NZOSS OpenChat - Acceptable Use Policy


With the OpenChat list being 'open' in several respects - including being open to non-members of the NZOSS and being a fairly open forum for discussion of Free and Open Source related subjects - it seems appropriate provide a set of guidelines for contributors. These guidelines - the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) - are in line with standard netiquette (based on RFC1855) along with accepted best practises; we do however admitt the above RFC is a little dated and is therefore nothing more than a basis of intent. Please treat it as a guide to the intentions behind this AUP.

The NZOSS recognises that it represents a very diverse community. The overriding tone we promote is 'consideration and respect for others'. If in doubt, use this as your primary guideline.

Subject Guidelines

  • Acceptable discussion topics should generally be definable as follows:
    • Free (Libre) and Open Source Software
    • The Business, Activities and Actions of the NZOSS
    • Matters of Moral & Ethical concern as regards Free and Open Source Software and Systems
    • Legal, Legislative and Political matters as relating to Free and Open Source Software

  • Limited technical discussions having to do with Free and Open Source Software are appropriate. Detailed technical discussions will usually be referred to their more-specific discussion communities (such as Linux User Groups).
  • Discussion on matters having a more extended relationship to Free (usually in the 'Libre' sense) and Open Source Software, may also be appropriate, as long as the tangent is obvious and not excessive. This will be subject to the general mood of the list at the time.
  • Discussion of things completely unrelated to the above is inappropriate.
  • Requests to move off-topic conversations off-list should generally be honoured depending on circumstance.
  • Posts of a blatantly commercial nature are not permitted. NZOSS acknowledges and appreciates the contributions of numerous companies and individuals with a professional interest in the NZOSS and in the subjects discussed on OpenChat; we ask that sensitivity is used. NZOSS is not your marketing service. :-)
  • Posts advising of new FLOSS related products are acceptable, but should try to remain objective and unbiased. Links to vendors websites, etc, are appropriate.

Posting Guidelines

  • Posts to the list are only accepted from subscribed addresses.
    • If you need to post from a non-subscribed address, alternate addresses can be subscribed with no delivery as an option.
  • Crossposting to multiple lists is discouraged but not disallowed. Persons doing so should carefully consider the audience and whether the post having its multiple recipients visible for eternity is appropriate or not. Also consider the proportion of recipients likely to receive multiple copies as a result.
  • Post in Plain Text. Using HTML or Rich Text formatting explodes the size of a message and for people who still use low bandwidth links, this is disruptive and unnecessary.
  • When responding to messages, quote relevant portions of the text such that the conversation can be followed.
  • Do NOT overquote. Usually 2 levels of quoting above your own is sufficient.
  • Do NOT quote irrelevant material*.
  • Many users of Internet Mailing Lists oppose the concept of 'Top-Posting'. Contributors should bear this in mind, and should similarly resist the urge to engage in 'top-v-bottom flamewars'. Some contributors may not easily have the choice, depending on their mail client.
  • Once a thread has begun, additional responses should continue to adhere to the quote method (top or bottom post) of previous messages. Mixing quote types can rapidly make a thread very confusing to follow.
  • Add a double-carrier-return between quoted material and your new text. This helps differentiation. It also helps compensate for some mailers which may lose a carrier return during processing.
  • If you wish to start a new conversation (on a new subject), create a new message (as opposed to replying to an existing mail thread). By replying to an existing thread and simply changing the subject line (usually performed in order to save having to manually type the list address into the To: Box), your message will be automatically threaded by the mailing list software archive (and many mail clients) as a part of the previous conversation. If the material being posted is irrelevant to that conversation, this will not be appreciated by participants of said thread - who may be confused as to the relevance. It may also cause your message to be overlooked, filtered incorrectly, or to simply be ignored.

* Useful keystrokes include Ctrl-Shift-End (Highlight All and Jump to end of Document). Allows you to delete all remaining text in a window in about 1 second. This applies to most GUI interfaces including most web-based mail systems.

Content Guidelines

  • Postings that include Foul Language, Character or Company assassination, or show a lack of respect for other participants , are unacceptable.
  • Deliberate flaming and abuse is not tolerated.
  • Participants are advised not to post email addresses into the body of their messages, to reduce the risk of the address being harvested for spam purposes.
  • Use appropriate case, punctuation and paragraph formatting. Please try to maintain a reasonable level of spelling and grammar.

  • Posting File attatchments to the list is discouraged (and infact, depending on the situation, these may simply be stripped from your message, or the message may be dropped before hitting the list). If you need to refer to a document/image please provide a suitable URL. The use of propriatory file formats is discouraged; we are big fans of Open formats here at NZOSS :)
  • Reproducing copyright material without permission is unacceptable; please note the license and terms under which you may use any material that was not self-sourced.
  • Advertising of Free and Open Source-related events is generally OK. Events not directly related to FOSS but otherwise of interest to the community may be acceptable, however please contact the Mailing List Administrator or the NZOSS Council to clarify and gain permission first. Advertising of a commercial nature is not permitted.

Job Advertising/Situations Vacant

  • Job Advertisements specifically relating to the FLOSS industry are welcomed from people/organisations who are known to NZOSS and have an established relationship with the group. Those who are are not known to NZOSS or established as OpenChat members should exercise care in advertising of any sort.
  • Recruiting Agents or Agencies are specifically NOT welcome, however if you are aware of a position that focuses on FLOSS and would be of interest, please contact the List Administrator or the NZOSS Council who can advise further.
  • Advertisements should be well focused and not full of 'marketing-speak'. They should also only be posted once.
  • Ideally, a brief precis could be posted, perhaps with a suitable URL containing more complete information.
Posters who consistently violate these policies will be dealt with at the discretion of the List Administrator & the NZOSS Council.

Remember, all posts are archived. Think before you post. Some comments may come back to haunt you or may even bring harm to the Free Software/Open Source Movement, or the New Zealand Open Source Society itself.

If you are new to the mailing list or have any questions you may also like to review the mailing list etiquette FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document which can be found at

Complaints about any aspect of the NZOSS OpenChat list or its members should in the first instance be directed to the List Administrator (Mark Foster) via the email address linked at the Mailing List Members Info Page.

For more info about the NZOSS, please refer to the About NZOSS page.

Thanks -

Mark Foster - List Administrator
For the NZOSS Council.

Last Update 01 Feb 2010.