So I started getting back to reading newsgroups. Mainly just comp.lang.php and comp.databases.mysql to help hone my abilities. And the people in these groups strictly adhere to the “universal” newsgroup etiquette. I completely agree to the etiquette rules and believe that they are necessary to keep order to all of text-based Usenet.

For those who aren’t aware of this etiquette I hope to shed a little light on this topic. Below is a list of my own pet peeves of etiquette rules that seem to be constantly broken in many groups. Please note that this list is not an exhaustive list by any means.

1. Top Posting. Don’t do it!! You know when you reply to someone’s email and your message is on top of theirs? Well, that is a HUGE no-no in the Usenet world. Always reply below the quoted text!  Why you may ask? Because the readers have no idea what you are replying to unless they scroll down, read the quoted section, and then scroll to the top to read your section. It completely disrupts the readers flow when trying to read your post. Many times your post won’t even be read.

2. Cross Posting. Many times people feel the need to post a thread to multiple groups. This causes two problems. The first is that you are most likely posting the message in multiple WRONG groups. Like posting a message in comp.lang.php, comp.databases.mysql, and comp.lang.perl when the post only concerns MySQL. People reading the other two groups do NOT want to read your off-group post! The other problem that it creates is unnecessary junk. Many readers do read multiple groups, and therefore receiving your post multiple times. Breaking this rule will often times get your message deleted as well.

3. Consideration. Be considerate. You ask a group of people a question that you receive professional advice. You need to realize that NOBODY is getting paid to answer you. This is a collective resource. A community of experts. I find that many times the OPs become upset at the community trying to help. When instead of receiving the answer they were looking for they feel that the group needs to cater to them. Also, what would it take for you to post a reply? I have seen many times when a question is asked, many answers are given, and the OP is nowhere to be seen. Did the problem get resolved? Did any of the advice help? Maybe you moved to South America.

These rules are typically followed in the majority of the programming-based groups out there. Yet lately I have been browsing over to some of the Microsoft groups. These people (mostly Microsoft-claimed credentials) have absolutely no regard for this etiquette. I just read a post where a gentleman gets wholly upset that the group is advising him take steps that he feels is not immediately directing him to his desired answer.

I think I figured out why this may be though. And if there’s anyone out there that has been more of an avid reader of the microsoft.public groups than me, maybe he or she could correct me if I’m wrong. With Windows Vista comes Windows Mail. In this Microsoft decided to inject their Microsoft Communities. This is actually just the lot of the microsoft.public groups. Now users can simply open up their default mail client and post a message across Usenet. Now given that MS only binds these ignorant messages to their own groups, which is fine for the rest. But in my opinion, this is ultimately polluting Usenet.

Sorry for such a long rant, but I have been catching up on my reading tonight and the above mentioned gentleman made me realize that a post was needed.

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