ADMIN: About Admin

Subject: ADMIN: About Admin
From: TECHWR-L Administrator <admin -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 12:09:18 -0700


I'd hoped that this stuff would die out, but it's clearly
not going to. Administrative issues are not appropriate for discussion
on the list. They're not about technical communication, therefore...

>good. Then the mirroring failed a few months ago and for whatever reason has
>never been resurrected. So now, to partially maintain my preference for

As I've told many people offline...
The gateway at Okstate failed, and
I've been unable to get a response to repeated
queries to the institution (not Okstate) that usually
mirrors lists to Usenet. (A new mirror at Okstate is
out of the question right now.) Rather than complaining
about it obliquely on the list, you could invest your
efforts in either establishing a new mirror or in finding
someone who could help fix the problem.

>One thing that I wish was possible was the ability to respond to an individual
>message in the digest without having to quote the whole digest then snip out
>the excess. I suspect that if a programmer spent some time looking at majordomo
>that there would be some way of building response links into the subject lines
>of the individual items of the digest but I doubt that there's much incentive
>for anyone to do that.

Several good ways exist to address issues like this.
(Note that none of these are appropriate to discuss on the
* Anyone who cares to volunteer their programming expertise to to improve the listserv software, and of course
to make a cash donation to Okstate to purchase the upgrade,
would be welcome to do so.
* Alternatively, anyone would be, I'm sure, welcome to volunteer
their programming expertise to improve how individual email
packages handle digests or other list-related message issues.
* Or, I'm sure that searching the archives of this and
other lists would turn up loads of handy mail handling
tips, which could then be presented on the TECHWR-L site or
on other sites. Given a suitable collection, I'd be happy
to send it as an occasional ADMIN posting.
However, talking about it on the list isn't appropriate.

A different way of handling the content of list digests
is in the works--a TECHWR-L regular with substantial
programming expertise is developing a new program and,
last I heard, plans to make at least the first version
available to list members for free. An announcement
should be forthcoming soon.

And, to try to address all of these issues at once...
I'll be happy to add something to the general admin
information to the effect of responsible use of subject
lines. However, I'm not planning on trying that hard to
do anything about it--I'm gratified if the content
of the message bears some passing relationship to the
topic referenced in the subject and to technical
communication and a) there is a subject line and b)
the subject line doesn't read Re: TECHWR-L Digest....

Subject lines with JOB, QUERY, TOOLS, etc. work effectively
only with highly disciplined posters or moderated lists
(so the subjects can be added by a human). If people
start using them voluntarily, I'll be happy to help standardize,
but I'll wait for some evidence of a real drive to use these
before I make any kind of push to do it.

Any other questions or comments, please email me directly.


Eric J. Ray TECHWR-L Listowner
ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com

Syndicated columnist: Rays on Computing
Technology Department Editor, _Technical Communication_
Co-author of _Unix Visual Quickstart Guide_, _Mastering HTML 4_,
_Dummies 101: HTML 4_, _HTML 4 for Dummies Quick Reference_, others.

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