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Discussion list guidelines

From: George Kerscher <kerscher@montana.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 1997 09:33:26 -0700
Message-Id: <3.0.5.32.19971127093326.0080c350@mail.montana.com>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: Edmar Schut <ESchut@svb.nl>
Hello all,

Here is the latest version of the list guidelines developed by Gregg and
myself with help from many others. Comments welcome.
Best
George
****

Discussion List Protocols and Etiquette

By George Kerscher & Gregg Vanderheiden

After many years of participating on discussion lists, several
suggestions pop up time and time again.  We have tried to capture
the most common recommendations that can be used as suggestions for
discussion list guidelines.  The guidelines are listed first as a
short list followed by more information on each.


1) Keep the discussions friendly. Use (grin) and (smile) in
     your email if tone could be mistaken. Don't use :-) .
2) If you change topics - change the Subject Line.
3) Try to include just one thought topic per email.
4) Delete any unnecessary or unrelated lines from the original
     message. Retain information necessary to follow the thread.
5) If new text is inserted within the body of the Old message,
     mark all new text with author's initials followed by two
     colons (e.g   GV::  or  GK:: )    At the end put:  End GV.
     BE CONSISTENT so that a person using a screen reader can
     use text search to find all your comments.
6) Do not use indenting to show organization of thought or
     material unless you also include Outline Labels such as
     1,2,3 and a b c, or full word labels.
7) Put two blank lines before titles to make them easier to
     find both visually and via search.
8) Send these recommendations to new list subscribers.
     (And repeat as necessary)

--------------------------------------------------------


Suggestion 1:   Keep the discussions friendly. Use "grin" and
                smile" in your email if tone could be mistaken.
Rationale:   This helps clarify intentions and is an aide  to
             communication.
TIP:      Sometimes people will use colons and other
          punctuation to do this. Screen readers
          do not work with ASCII art like :-) so spell
          out (smile) or (wink) etc as words.


SUGGESTION 2:    If you change topics - change the Subject Line.
RATIONALE:   Automatic Threading software in the archive will
             start a new thread. It is also easier for people to
             follow a topic of interest by reading the subject
             line.
TIP:     It is possible in many email packages to sort by
         subject and by date. This allows you to read the
         messages about a certain subject in the order as
         they were posted.


SUGGESTION 3:  Try to include just one thought topic per email.
RATIONALE:    This allows the discussion on the list to focus on
              one idea.
TIP:      Send multiple messages to facilitate response and
          threading.


SUGGESTION 4:   Delete any unnecessary or unrelated lines from the
                original message. Retain information necessary to
                follow the thread.
RATIONALE:    This means there will be less information to wade
              through. Remember some people are using screen
              readers and they must read each line to find the
              relevant information.


SUGGESTION 5:   If new text is inserted within the body of the Old
                message,  Mark all new text with author's initials
                followed by two colons (e.g   GV::  or  GK::
                At the end put:  End GV.
                BE CONSISTENT so that a person using a screen
                reader can use text search to find all your
                comments.
RATIONALE:   In long messages, there may be only a few lines of
             comments. People who use screen readers cannot
             glance over the message to find the comments. Each
             line has to be heard to determine if a comment is
             present. (Many times a person using a screen reader
             hears," greater, greater..." hundreds of times.
             Two colons are used to ensure uniqueness and
             to allow a user to jump from the beginning of
             one persons comments to the next by searching
             for the double colon.
TIP:    Mention at top of message that you have placed your
        initials followed by a colon in front of your
        comments. The person can then search for  the
        unique string to quickly move through the message.
        If your initials read like a word, put a space
        or hyphen between them.
NOTE: if you have more than one paragraph in your comment, or if you think 
 it will be confusing , you should indicate where your comment ends.   (Not 
all screen readers read by paragraph).


SUGGESTION 6: Do not use indenting to show organization of
              thought or material unless you also include Outline
              Labels such as 1,2,3 and a b c, or full word
              labels.
Rationale:  Spacial indenting is not detected by persons using
            screen reading packages. This is a form of visual
            formatting.
TIP:   For example this memo properly uses both indents
       and labeling to indicate organization.



SUGGESTION 7:  Put two blank lines before titles to make them
               easier to find both visually and via search.
RATIONALE:   Paragraphs are normally separated by one blank
             line. Having two blank lines causes screen reading
             packages to say "blank" twice. Most packages new
             email packages also let you search for the triple
             carriage return.  The extra white space is also
             helpful for persons with low vision.



SUGGESTION 8:  Send these recommendations to new list
               subscribers. (And repeat as necessary)
RATIONALE:     These recommendations are not in common use and
               this will help the list to be a disability user
               friendly list.


Ad Hoc Email Communication Guidelines Duo
Gregg and George








George Kerscher, Project Manager
PM to the DAISY Consortium
Recording For the Blind & Dyslexic
Email: kerscher@montana.com
Phone: 406/549-4687
Received on Thursday, 27 November 1997 11:51:07 GMT

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