The Answer Gang's Posting Guidelines

by Ben Okopnik

The Answer Gang is a mailing list run by the Linux Gazette. When you send us a question, it is presented to all the members of the list, and may be answered by any of them - or not. We are a bunch of volunteers, each with their own interests and abilities; whether you get answered or not depends on how well you engage and match both of those. There are no guarantees of any sort - but people who pose interesting questions, especially those of broad scope (i.e., those that would be of interest to more than just one or two people), as well as folks who are pleasant, polite, and have a sense of humor are not likely to be ignored. Spammers and flamers will be either ignored, laughed at, and/or lampooned (a number of the Gangsters have a wicked sense of humor.)

The following material describes the things that you need to do when posting to TAG in order to maximize the chances of getting meaningful replies to your inquiry. This should also prevent you from getting laughed at for being lazy and trying to have others do work that you yourself should be doing. It draws heavily on Tad McClellan's "Posting Guidelines for comp.lang.perl.misc"

and the "Netiquette Guidelines" RFC


  • You Must

  • - Check the LG and TAG FAQs to see if they contain an answer to your question
    - Check the list of HOWTOs for anything relevant - these offer detailed coverage of many Linux tasks
  • You Really, Really Should

  • - Search previous issues of LG for relevant answers
  • If You Like

  • - Check Other Resources (books, Google!/Linux, etc.)

    As you would expect, The Answer Gang's discussions are usually technical in nature; hence, there is a strong need to observe conventions for conduct in these discussions. Following the guidelines set out below will save time and effort for everyone involved, and will make answering your question much more convenient - which would also make it more likely to be answered. There can be hundreds of messages in TAG in any given month, and we all must decide somehow which ones we are going to answer. Your post is in competition with all the other posts. You need to "win" before a person who can help you will even try. Here is how to win the "TAG lottery":


    If you have read and followed all of the above guidelines, go ahead and send your question to You've already done one of The Right Things by reading these guidelines; presumably, you've already done more than one Right Thing by following the above recommendations. If you still haven't found an answer, it should be an interesting question indeed - and we'll be glad to hear from you!