This posting has been slightly edited.

Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2000 10:10:59 -0800
From: Richard Hake <>
Subject: Twelve Posting Suggestions (was "Re: Transfer of innovation")

I list below "Twelve Posting Suggestions," in hopes of diminishing such problems, and moving PhysLrnR beyond a forum "for exchanging tidbits and opinions, to a structure which rapidly captures knowledge-value and fosters rapid accumulation and growth of a community's capability."(2)

I realize that many PhysLrnR's may think that these suggestions, if followed, would unduly hamper their spontaneity:

"Rules and models destroy genius and art."

William Hazlitt (1778-1830), "On Taste"

But there may be gains in the coherence and value(2-5) of the list. The rationale for some of the suggestions is cogently discussed by Dan MacIsaac in "Etiquette for PHYS-L and Similar Electronic Mailing List Postings" at the Phys-L homepage <> and by old pro Adam Engst in Mailing List Manners 101 & 102 <>. In my opinion Angst's sage advice should be required reading for all list subscribers. Here is a sampler [edit]:

"Surround URLs with angle brackets to avoid problems at line breaks. Don't use text styles (like bold or italic) or text colors in mailing list messages, since many people won't see them and may even see HTML tags instead. . . . . . ."


1. Search the archives of the list before asking a question or opening a new topic (it may already have been discussed ad nauseam).

2. Use subject headings that accurately convey the topic of the post (especially important for following threads in archive searches).

3. Indicate the specific post (date, discussion list, title, and name of poster) to which you are responding.

4. When convenient, give instructions for accessing SETS of referenced posts by Subject and/or Author and/or time in the archives, e.g., "see the archives for posts with Subject 'FCI,' by 'Dykstra,' 'from 1998'."

5. Quote or repeat only the relevant sections of the post to which you are responding and not the complete post (as occurs when you hit the "reply" button).

6. NEVER send attachments to lists (they will often appear as pages of code and may introduce viruses).

7. NEVER send messages in HTML or "enriched text." Some subscribers may receive your message interspersed with HTML tags so that it is almost impossible to read.

8. Give complete and accurate sets of references.

9. Give URL's as <http://www......> (note the angle brackets) so that they will survive line breaks and are hot-linked [note that <www.....> is NOT hot-linked]. Check any URL's in your message to be sure they work.

10. Use a BRIEF signature that includes your affiliation, mailing address, and (if you have one) your homepage.

11. Carefully proofread your posts prior to posting - check English, spelling, and grammar; remove all ambiguous and offensive material.

12. Pause a few minutes to review your post and THINK before you hit the SEND button.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
24245 Hatteras Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367