imposing rules
> top-down, but developing them by social consensus?  This consensus
> might exist on lists where people pre-The-September-that-Never-Ended
> hang around, or on lists where people wish they lived in that era hang
> around.[1]  That consensus certainly does not seem to exist on this
> list.  Are certain things like interleaving better?  Many times, yes.
> But to make that a rule instead of something that people notice (or
> are told about), appreciate and adopt is the wrong

where exactly have I said that rules should be imposed? this group, like all 
groups has to evolve it's rules. Rules are evolved by people talking about 
them and educating others about them. And, possibly objecting to people who 
mess up formatting and interrupt discussions. I personally never join a group 
where rules are enforced in the sense that people are moderated/banned for 
breaking rules. (except for spammers of course). But it is necessary to have 

> (and yes,
> non-F/OSS) way of going about things.  For instance, the oft-cited
> driving-on-the-left-side-of-the-road example is one of top-down
> imposition by the law.  Is it effective?  Are there reasons for it?
> Sure.  But I would argue that it doesn't follow from the F/OSS
> principles of collaborative adoption of rules.  There are also reasons
> for having different glasses for different kinds of wine, and
> different spoons for different parts of the meal, and different kinds
> of _veshti_s for different occasions.  These are not rules; these are
> customs often have social consensus around them.  Many customs don't
> always make sense to people outside a clique.  Does that make the
> custom wrong?  No.  Does that make the people outside the clique
> wrong/stupid/unwilling to learn the benefits of things that will
> greatly help them and others?  No.

certainly not. But this group *is* a clique, like it or not. It revolves 
around foss, again like it or not. So it is natural that foss practices 
> > I would be interested to see a non-f/oss list where people actually
> > discuss rules of how to post and how not to post.
> [...]
> > Unrestricted freedom is not freedom. It is anarchy.
> I am part of a closed group where many of the members are lawyers with
> their firms blocking access to general websites.  There, for instance,
> it is compulsory to provide the entire article one is talking about.
>  I wouldn't want to suggest that we make it compulsory on the Fosscomm
> Network list, but just that we don't make the only-linking-no-pasting
> custom compulsory either.  This isn't a lack of a rule: it is the
> existence of choice.

I am not proposing to make anything compulsory (apart from banning spam of 
course). But educating members on correct/efficient practice is an important 
part of building a community. It is not going to go away. Keeping the list 
focused is another part - that is not going to go away too.

Kenneth Gonsalves

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