c++boost.gif (8819 bytes) Home Libraries People FAQ More

Boost Discussion Policy

Email discussion is the tie that binds boost members together into a community. If the discussion is stimulating and effective, the community thrives. If the discussion degenerates into name calling and ill will, the community withers and dies.

Contents

Acceptable Topics
Unacceptable Topics
Quoting and Message Size
Prohibited Behavior
Culture

Acceptable topics

Other topics related to boost development may be acceptable, at the discretion of moderators. If unsure, go ahead and post. The moderators will let you know.

Unacceptable topics

Quoting and Message Size

Please limit the amount of quoted text in replies to this list. Some people have to pay for, or wait for, each byte that they download from the list. More importantly, it will save time and make your post more valuable when readers do not have to find out which exact part of a previous message you are responding to.

A common and very useful approach is to cite the small fractions of the message you are actually responding to and to put your response directly beneath each citation, with a blank line separating them for readability:


> Some part of a paragraph that you wish to reply to goes 
> here; there may be several lines.

Your response to that part of the message goes here.  There may,
of course, be several lines.

> The second part of the  paragraph that is relevant to your 
> reply goes here; agiain there may be several lines.

Your response to the second part of the message goes here.
...

For more information about effective use of quotation in posts, see this helpful guide.

A summary of the foregoing thread is only needed after a long discussion, especially when the topic is drifting or a result has been achieved in a discussion. The mail system will do the tracking that is needed to enable mail readers to display message threads (and every decent mail reader supports that).

If you ever have to refer to single message earlier in a thread or in a different thread then you can use a URL to the message archives. To help to keep those URLs short, you can use tinyurl.com. Citing the relevant portion of a message you link to is often helpful (if the citation is small).

Don't forget, it's a single writer but there are many readers. So, saving some time for the readers is worth spending extra time when writing a message.

The mailing list software automatically limits message and attachment size to a reasonable amount, typically 75K, which is adjusted from time-to-time by the moderators.. This limit is a courtesy to those who rely on dial-up Internet access.

Prohibited behavior

Prohibited behavior will not be tolerated. The moderators will ban postings by abusers.

Flame wars

Personal insults, argument for the sake of argument, and all the other behaviors which fall into the "flame war" category are prohibited. Discussions should focus on technical arguments, not the personality traits or motives of participants.

Third-party attacks

Attacks on third parties such as software vendors, hardware vendors, or any other organizations, are prohibited. Boost exists to unite and serve the entire C++ community, not to disparage the work of others.

Does this mean that we ban the occasional complaint or wry remark about a troublesome compiler? No, but be wary of overdoing it.

Off-topic posts

Discussions which stray from the acceptable topics are strongly discouraged. While off-topic posts are often well meaning and not as individually corrosive as other abuses, cumulatively the distraction damages the effectiveness of discussion.

Culture

In addition to technical skills, Boost members value collaboration, acknowledgement of the help of others, and a certain level of politeness. Boost membership is very international, and ranges widely in age and other characteristics. Think of discussion as occurring among colleagues in a widely read forum, rather than among a few close friends.

Always remember that the cumulative effort spent by people reading your contribution scales with the (already large) number of boost members. Thus, do invest time and effort to make your message as readable as possible. Adhere to English syntax and grammar rules such as proper capitalization. Avoid copious informalism, colloquial language, or abbreviations, they may not be understood by all readers. Re-read your message before submitting it.

Guidelines for effective discussions

Apply social engineering to prevent heated technical discussion from degenerating into a shouting match, and to actively encourage the cooperation upon which Boost depends.

Avoid Parkinson's Bicycle Shed. Parkinson described a committee formed to oversee design of an early nuclear power plant. There were three agenda items - when to have tea, where to put the bicycle shed, and how to ensure nuclear safety. Tea was disposed of quickly as trivial.   Nuclear safety was discussed for only an hour - it was so complex, scary, and technical that even among experts few felt comfortable with the issues. Endless days were then spent discussing where to put the bicycle shed (the parking lot would be a modern equivalent) because everyone understood the issues and felt comfortable discussing them. 


Revised 02 October, 2003

Beman Dawes 2000

Use, modification, and distribution are subject to the Boost Software License, Version 1.0. (See accompanying file LICENSE_1_0.txt or copy at www.boost.org/LICENSE_1_0.txt)