How not to write a FoRKpost.

I Find Karma (
Wed, 18 Feb 1998 01:22:25 -0800

Let's use the manifest on "how to deconstruct anything"

to deconstruct JoeK's recent FoRKpost

in an effort to demonstrate how it is a good example of how not to write
a FoRKpost according to the "Ten Commandments of FoRKposting"

The reason I'm using JoeK's post as a good example of a bad example is
1. He's a good sport about these things, with a good sense of humor.
He knows that when I point out things, I am merely using his post for
illustrative purposes, and not insulting him as a person.
2. He's not on FoRK, so I don't have to worry about making a
FoRKmember look bad in the eyes of his peers.
3. It was in my mail queue today.

> From Tue Feb 17 19:36:49 1998
> Subject: Re: Who's on FoRK. (Removing redundancies from dist-obj-nofork@cs)

Okay, technically this doesn't violate the first commandment


because it's a response to someone else's post. However, this subject
line really doesn't tell me anything about what's in JoeK's post, so he
should have changed the subject line to better correspond to the content
of his message.

> > 1) Adam - Heeeeeey!! Wait a minute - just cuz I drop off fork for a
> > little R&R, I get bumped to the back of the list? What's with that -
> > don't I get my old spot back with Mark - ie down near #59? This is
> > unfair - I demand dignified treatment as a veteran, harumph :-)
> Hrm, well _I_ think that they should reference ex-FoRKers in
> chronological order! I'd be in the first dozen or so!

This violates the second commandment


because the information content in this observation is negligible.
In fact, JoeK *is* in the first dozen or so "artists formerly known as
FoRKers", if you look at

so not only is the statement NOT new bits, it's actually anti-bits
spreading disinformation. Doubleplusbadwise.

> > 2) So, let me get this straight - we are strictly barred from emailing
> > directly to ask for help with our sick parakeets. But
> > it's perfectly ok if I want to mail to for some
> > communal group therapy for my sick parakeet Fifi, and TBL just becomes
> > one of the fellas who suggests cold compresses and a vacation in
> > tropical Tahiti? Wow, I've never mingled with royalty before (does
> > Rohit count?) I'm getting all tingly :-). [Psst - remind me someone -
> > which is the shrimp FoRK and which is the salad FoRK.]
> Um, sick parakeet? Stick a fork it it, it's a bloody dead bird! It's
> a ex-PARAKEET!

This violates the corollary of the second commandment


and this observation barely qualifies as humor. Quoting Monty Python
out of context *definitely* does not count as new bits. Of course, we
don't know JoeK is quoting Monty Python unless we share an office with
him, so he's also in violation of the third commandment here


I also want to take this opportunity to get nitpicky and call JoeK for
being in violation of the tenth commandment


because his commentary is coarse, crass, callous, and might even be
perceived as insulting of someone many of us hold in deep respect.

> > I assume that real old timers like JoeB, Mark, Adam, DMZ, and Wayne
> > are already accounted for in the dist-obj-nofork set. Summary:
> > maintaining dist-obj-nofork is probably more hassle than it's worth.
> Agreed. And, in truth, if folks post properly, sendmail will take
> care of duplicates that actually are the same address. I.e. I'm
> just about ready to kill dist-obj-nofork because (1) it's too much
> hassle to maintain and (2) since FoRK is quite a bit smaller,
> there should be a fork-nodist-obj@xent instead.

This is in violation of commandment eight that


because, rather than tell us *how* to "post properly" [which would be
considered new bits], he spends the rest of the keystrokes in this
paragraph saying that FoRK is smaller so FoRK should deal with the

> > We're actively concerned about dist-obj growing beyond the point where
> > it can no longer serve its original purpose, as a quiet, thoughtful,
> > reflective place.
> (In best Beevis imitation) - "Heehee, he said 'reflective'."

This is in violation of a corollary of the sixth commandment


which has the corollary that creative spelling is allowed only if it
adds humor. Simply put, spelling "Beavis" like "Beevis" is not humorous.

Furthermore, this sentence contains anti-bits. Beavis only laughs at
words and phrases that could be connoted as double-entendres.
"Reflective" is about as far from that connotation as possible,

> > We got so noisy in the last few days (no thanks to loudmouths like
> > Adam and me - and Doug Lea) - that we're now dumping our garbage on
> > FoRK's front lawn - let's see how they like it for a change :-).
> We went from 1.1 msg/day average to almost 8! Let's hope it settles
> down a bit.

Bragging about list statistics is not new bits.

> On another note, I did a survey of the last few dozen posts to try
> to determine why threading wasn't working as well as it might in
> the dist-obj archive.

Posting to FoRK about the dist-obj archive is not new bits since many
people on FoRK do not know what the dist-obj threading problem was.

> The two main things I learned:
> (1) All broken threads thus far are caused by M$ products not
> providing In-Reply-To: and References: headers and incorrectly
> munging subject lines. <sigh>

This is in violation of the ninth commandment


because we all know JoeK thinks awfully of Microsoft software [and thus
he will be one of the first people sold into slavery when BillG is
declared Supreme Plenipotentiary of Planet Earth].

> (2) _A lot_ more people use VM/(X)Emacs than I had originally thought
> for email. Of particular note are Doug Lea, Patrick Logan, Paul
> Benninghoff, and myself. Those who use Netscrape seem to be using
> version 4 which, in general, Does-The-Right-Thing. Somehow this is
> both surprising and not surprising at the same time. I think we
> can partially thank Dave M. for that.
> On a related email-ish note, I just got mail from Ken Arnold
> about COOTS and noticed that he uses CDE dtmail. Eeeek! Boy,
> talk about a dyed-in-the-wool Sun-head!

And last but not least we have a violation of the seventh commandment


which is a really funny case here. JoeK tells us some salacious bits --
that he got email from Ken Arnold about COOTS -- and then fails to
disclose any of the information in that email. How about giving us some
actual bits -- such as, who is going to be on that COOTS panel with you --
instead of giving us the metabits of telling us you have information
(which aren't really bits for us because we know you HAVE information,
we just don't know what it is; SHOW US THE BITS!!).

Remember, when in doubt, consult the FoRK FAQ:


NNTP packets and compressed UUCP batches ship around untold gigabytes a
day of trash. This trash is known, collectively, as Usenet...
Defenders of the Usenet say that it is a grand compact based on
cooperation. What they don't say is that it is also based on
name-calling, harrassment, and letter-bombs... Usenet truly came to
resemble a million monkeys typing endlessly all over the globe. In
early 1994, there were an estimated 140,000 sites with 4.6 million users
generating 43,000 messages a day.
-- Unix-Haters Handbook