Technical Notes for Posting to Marxmail

by Les Schaffer


1.) ALL POSTS MUST BE IN PLAIN TEXT. 

Posts formatted in html BOUNCE to me. The first few times I forward to the list after converting, after that I simply tell you to repost yourself. 

Marxmail requires plain text for 2 reasons:

Mailman, our list management software, will strip out HTML as long as you specify HTML + plain-text. HTML only will be rejected, however.

For instructions on plain text formatting can be found here for various email programs (Outlook, Eudora, etc.).

I have written several posts -- stored in the Marxism list archives-- detailing how to turn off html formatting in various email applications. write me offlist if you need help with this step.

Also, especially for those of you posting from Asian countries, it is VERY HELPFUL if you choose a standard character set like us-ascii or iso-5591-1 for your posts. otherwise many of your punctuation marks will look jumbled in the majority of the subscribers email readers. Email me if you have problems with this.


2) MIME (Les, you fill in the details)


3.) NO ATTACHMENTS. 

Be forewarned that Mailman strips all attachments in order to make sure that no viruses or worms get sent to subscribers. If you have a graphics file, Word document, etc that you would like subscribers to see, send it to me and I will make it available on the Marxmail website.


4.) POSTS MUST BE LESS THAN 35,000 CHARACTERS.

This amounts to about 5000 words or just under 10 pages. If you do exceed this limit, we will forward the post to the list if it is not cross-posted material and the content is deemed important for the majority of the list. The rule was set up mainly to avoid reckless crossposting of material that is already available on the Internet. 


5) AVOID POSTING LENGTHY MATERIAL THAT IS ALREADY ON THE INTERNET.

Rule 4 is closely related to rule 3. As a rule of thumb, it is best to include 3 or 4 paragraphs of an article and your own words at the beginning indicating why Marxmail subscribers would find the article useful. Then, add the URL of the article so that others can track it down. If the URL is fairly long, it is a good idea to enclose it in "<" and ">". This insures that it will be 'clickable." Another solution for long URL's is to feed them into sites like http://makeashorterlink.com or http://tinyurl.com.


6) CLIP EXTRANEOUS TEXT IN A MESSAGE THAT YOU ARE REPLYING TO.

Please include only the text that is relevant to your reply. Also, avoid the temptation to post a one sentence comment on a message that is repeated in its entirety to the effect of "This is a terrific post" or "I agree with this one hundred percent." (Les, add your explanation about how to clip here.)


7) AVOID "STAIRCASING".

This is a result of copying and pasting email with embedded line-breaks into your email program and sending it without alteration to the list. If your email program utilizes, for example, a 66 character line limit and the line-breaks occur prior to the 66th character, you might end up with something that looks like this or this: (Les, could you provide examples for 'this'; I imagine that Fred Feldman has a slew of them!)

It will not be read by subscribers no matter how important it is.

To clean up copied email, which often is the cause of staircasing, we recommend the use of a utility program available free at:

http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htm


8) DEFINE A LINE WRAP OF 66 CHARACTERS.

Closely related to the "staircasing" problem is email text that extends beyond the right-hand margin. Instead of seeing the "staircase" effect in (5) above, you would see something that looks like this:

http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/marxism/2005w11/msg00108.htm

Different email programs have different ways of defining line wrap. Here's how to do it in Microsoft Outlook:

1. Select tools/options/mail format

2. In mail format, select "Internet Options". That will open up a pop-up window that has a section called "Plain Text Options". Under that section, you will see the following: "Automatically wrap text at __ characters." Enter 66 there and you'll be all set. In other email programs, the process will be similar. Contact Les Schaffer if you need assistance.


9) SKIP LINES BETWEEN PARAGRAPHS.

On an IBM-compatible keyboard, this means depressing the 'enter' key twice. On a Macintosh, use the 'return' key. This makes longer posts much more readable.


10) DO NOT ALLOW YOUR MAILBOX TO FILL UP. 

Marxmail is a high-volume mailing list. If you allow your mailbox to fill up while on vacation or some other extended leave from your computer, messages bounce back to the moderator. Please set your subscription to "nomail" when on vacation and resetting it upon your return. (Les, let's incorporate your instructions on how to use the Web Options page right here. I'd like to have everything in one place.)


11) PROTECTING YOUR NAME AND REPUTATION.

Your Marxism list postings are copied automatically to multiple archives on the worldwide web. They will be removed only under exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the list moderator and technical coordinator. If you are worried that something that you say in the heat of the moment, or that something might be said against you, will jeopardize your job or reputation, please sub to the list using an assumed name. (Les, I think I will include the business of leaving names out of the subject heading on the posting guidelines/political page since they relate to the question of preventing flame wars.)


12) DOWNLOADING THUNDERBIRD OR EUDORA.

These are alternatives to Micro$oft Outlook and well worth considering. (Fill in links here. Also, with respect to your item 11 on Netiquette, etc. If you can collect some of this for me, I'd like to include it on the posting guidelines/political page.)