Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2012 02:31:58 +0400 From: Solar Designer <solar@...nwall.com> To: john-users@...ts.openwall.com Subject: Administrivia - quality of postings Luis, John, Anthony, all - I very much appreciate your use of this mailing list to help answer JtR usage questions, which is naturally one of the purposes of the list. Thank you! That said, here are a few things you can do to improve the quality and reduce the quantity of your postings: 1. One obvious thing you can do is properly quote messages that you reply to. Not only will this make your replies easier to read (as well as make them shorter if you only quote _relevant_ portions of messages that you reply to) - but it will also help avoid errors like this: http://www.openwall.com/lists/john-users/2012/12/29/21 I think Luis' reply "Yup that looks about right" was actually referring to a different posting - not the one Luis quoted (below the message). Here are some guidelines on quoting: http://www.complang.tuwien.ac.at/anton/mail-news-errors.html http://www.netmeister.org/news/learn2quote.html I understand that some MUAs and web mail interfaces may make inline quoting difficult these days, so the above is currently a suggestion and not an absolute requirement. 2. Before you hit Send, consider that your message will be sent to over 1000 list members (only a few of whom care about this particular topic) and will stay in the list archive. Messages like John's "Working on it... Will report..." on something that takes only a few minutes to test: http://www.openwall.com/lists/john-users/2012/12/29/13 and actually followed by a real reply 2 minutes later: http://www.openwall.com/lists/john-users/2012/12/29/14 are better avoided. We could have one message instead of two on this occasion. Keeping the other person aware of status would be helpful in a private conversation - but less so on the mailing list, considering that each message is also being sent to list members who don't participate in this specific discussion thread. So the threshold for when it makes sense to post a "working on it" message should be higher - tens of minutes maybe. I recognize that this is rarely known in advance, so a workable approach may be to start to test a recommendation first, and only if this turns out to be time-consuming (e.g., 15 minutes trying and no results worth posting yet) then post a message about that (preferably include some info on why the recommendation happened to be time-consuming to test - then someone might suggest how to do it quicker). To summarize, while e-mail usually arrives quickly and it may be tempting to use the mailing list as if it were IRC, IM, or private e-mail, it is different from those things. One-line postings are rarely a good idea. If you're about to post a one-liner, think whether you'd have more info to post shortly, and try to increase the value of your individual postings and reduce their quantity. This applies to what I call "thank-you only" postings, too. If you feel you'd like to thank someone who helped you (great!), consider including some helpful content (for other list members) in the same posting. John did this really well here (thank you, John!) - http://www.openwall.com/lists/john-users/2012/12/29/16 John's "Review of what worked" list from this posting may be helpful to others reading the thread (including in archives of the list) and it enabled me to give additional advice in a follow-up posting. A mere "Many, many thanks." one-liner would not achieve these things - yet too often we see postings that don't contain anything but "thanks". (As a moderator, I selectively reject these - but it does not feel good either way. If I accept a thanks-only posting, most list members are essentially spammed by it. If I reject it, the thanks does not reach the intended recipient and additionally the list members do not know if the proposed solution has worked or not. Simply including more detail in the posting addresses these concerns.) 3. We need to improve both the FAQ and John the Ripper itself as some questions keep re-occurring, but regardless another thing john-users list members may do before posting is searching the archives. For example: http://search.gmane.org/?query=%22partially+known%22&group=gmane.comp.security.openwall.john.user http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aopenwall.com+%22partially+known%22 (and you can customize the search query from there). There's also: http://openwall.info/wiki/john/mailing-list-excerpts This is not to discourage posting about issues that were discussed before (in fact, we need such repeated postings in order to be informed of what's in demand), but rather to have new discussion threads based on previous knowledge rather than started from scratch each time. For example, a perfect initial posting about customizing JtR for a specific password pattern may include references to past postings on the subject and be asking specific questions on how to customize JtR for the desired pattern best, based on the options that had been discussed before. 4. I mentioned this many times before, and indeed this issue will keep re-occurring, but just to make it slightly less frequent: when you're about to post something on a new topic, please not only set the message Subject accordingly, but also send your message to the list anew. Do not hit Reply on an unrelated posting just to save you the typing of the list address. Instead, copy-paste (or whatever) the list posting address and send your new thread-starting message to there, without it being any "reply". Here's what happens when you hit Reply (even when you have changed the Subject): http://www.openwall.com/lists/john-users/2012/12/29/25 http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.comp.security.openwall.john.user/6030/focus=6037 Notice how Anthony's message and replies to it are part of another thread (with the openwall.com archive, click thread-prev to see it). Not a big deal this time - the other thread has calmed down, neither thread is very long, and the threads are somewhat related - but it gets worse in some other cases (lengthy and unrelated threads may get inter-mixed in the archives, all because of one improper use of "reply" instead of starting a thread). None of the above is meant as criticism. Once again, I appreciate your use of this list. I am merely making suggestions on how to use it better. No replies to this message are expected (especially not one-liners!), unless you have something to add or want to express disagreement with some of my suggestions. Sorry that this message is a bit long. Thanks for reading, and have happy holidays! Alexander
Powered by blists - more mailing lists
Confused about mailing lists and their use? Read about mailing lists on Wikipedia and check out these guidelines on proper formatting of your messages.