[conspire] Announcement postings

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Mar 30 12:10:41 PDT 2009

Quoting Eric De Mund (ead-conspire at ixian.com):

> Your suggestion of "group regulars only" is one solution that provides
> in-band "-announce" list functionality while not risking the pH of 
> conspire too much.
> Another in-band "-announce" solution might be for posters to include an
> "[announce]" string in the subject line. I, for one, would welcome that.

This is a popular suggestion for postings of borderline topicality for a
mailing list.  People suggest "[announce]", "[job]" or "[jobs]", "[OT]"
or "[off-topic]" or "[offtopic]" or "[Off-Topic]", etc.

You're probably spotting one of the snakes inhabiting this notional
filtering paradise:  Inevitably, some announcements posters will start
using "[Announce]" instead of "[announce]", with the result that the 99%
of subscribers who didn't build case-insensitivity into their MUA
filters will see the message pass through.

And the bigger, fatter snake is that you're expecting people to learn
and wield the regex-fu (or equivalent) of their respective MUAs to
filter and file mail, which rather few posters ever do.  It would tend
to turn into an all-purpose way of excusing anything that can be called
an "announcement", e.g., "Well, people who don't want to see these don't
_need_ to:  They can just filter the postings out."  Unfortunately, the
world doesn't work that way.

Also, the announcement posts thus marked still tend to clog the mailing
list archives.

In my experience, "[OT]" and its companions really function more as a
social apology, as a way of implicitly saying "Yes, I know I'm a bit out
of line in this; please indulge me in the knowledge that I won't be
doing this often or at great length."  Which is usually good enough, and
is an independent reason why they're often a good thing, in my view.

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