Notes about Netiquette
E-Mail interaction with the community
You might have been referred to this page with a form letter reply. If so the form letter has been sent to you because you sent e-mail in a way which violates one or more of the common rules of email communication in the context of the Linux kernel or some other Open Source project.
Help from the community is provided as a free of charge service on a best effort basis. Sending private mail to maintainers or developers is pretty much a guarantee for being ignored or redirected to this page via a form letter:
Private e-mail does not scale Maintainers and developers have limited time and cannot answer the same questions over and over.
Private e-mail is limiting the audience Mailing lists allow people other than the relevant maintainers or developers to answer your question. Mailing lists are archived so the answer to your question is available for public search and helps to avoid the same question being asked again and again. Private e-mail is also limiting the ability to include the right experts into a discussion as that would first need your consent to give a person who was not included in your Cc list access to the content of your mail and also to your e-mail address. When you post to a public mailing list then you already gave that consent by doing so. It's usually not required to subscribe to a mailing list. Most mailing lists are open. Those which are not are explicitly marked so. If you send e-mail to an open list the replies will have you in Cc as this is the general practice.
Private e-mail might be considered deliberate disregard of documentation The documentation of the Linux kernel and other Open Source projects gives clear advice how to contact the community. It's clearly spelled out that the relevant mailing lists should always be included. Adding the relevant maintainers or developers to CC is good practice and usually helps to get the attention of the right people especially on high volume mailing lists like LKML.
Corporate policies are not an excuse for private e-mail If your company does not allow you to post on public mailing lists with your work e-mail address, please go and talk to your manager.
When posting to public mailing lists the boilerplate confidentiality disclaimers are not only meaningless, they are absolutely wrong for obvious reasons.
If that disclaimer is automatically inserted by your corporate e-mail infrastructure, talk to your manager, IT department or consider to use a different e-mail address which is not affected by this. Quite some companies have dedicated e-mail infrastructure to avoid this problem.
Reply to all
Trimming Cc lists is usually considered a bad practice. Replying only to the sender of an e-mail immediately excludes all other people involved and defeats the purpose of mailing lists by turning a public discussion into a private conversation. See above.
HTML e-mail – even when it is a multipart mail with a corresponding plain/text section – is unconditionally rejected by mailing lists. The plain/text section of multipart HTML e-mail is generated by e-mail clients and often results in completely unreadable gunk.
Again, use plain/text e-mail and not some magic format. Also refrain from attaching patches as that makes it impossible to reply to the patch directly. The kernel documentation contains elaborate explanations how to send patches.
Text mail formatting
Text-based e-mail should not exceed 80 columns per line of text. Consult the documentation of your e-mail client to enable proper line breaks around column 78.
If you reply to an e-mail on a mailing list do not top-post. Top-posting is the preferred style in corporate communications, but that does not make an excuse for it:
A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text. Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting. Q: What is the most annoying thing in e-mail?
A: No. Q: Should I include quotations after my reply?
See also: http://daringfireball.net/2007/07/on_top
If you reply to an e-mail on a mailing list trim unneeded content of the e-mail you are replying to. It's an annoyance to have to scroll down through several pages of quoted text to find a single line of reply or to figure out that after that reply the rest of the e-mail is just useless ballast.
If you want to refer to code or a particular function then mentioning the file and function name is completely sufficient. Maintainers and developers surely do not need a link to a git-web interface or one of the source cross-reference sites. They are definitely able to find the code in question with their favorite editor.
If you really need to quote code to illustrate your point do not copy that from some random web interface as that turns again into unreadable gunk. Insert the code snippet from the source file and only insert the absolute minimum of lines to make your point. Again people are able to find the context on their own and while your hint might be correct in many cases the issue you are looking into is root caused at a completely different place.
Does not work for you?
In case you can't follow the rules above and the documentation of the Open Source project you want to communicate with, consider to seek professional help to solve your problem.
Open Source consultants and service providers charge for their services and therefore are willing to deal with HTML e-mail, disclaimers, top-posting and other nuisances of corporate style communications.