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From Gary Turner <kk...@sbcglobal.net>
Subject Re: [users@httpd] Other Forms of Apache Support
Date Mon, 06 Jan 2003 03:58:10 GMT
J. Greenlees wrote:

<snip>
>
>maybe if someone rebuilt the archives with a more search able layout it 
>would reduce the repeat questions. ( would also enable a simpler 
>compilation of faqs from this list for apache foundation to have on 
>their site )

Wouldn't that be nice?  Don't look to me for that, though.:)  Most mail
readers should be able to search just fine, except that the subjects are
amazingly badly formed.  Eric S. Raymond has published a small paper
that addresses this issue.  Let me extract:

======================

	"Use meaningful, specific subject headers

	"On mailing lists or newsgroups, the subject header is your golden
opportunity to attract qualified experts' attention in around 50
characters or fewer. Don't waste it on babble like "Please help me" (let
alone "PLEASE HELP ME!!!!"; messages with subjects like that get
discarded by reflex). Don't try to impress us with the depth of your
anguish; use the space for a super-concise problem description instead.

	"A good convention for subject headers, used by many tech support
organizations, is "object - deviation". The "object" part specifies what
thing or group of things is having a problem, and the "deviation" part
describes the deviation from expected behavior.

	"Stupid:
	"HELP! Video doesn't work properly on my laptop!

	"Smart:
	"XFree86 4.1 misshapen mouse cursor, Fooware MV1005 vid. chipset

	"Smarter:
	"XFree86 4.1 mouse cursor on Fooware MV1005 vid. chipset - is
misshapen

	"The process of writing an "object-deviation" description will help
you organize your thinking about the problem in more detail. What is
affected? Just the mouse cursor or other graphics too? Is this specific
to XFree86? To version 4.1? Is this specific to Fooware video chipsets?
To model MV1005? A hacker who sees the result can immediately understand
what it is that you are having a problem with and the problem you are
having, at a glance.

	"If you ask a question in a reply, be sure to change the subject line
to indicate that you are asking a question. A Subject line that looks
like "Re: test" or "Re: new bug" is less likely to attract useful
amounts of attention. Also, pare quotes of previous messages to the
minimum consistent with cluing in new readers.

	"Do not simply hit reply to a list message in order to start an
entirely new thread. This will limit your audience. Some mail readers,
like mutt, allow the user to sort by thread and then hide messages in a
thread by folding the thread. Folks who do that will never see your
message.

	"Changing the subject is not sufficient. Mutt, and probably other
mail readers, looks at other information in the email's headers to
assign it to a thread, not the subject line. Instead start an entirely
new email."

=============================

For more, see:

	http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

<snip>

I would love to see easy-to-search archives.  (It would be easier on the
MrkI Mod0 eyeballs if the list would lose that waste of screen real
estate "[users@httpd] " in the subj: line.)  I hardly expect it soon.
Apache's own documentation will continue to be my first source with the
list used for expansion and clarification.

I apologize for the long post.  Being able to find stuff in the list is
important to its value.  Whether we are searching archives or visually
editing the list as we scroll through,  a good subject line is
imperative.  I hope this will add to the useability of the list.

--
gt          kk5st@sbcglobal.net
Yes I fear I am living beyond my mental means--Nash

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