I don’t know what happened with mailing list environment nowadays. It used to be a fun place, lots of things to learn, sharing knowledge and knowing people with the same interest. It also used to be a place where people respecting each other, learn mistakes, accepting fault and try to make that place a better place by trying to follow Netiquette.
The major problem right now is signal to noise ratio of most mailing list are very high low (Thanks to Ronny for correcting me). What is SNR (signal to noise ratio) means in mailing list term? It means that most of the email are not related with the main topic of the mailing list (hence the noise). It means that lots of out of topic email in that particular mailing list. It just annoying… Some advice that if you don’t like it just delete it. Yeah, right… delete means you have to download it first right? It also means that you have to waste your bandwidth to download something that you don’t need. It almost like spam – in mild version. Most people nowadays download email using their connection at campus or at work for free. Do you know that most bandwidth wasted in campus and work is for spam and out of topic email in mailing list? Imagine how much you can save money for your company or school by not downloading those unnecessary email. Lots.
Another one is trolling. Well, trolling even seem to move from mailing list or newsgroup to comment on weblog nowadays (Isn’t that right, Pri. Just read that Wikipedia article, you’ll get what I mean.
The other one is what I categorized as “ignorant airhead” aka IA – It’s not Artificial Intelligence, altho those people maybe need some “artificial” intelligence for themselves. These are people who are angry when somebody in the mailing list pointing out their mistake. Sometimes these people often acted as defender of somebody else who made those mistakes. Act like a hero, eh? No, really, if somebody points out that you are made a mistake politely, if they are not polite consider them as trolls or flamers, and they are already subscribe to the mailing list longer than you are then big probability that they are right. Face it. Admit it. Say sorry and everybody will happy. Simple. No flame, no troll, no hard feeling and everybody satisfied.
There are other stuff that make mailing list environment is not as fun and usefull as it used to be. Consider reading E-mail Etiquette and see if that things make any sense.
It is not that hard, it is all make sense and trust me, if ever everybody following this simple sense, your experience (and mine) with mailing list will be better than ever.
Note: I know that this entry will probably bring trolls to comment, go ahead, let others be the judge of your action. Grow up, get some good sense, waste your energy (and bandwidth) for something more positive than trolling.