Posting guidelines

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Posting guidelines on the Mac Ministry List

Quoting of previous emails

When replying, edit the quoted material to "just enough" to give other readers a context for your response. Never quote the boiler plate text that appears at the bottom of every email on the list, and never quote sig lines unless that is the focus of the response. If you are not sure how to edit quoted material, feel free to ask on list.

Top and bottom posting

There is no rule on this list requiring folks to bottom-post or interleave postings. However:

  • if somebody else has already started doing so in a particular thread, it is usually best to follow suit;
  • if you prefer to top-post, don't let that stop you remembering to edit quoted material (see above).

Subject lines

When posting to the list, please provide an appropriate subject. Folks who receive the digest and reply to it should always change the subject line. Off topic items should have OT: added to the beginning of the Subject line. If the thread of discussion changes and the content no longer reflects the current subject line, change the subject line.

If it's you that changes the subject, don't simply change the subject line, but create a new email to If you need or want to reference the old subject, you can do so in the first paragraph, or cut and paste text from an email of the old thread.

The reason for the extra work is that Apple Mail and some email programs thread messages together based on a message ID in the header info, not on the subject line per se. Using "Reply" makes it appear to those programs that it is in the same thread, no matter the subject line. Using a new message for a new topic bypasses that problem.

So for a new topic, changing the subject line is good, but creating a brand new message (instead of using reply) is best. To make this easy for you, the message footer now has a link to start a new message.

Images and other URLs

If you want to share an image, it is best to upload it somewhere and send the URL. Many members will belong to a service that can be used for sharing images, e.g. iCloud, DropBox, Flickr or PhotoBucket to name a few.

These services (Dropbox in particular) may have specific ways to send a link to the image, and some (like Photobucket) are particularly well-suited for uploading images for linking. However, as a general instruction, after you have uploaded the image, look it it yourself on the relevant website – preferably in a browser session where you are not logged in to your own account, so that you see it as other people would see it. Select the whole web address line (this is called different things in different browsers, e.g. "location"). Copy it with ⌘C. Paste it into an email. If you have got it right, it will start with http://

If, however, you find it necessary to include an image, please try to keep the file size below 40 kilobytes, as all messages larger than 40KB (including the text, headers and images), are held for moderation. Depending on message size, you may find your message rejected, with a request to reduce the image size. Therefore, to assure timely delivery, keep the image size well below 40 kilobytes.

Feel free to also post other URLs that you think would be of interest to the group, e.g. Mac-related articles. Please add a comment so folks can decide if they really want to double click on them.

If the link is long, enclose it in < > characters without spaces. This should prevent the link from being broken even if it is split over multiple lines in the email. Alternatively, you can go to (or some other url-shortening service) and create a short url for your link.

On and off topic discussions

What is on topic is fairly broad. Anything relating to Mac/Apple/third Party hardware and software is on topic. Any usage techniques or troubleshooting issue or best practices are on topic. Anything related to industry news or Apple corporate or Mac advocacy is on topic. Sharing news on special deals and promotions on hardware or software and requests for help on a purchase decision on same are on topic. Any discussion of the content of the list or the operation of CATUG is on topic.

The off topic list is pretty straightforward as well. If the post focuses on current events, politics, Christian living, apologetics, theology, church life or style, or Bible interpretation then it is off topic and OT: should be added to the subject line so folks can filter or ignore as they please. Such discussions are not forbidden, we just ask for the OT: label in the subject line and we also ask for care in the length, frequency and tone of such discussions. The occasional disagreement is helpful as iron sharpens iron, as long as we continue to accept one another in the right spirit.

The only exceptions are announcements about significant life events and prayer requests. While technically off topic, prayer requests and updates are given a special dispensation.

As long as they are brief, funny and the threads don't go on too long, the list has traditionally tolerated other responses that are technically off topic as long as they invoke Monty Python, the Princess Bride or use puns.

Items for sale

There are better venues for selling hardware or software than this list. Items for sale may be offered if they are specifically relevant to ministry, or are being offered at a reduced cost or donated to the users of this list. If anyone is not sure, please ask Brian Braunschweiger or another of the Ops/board members in advance of posting.

Prayer requests, and responses

Requests for prayer are welcome on the Mac Ministry List. Although there are no limits on this, it is wise to be cautious about personal information, bearing in mind that the list goes to a few hundred people, many of whom you don't know at all. (For a more confidential alternative, consider the Prov1522 List.)

As many subscribers to the main list both read it regularly and have a habit of prayer, writers can safely assume that their requests are being prayed for around the clock and around the world! As a reader, if you would like to encourage the writer by just letting them know that you are praying, please write to them off-list. On the other hand, if you have additional information about the subject matter, or counsel that could be valued by others, please do send it on-list. If the thread develops into a broader discussion, the subject line should be marked OT:

See also


  • Contributed mainly by Brian Braunschweiger, List-Thug, as "ADMIN" postings on Mac Ministry List since 2006