Electronic communities (such as mailing lists) are like small countries. They each have a unique style and their own little idiosyncracies and, just as when travelling to a foreign land for the first time, people wishing to visit would do well to familiarize themselves with local customs ahead of time so as not to embarrass themselves or give offense to the natives.
That said, we in the land of PGWnet have few rules and the ones we do have exist to make it possible for the greatest number of people to read and participate in the discussions. Here are the rules and a brief explanation of why they were created:
Keep all posts good-natured.
All posts should reflect the true Wodehousian spirit. If you are motivated by a post to start a political, religious or philosophical conversation take it off-list (see rule #4). No Schopenhauer!
Do not send messages in HTML to the list, or include attachments of any kind.
This rule exists because not everyone uses the same kind of computer or software. Sending messages to a list that only some of the list members can read simply isn't the done thing, don't you know.
Trim your posts!
What this means is that when you reply to a message posted to PGWnet, you should delete all of the non-relevant text of the original message. Why? Consider this: If you add one line of new text (plus signatures and footers) to a post and append 20 lines of another's message, then someone else replies by adding one line to the now 25-line message with all of their attendant signatures and footers, well, you can see that in any substantive discussion each line of actual content is soon accompanied by hundreds of lines of garbage. In other words, failing to trim your posts is the electronic equivalent of littering, and all that litter affects clarity, quickly making it very difficult to figure out what you are actually responding to.
But we also ask that you not go too far the other way and delete the entire message to which you are replying! Since messages are sent to the list by so many different people at so many different times it is unlikely that members will see your reply immediately after reading the original post. Therefore, messages consisting only of "Yes, I feel the same way and Gwendolyn quite agrees with me," so far from advancing intelligent conversation, will merely serve to annoy the populace at large.
Since there is no mathematical formula to tell you the correct amount of text to include or to delete, we merely ask you to use The Golden Rule of Mailing Lists: Make each message stand up for itself. Every word in the message should be there because you, with deliberation and consideration, chose to put it there.
Know Where Your Reply Goes
When you hit the "Reply" button while reading a PGWnet message your reply will go to the entire list, not just the individual to whose post you are replying. Please bear this in mind when you are "replying" on PGWnet. If you are making a private remark or even a remark that is not of interest to the entire list (or breaks rule #1) then you should "forward" the list message with your response to the poster of the list message by copy-and-pasting the "From:" address of the PGWnet poster into the "To:" address of your new personal message.