CircleMUD Mailing List Frequently Asked Questions

(created July 9th, 1996)

(last updated December 10th, 2001)

Authored and Maintained by: Alex Fletcher <fletchra@post.queensu.ca>


Contrary to what is apparently popular belief, this FAQ just happens to contain the policies of the CircleMUD Mailing List.

Herein lie the answers to the following questions:

Q1: What is the CircleMUD mailing list about? How do I post an article?
Q2: How do I subscribe/unsubscribe to the list?
Q3: Are there any subject conventions I should follow?
Q4: What other conventions should I follow?
Q5: Why all of these rules on how to format messages?
Q6: Is there an archive?
Q7: Are there any resource archives for the mailing list?
Q8: How often are articles processed? How are they processed? How about a digest?
Q9: What other things should I know?
Q10: I hate the flames, what can I do?
Q11: Where can I find this FAQ?
Q12: What is the history of this FAQ?


Q1: What is the CircleMUD mailing list about? How do I post an article?
The CircleMUD mailing list is for CircleMUD implementors and administrators to gather together to discuss coding techniques, ideas, methods, and solutions, as well as other CircleMUD related discussions such as lib related items (the world, help files, etc), changes needed for Operating Systems, bugs and problems, and so forth.
Please note that the CircleMUD Mailing List is an English-only mailing list. This is not an attempt to exclude non-native English speakers, but an attempt to ensure that everyone on the list is included.
Common netiquette rules apply on the list, especially those related to flaming, advertising, quoting, slang, and large sig files. Flames are not welcome on the list itself. If you feel the need to flame someone, please send it to them only. Commercial advertising is also not welcome on the list. If you feel the need to advertise your mud, start the subject with [AD]. When quoting previous pieces of mail, only quote what is needed, do not quote the entire message, that just wastes bandwidth and the readers' time. Also, sig files should be kept to a minimum. This means less than four lines please. Finally, discussions on the use of the English language are no longer welcome (ditto for calling people Hitler), and these 'offenses' will result a removal from the list with a piece of form mail explaining why.
To post an article, simply send it to: <circle@lists.queensu.ca>
To see if you are on the list or to check your list options, mail <listserv@lists.queensu.ca> with the body:
    query circle

RULES -- a restatement of the above because people don't read.
  1. On Topic
    The mailing list is for the discussion of all things CircleMUD. It is not to teach you how to program, how to use your operating system, or for general chatter like politics. Especially not politics around the time of the U.S.A. elections.
  2. Write in English
    If no one understands you, they're not going to reply. You want the most number of people to reply, ergo you write it in English. Another good reason is because the CircleMUD developers' native language is English. Some of them may know other languages but they won't all and it probably won't be good enough to discuss code details with.
  3. Flames
    If you must write a flaming reply, write the flame about the subject, not the person. Personal attacks are rarely called for or appreciated but everyone seems to feel the need to rant about no one checking the mailing list archives at some point in their life. If your particular flame is devoid of any redeeming informational value then do not send it to the mailing list.
  4. Quoting
    When quoting, place the text of your reply below the text you are replying to and trim any unnecessary levels of previous replies. A general guideline is a maximum of about three replies back. You'll generally not need more than 2. Remove any sections of the mail you're not replying to; don't just quote the whole thing. This doesn't mean you replace words in sentences with "..." in an attempt to change the meaning, as some newspapers. Remove every instance of the mailing list footer from your reply.
    This is done this way for the following reasons:
    • it refreshes the context for the reader,
    • it makes it easier to see exactly what you are responding to,
    • it does not appear like duplicate messages in the digest version of the list, and
    • it gets rid of excessive quoted material, which consumes bandwidth and eventually disk space when archived.
  5. Taboo Language
    There are numerous teenagers (and maybe younger) on the mailing list so avoid any language considered taboo, foul, or dirty.
  6. Signatures
    Four lines or less is enough. That's up to 240 characters. If your signature is larger then you need to remove something from it or use a different signature file just for the mailing list.
  7. Advertising
    Advertise all you want in your signature, within its size limitations. If you feel the need to send an entire e-mail doing nothing but advertising your CircleMUD, prepend an "[AD]" tag to your subject. Note that commercial advertising is not welcome since no CircleMUD should be commercial.
  8. Removal Policy
    You may be removed from the mailing list at any time for any of the above infractions or any other justifiable reason we haven't written here. You'll receive a short explanation (likely telling you to reread these rules) in the mail upon your removal. In most cases, you are welcome to sign back on to the list if you send us an e-mail explaining why you were removed. If you don't understand why you were removed, you'll just do it again and waste everyone's time in the process.
  9. Length Limit
    All messages to the mailing list must be under 200 lines. You won't be removed from the mailing list for this but your message will not be delivered either.

Q2: How do I subscribe/unsubscribe to the Mailing list?
To subscribe to the mailing list send a message to listserv@lists.queensu.ca with any subject and the message body should be simply subscribe circle <first name> <last name>.
Subscription attempts from system accounts (ie 'root', 'postmaster', etc) will be ignored.
To unsubscribe from the list send a message to <listserv@lists.queensu.ca> with the words unsubscribe circle as the message body.
DO NOT send subscription/unsubscription requests to the list in general. There are hundreds of people on the list, and it will only irritate a ton of people who have no power to remove you from the list.
If you have any problems or wish to change your address on the list, please contact <owner-circle@lists.queensu.ca>.
Remember, posting on the list is a privilege. It is suggested that you lurk for a while to get a gist of how things work on the list. Reading the list archives can also be very useful.

Q3: Are there any subject conventions I should follow?
First of all, include a subject on ALL of your CircleMUD mailing list mail. This subject should be a BRIEF summary of the message sent.
Second, as noted above, there are some subject conventions that are often followed on the mailing list so that people can choose what they want to read.
[AD]
This should be used for Mud Advertisments and the like.
[ADMIN]
This header should be used when discussing administration methods and ideas for muds.
[CODE]
This should preface an article that is generally about a piece of code, either release, or one that has a bug in it.
[INFO]
This is more of an administrative use, but can also be used to inform people of a new code release, change on the FTP site, or some other piece of interesting information.
[LIB]
This header should be used when discussing the db part of CircleMUD, including, but not limited to, the world.
[META]
This header must be used when discussing topics surrounding the mailing list itself. This includes the running of it, policies and rules on it, changes made to it, suggestions for improvement, and so forth.
[NEWBIE]
This should preface a 'dumb question', or one that you think has an obvious answer but is eluding you.
[RP]
This header should be used when discussing Role-Playing ideas for CircleMUDs.
[SYSTEM]
This header should be used when discussing various operating system needs and changes. This header can be further expanded into SYSTEM-WIN95, SYSTEM-LINUX, etc.
Note that you do not need to put the [Circle] tag on your mail as it will be added by the remailer. You are welcome to suggest other subject prefaces.

Q4: What other conventions should I follow?
Read the CircleMUD FAQ before posting to the list, your question may already be answered in there.
In short: No more than 72 columns wide (which allows for quoting on to 80 columns wide), and only use 7bit ASCII. If you are posting from a country/language which uses "special" characters, such as with umlauts or other diacritical marks, then please ensure that your mailer properly MIME wraps them. Most modern mailers will do this properly.
Attachments, HTML, enriched text, and RichText and similar are discouraged. This includes "vcard" attachments from Netscape mail and similar.
Use a bit of common sense when quoting. Include enough of the original message to make sense; no more or less. Avoid quoting an entire post with a one line reply (one line replies are bad). Your response should FOLLOW the quoted material, which should be indicated that it is quoted material (usually with a '> ' at the beginning of each line.
Sending large pieces of mail is counter productive. Don't do it.
It is not necessary to PGP-sign your posts.
Stick to CircleMUD topics. Discussing non-CircleMUD topics such as how to flood a machine with 'ping' requests is off topic for the list.
If you still must make an offtopic posting to the list, at least include an 'ObCircle:' section containing something related to CircleMUD. This means 'Obligatory CircleMUD Related Section'.

Q5: Why all of these rules on how to format messages?
Simply: More signal, less noise. Per the list owner, each of the rules and guidelines are things that he has seen help keep a mailing list on track, help maintain mutual respect among the members, and help keep the discussions focused and useful.
By a high signal to noise ratio, the following is meant:
The noisy postings include messages which essentially say "I agree!" and add no extra value, or those that do not relate to the purpose of the list (like what you had for dinner, how your code/world clearly superior to all others in existence and why language such and such is better than such and such). Try to keep on topic and you won't go wrong.

Q6: Is there an archive for the mailing list?
An up-to-date archive of the list since it moved to post.queensu.ca can be found at http://post.queensu.ca/listserv/wwwarch/circle.html
If you'd rather read the messages in bulk, the FTP site has gzipped copies of the same material in the UNIX mailbox format -- ftp://ftp.circlemud.org/pub/CircleMUD/list/

Q7: Are there any resource archives for the mailing list?
Several resource archives are available to CircleMUD administrators. The main archive is the CircleMUD ftp site and web site. These are located at: ftp://ftp.circlemud.org/pub/CircleMUD/ and http://www.circlemud.org/
Ceramic Mouse is located at: http://developer.circlemud.org/
And finally, mirrors of the CircleMUD FTP Site: http://ftp.m-l.org/pub/CircleMUD/

Q8: How often are articles processed? How are they processed? How about a digest?
Posts to the mailing list are automatically processed by the LISTSERV(R) and sent out to the members of the list. There is now a digest option. To set this option, sent mail to <listserv@lists.queensu.ca> with the body set circle digest.

Q9: What other things should I know?
Aaargh! The traffic is too much!
Perhaps switching to the daily digest mode would help? To do so, go to http://post.queensu.ca/listserv/wwwarch/circle.html and change your subscription options to turn on the digest.
Likewise, you can visit the same location to turn off the list while you are on holiday. Look for the 'NOMAIL' option. When you return from your holiday, you can turn the mailings back on the same way.
Copyright Myths are explained at http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html, it would be a good idea to give them a quick review.

Q10: I hate the flames, what can I do?
There is a second mailing list available, it is moderated, so the signal content should be reasonably high. The important data is listed below:
List home page: http://www.imaxx.net/mcircle/
List archive: http://www.imaxx.net/mcircle/archive/
Subscription/unsubscription address: majordomo@listserv.imaxx.net
List contact: thrytis@imaxx.net

Q11: Where can I find this FAQ?
A pointer to this FAQ is posted at the end of every message on the mailing list. It can be found online at: http://post.queensu.ca/~alex/Circle/list-faq.html and ftp://ftp.circlemud.org/pub/CircleMUD/list/FAQ

Q12: What is the history of this FAQ?
This FAQ was first created on July 9th, 1996 by Alex 'Furry' Fletcher <fletchra@post.queensu.ca>. All corrections, updates, and other submissions should be sent to that address.
It was last updated on December 10th, 2001. At this time, the FAQ was updated to add the META subject tag.

Back to the CircleMUD FAQ Site.
Alex Fletcher