A Request for Protocol

Bert W. Hopkins bhopkins at mist.seattleantioch.edu
Wed Dec 23 02:14:31 PST 1998

Hello all,

I have been realizing of late that as the conversations have blossomed on this
list (which is wonderful), that the protocols for messaging have been vague
enough to produce some confusion about messages (at least for me).  I would
like to propose a few protocols to help, and request some direction on others
to help with some remaining challenges.

1.  As most messages come addressed in my mailbox from the OSLIST and not from
the sender, I am often perplexed as to who the sender is when it is not
included in the message.  I request that all message senders sign their

2. As this listserve does not automatically thread messages (i.e. let you know
the order of progression in a conversation) and as different people and mail
systems handle replies and quoting differently (i.e. some shade, some bracket,
some include the last message, some the last five, some not at all), I have
found myself getting confused as to who is replying to which message and which
is the current message.  I request that we standardize a reply protocol,
perhaps quoting only the last (or part of) message.  I am open as to shading,
bracketing, etc.

3. As threads tend to evolve and change subject without changing subject name
(along with the troubles of #2), I have found myself getting confused as to the
context of a reply.  I request that new subjects be clearly delineated with a
new subject name (i.e. on the Subject line of the message).  I further request
that we self-facilitate and practice weaving separate threads of conversations
and start "meta" subjects (I recognize and appreciate that this is exactly what
has begun to occur, I merely wish to make it explicit as a procedure).

4. As I find that sometimes I receive duplicate messages or messages addresed
from individuals and not the list with a carbon copy to me, I have had
difficulty using even basic sorting features on my system to help organize
conversations.  I am not sure if people are inadvertantly sending both to the
list and to individuals, or if this is an issue in the system.  I request some
advice on how to proceed.

5.  As we have not been very explicit about the way in which the rituals of
open space translate to an electronic medium (at least on this listserve, we
have certainly been chatting about it for awhile), I have found myself missing
some elements of the space, most notably comprehensive introductions to the
participants in this continued (ing?) open space (and I readily admit myself
guilty of failing to do so as yet).  Although I know many have done so, I
request further introductions, along with some advice of how this and other OS
rituals translate to this space (documentation, facilitation, butterflies, the
general humm and buzz?)(and in keeping with #3 perhaps this should be a new

Thank you all for your help,
Bert W. Hopkins

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