How to be a non-annoying mailing list subscriber

I’m sure that this will spawn a "how to be a non-annoying…" series to rival "… considered harmful" essays. Next stop, "How to be a non-annoying user of public transport".

The basic principle of being a non-annoying mailing list subscriber is, you guessed, being low maintainence!

Don’t quote excessively.

Well, OK, this is just one of my pet hates. Successful quoting indicates you’ve read the mail you’re replying to. Good work.

Dont quote badly

There’s nothing worse than multiply quoted lines, half of which have over-flowed onto the next. Either get an editor that can successfully reformat quoted blocks without littering "> >" into the body of the quoted text, or don’t re-format them. There is no middle way.

Do not hold the list responsible for its silence

It doesn’t matter if someone was advocating eating the entrails of new born puppies on the list, something like 80% of subscribers will not have noticed. 95% if the person doing this was at the tail end of a flamewar, particularly if it’s in the middle of badly quoted yuck-mess.

Silence is not the same thing as consent. This is not a political arena where real decisions are made. This is a mailing list. Silence is the same thing as boredom.

Do not attempt to emotionally blackmail the list

It doesn’t work because they can’t see your puppy dog eyes.

Do not use grandiose names for yourself

People calling themself "Brain Trust" asking for help with their maths homework look stupid, not just momentarily homework-impaired.

Do not post threats to unsubscribe

Most subscribers will immediately take a position on the question of whether you should or should not unsubscribe, and it will be the former position.

Do not trust the mailing list

It is archived. There are thousands of silent subscribers, watching you with blank faces. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Do not expect affection from the mailing list

Its subscribers do not love you. Generalisations are never ("never?" says the smart alec, never comes the reply) true, but this one is close.