Frequently Asked Question

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1. Introduction

As is FAQs, this document aims to cover the most frequently asked questions concerning the hamara mailing lists (and of course answer them!). The idea is reduce bandwidth and avoid the same old questions being asked over and over again which reduce the quality of the list as well as leads to participants not participating enough. This is to be used alongwith http://wiki.hamaralinux.org/wiki/index.php/FAQs which is geared more towards usage of the distribution and questions along with it.

This document attempts to represent a community consensus, and as such it is not intended to be authoritative but simply a set of guidelines which attempts to help you in finding your way across hamara and being also a good netizen while you are here.

As the FAQ is in the form of a wiki, you are encouraged to participate by signing up, logging in and then rectifying any errors you find in this evolving space.


What is the purpose of the various Hamara mailing lists ?

A mailing list serves two distinct and important functions for the community :-

a. First and foremost, it gives a record both for the community at large as to how certain decisions were arrived at and the reasons for doing so. So, while past decisions can't be questioned, they can be used as a template to understand and make arguments to fine-tune and improve the quality of both the discussions and the product itself.

b. The technical skill-set needed to join and participate is much lesser than say IRC and is not bound by any time-frame.


Who is the audience for the various Hamara mailing lists?

That depends on the scope of each specific list. While some lists would be oriented towards developers, others will be more towards the hamara community. You can find a current listing here for the various lists which make up the hamara community.


Are the hamara mailing lists open for anyone to participate?

Before posting to any list, it is advisable to see the charter of the list. The charter is nothing but the informational page on the mailing list which tells you what the list is about. See for e.g. the charter of hamara-devel and specifically see the About hamara-devel which tries to explain how that individual list operates.

Also, a mailing list is a best-at-effort kind of service so you should not expect that people will respond to your every question or query.

Are the archives of the hamara lists available ?

The archives are available at the respective mailing lists. At times, we may remove a mail or two because it might contain some personal sensitive material shared by mistake by a user. There may be some other circumstances under which the mails may be pulled which would be shared below.

Can the mails be subscribed as one after the other or as a digest or no mail at all ?

All this functionality is available if you look at the relevant mailing list web interface. You will need to sign up and then log in to the Mailman web interface and use either of the options. The features of both the Interface and the features offered may differ as we move towards Mailman 3 and later.

We do understand that some users may choose to only view and reply either via webmail or soon via the web interface only. To have this flexibility only, we are planning to move to MM3 and beyond.

I want to post, what should I do before posting ?

Reading this document itself makes you on the road of being a good netizen. One of the most comprehensive guide on the matter is at catb.org and we would specifically ask you to follow before part quite religiously.

We won't mind if you tried and didn't get the answers, but you have to show you tried. One of the easiest strategies that you could use is try moving the keywords around and even if you do not get the answer, if your query or issue is replicated somewhere else even that would help. At times it is possible that you might not be able to get any info. but if you display that you do usually do some work/thought before asking the question then the possibility of having your query answered would be much more. If however, you need hand-holding on something, you could either go for paid support or try your luck on IRC or the mailing list. We would be putting up some documentation in form of either of entries in the wiki, manuals (paid and otherwise), printed manuals and all sorts of documentation as we move along.

Are there any norms I need to abide in all the mailing list

Here are some rules that you need to abide by :-

a. Be respectful to the other person. This means :-

1. No sexist remarks

2. No racist remarks

3. No bullying

4. No calling names

5. No trolling

6. No spam or advertising ever.

7. Respect privacy of others.


b. You are supposed to have read charter of each mailing list, which means :-

1. No cross-posting

2. No user questions in developer mailing lists and vice-versa.

3. No off-topic questions in mailing list.

At the end the moderators would have the final say in taking any action they feel fit to have civil conversations happening.


Any tips for getting the most out of the mailing list

The biggest and hardest thing to do in a mailing list is to be patient. If you are patient than as elsewhere in life even in mailing lists there is lot that can be gained. Some of the strategies that you can follow are :-

a. Most mailing lists (except high-volume mailing lists which themselves are rare) if you were to relate them with the stock market then you will notice an ebb and flow of the mailing lists. Once you get it, you could fire your questions as and when depending on the question itself and the tone of the list/community at that point of time.

b. While we do discourage flaming everywhere, it is a very discretionary understanding to what constitutes flaming. While you are encouraged to report any such posts to the moderators, at the same time, you are supposed to show some maturity. One of the better things that you can do is to step away from the offending mail/post etc. for a period of 24 hrs. before engaging in back and forth. As it is electronic mail it is never easy to guess what the other person meant. The 24 hrs. is to get a somewhat unbiased view of the mail/post while also giving time to moderators to take any action if there is a need for the same.

c. Do not use all CAPS. Using CAPS is looked upon as shouting. While you may be warned once or twice, persistent shouting will result in a ban.

d. Do not paste/copy long lines of code. The best way is to use any of the paste services which are available online and share the link and the issue. It is very possible that others may not have the bandwidth as well as patience in reading long pieces of code.

e. Have less or none attachments - Unless absolutely necessary, have minimum number of attachments or none at all. This is to do with bandwidth of users and the archive both.

f. As far as possible, use grammar check, spelling check and no SMS speak. As far as possible use acronyms sparingly

g. Wrap your mails at 75 characters so others can view your mail cleanly and it's also easy to get it printed if there is a need of the same.

h. Make sure to strip/trim your messages as much as possible. Make sure to keep the headers of messages as they are but trim your messages to the extent that others are able to have insight in which context you are making a statement. This means having those one-two lines or paragraph on which you are commenting, asking whatever and whichever is not needed, ruthlessly cutting it out.

i. Ensure that you are neither mis-quoting or putting words in somebody's mouth/mail . Sometimes, we do this unconsciously as well. So before hitting that send button, just make sure that the quotation is correct and the person to whom you are attributing as the author of that comment is correct as well.

j. Try to use plain text as much as possible and not use MIME as much as possible. Many developers have their own favorite MUA (Mail User Agent) and quite a few of them still do not render MIME correctly. As far as possible compose your mail using the plain text ASCII text only.

k. Most webmails and Mail User Agents/Mail Clients (MUA) use > or >> to denote that it was said that by x or y person. The arrows keep on increasing/incrementing each time somebody comments and passes on the original mail. Keep the arrows as they are as it also helps to know into how many hands a message passed through till it reached the intended recipient.