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[css-d] ADMIN: List policies (updated) and question/answer

Sent by Eric A. Meyer on 26 January 2002 11:11


    I've been revising and expanding the list policy and general 
information document, and have the current version available here:


Please go read it when you have a moment, as it has undergone quite a 
few changes since the post I made to the list yesterday.  It's still 
under review, so suggestions and comments are welcomed (but make them 
offlist, please; we don't need a raging process debate in addition to 
everything else).
    I'd like to make one or two things clear that aren't in the 
above-referenced 'info' page yet, but will be before it's done.
    The "level of discussion" has apparently been a concern to a few 
people, and I'm a little worried that there haven't been too many 
basic questions about CSS.  This list is meant to discuss CSS at any 
level of complexity, and that includes the basic stuff.  Confused 
about selectors, or some common terminology that escapes your 
understanding, or how text justification works?  Ask away.
    My philosophy is that there are two kinds of questions: good 
questions and unasked questions.  I much prefer the former.  It 
doesn't matter how "dumb" you think the question might be, because I 
guarantee you that at least five other subscribers are wondering the 
same thing, and will learn from the answer.  "How do I position a 
background image?" is as valid a question as "Why does this 15KB 
stylesheet almost but not quite work in Opera when I use an HTML4.01 
Frameset DOCTYPE?"
    There is a flip side to this, which is the answering of said 
questions.  What I ask is this: if you're answering a practical 
question, first make the answer practical and directly address the 
question.  Tell the inquirer how to do what they ask.  Do not berate 
or belittle  them for asking it.  Follow up your answer with "...but 
here's something else to consider" if you feel it important to do so, 
but only after you've answered their question.  (The classic case 
here being "How do I set the font size of my page?")
    Above all, if you can't answer with a modicum of respect, or 
without feeling somehow annoyed by the question, then DO NOT ANSWER 
AT ALL.  I'm dead serious about this.  You may have seen and 
responded to a question six thousand times, but the person asking has 
only heard it once: when they asked it.  They're asking it in order 
to fill a gap in their own knowledge.  Make your answer an 
encouragement for more questions, not an incentive to unsubscribe.
    With all that said, I'm completely stunned and overjoyed by the 
first 36 hours of the list.  As I said to someone this morning, I 
feel like I opened a door and was immediately flattened by the rush, 
but it's great to see people so animated about CSS!  I thank you in 
advance for helping to keep that momentum going.

Eric A. Meyer [EMAIL-REMOVED])
Author, "Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide" and
"CSS 2.0 Programmer's Reference"
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