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Etiquette on www-validator

From: Etan Wexler <ewexler@stickdog.com>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 02:28:04 -0500
Message-ID: <41F35204.9020702@stickdog.com>
To: People requesting help <www-validator@w3.org>
CC: Ron Falconberry <ronfalcon@comcast.net>

Ron Falconberry wrote to <mailto:www-validator@w3.org> on 22 January 
2005 in "HTML Validator" 
(<mid:000001c50102$272362c0$c2503444@homeprimary>). Let's review a 
mostly exemplary message:

> I could not find an answer in the Help or FAQ section of the W3C so I 
> hope that it is appropriate for me to send my question here.

It is always good to indicate that the seeker of help has taken due 
diligence prior to asking others. The overall tone is set as polite, 
which is respectful of the busy list members who volunteer or work at 
solving problems for strangers.

> I am in the process of validating my web site pages under HTML 4.01 
> transitional.

Good, we have some information.

> When I clicked on [the validation icon]
> it would bring up the W3C validation page with the heading 
> “This Page is Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional!” 

And more information appears. It's not too hard to do.

> However, over the last couple of days, ...

Qualifying problems by giving a timeline can only help.

> Why is it telling me 
> that the code is XHTML?

A specific question saves others the trouble of guessing what is desired.

> You can review one these pages at http://www.falconberry.com 
> <http://www.falconberry.com/>

Providing the URL is simple, crucial, and yet often ignored.

Let's turn to the few errors in the message.

A good subject indicator would not only distinguish its message from 
other messages on the list, but command the interest of subscribers. It 
should be as specific as possible while keeping short of ridiculous 
lengths. The phrase "HTML Validator" was a poor choice on a list devoted 
to the topic of an HTML validator.

Plain text is the preference for message content. If warranted, 
semantically rich HTML is appropriate and acceptable. Unwelcome is a 
multipart message including a redundant, presentational document in a 
proprietary flavor of HTML. The culprit proudly announces itself, however:

     X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook, Build 10.0.2627

The solution is in the settings (under the menu "Tools":"Options..." or 
something similar).

Over all, Ron's message showed great etiquette. Besides pleasing other 
people, this has the benefit of increasing the message author's chances 
of receiving help. Anybody would do well to take heed of Ron's example.

-- 
P.S. Kudos for the lack of SHOUTING and xenophobia.

Etan Wexler.
Received on Sunday, 23 January 2005 07:27:45 GMT

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