(This page is also available in Adobe Reader format:
RE-Wrenches is for experienced installing dealers of home scale
renewable energy equipment (PV, wind, micro-hydro). To be used for community
building, problem solving, and ongoing discussions of installation techniques,
National Electric Code issues, and business issues specific to our industry.
Subscription: Requires list owner's approval
Readable by anyone
Created: Oct 13, 1999
Moved from Topica
to RE-wrenches.org: Jul. 19, 2008
To join: Join online at
unsubscribe: Send email to email@example.com with the word unsubscribe as the subject.
or do it online at
post: Send email to RE-wrenches@lists.RE-wrenches.org
change to digest mode, temporarily suspend receiving RE-Wrenches email, or
take care of other user tasks: You must log on to the RE-wrench list web site
using the information that was in your list "Welcome" message.
You must register and submit a Wrenches Profile at
members.re-wrenches.org/ (click "Register" at the top of the page). This list is a "community," and the biography profile will help others on the list contact you, find your web page, and have a better understanding of who you are and what you do.
No product marketing
allowed. There are some manufacturer and distributor representatives on
this list because they can often answer posed questions and they need to hear
product feedback from us. But, all participants must limit discussions to
topics posed by Wrenches. We do NOT want marketers including product
announcements on this list.
When you join a list, monitor the messages
for a few days to get a feel for what common questions are asked, and what
topics are deemed off-limits. This is commonly referred to as lurking. When you
feel comfortable with the group, then start posting.
It is important to
many of our list members that they not be overburdened with email. Therefore,
please keep idle chit-chat, off-topic messages, funny stuff, politics,
religion, and other non-wrench stuff off this list.
questions and comments relevant to the focus of renewable energy wrenching. If
another person posts a comment or question that is off our topic, do NOT reply
to the list which can have the result of keeping the off-topic conversation
going publicly. If you feel the need to reply to off-topic stuff, do it
directly and only to that person, not to the list.
When someone posts
an off-topic note, and someone else criticizes that posting, you should NOT
submit a gratuitous note saying "well, I liked it and lots of people probably
did as well and you guys ought to lighten up and not tell us to stick to the
subject." Again, that merely perpetuates the off-topic postings.
have questions about what is or is not appropriate for the list, please check
with the moderator before posting.
Be careful when forwarding
RE-Wrench messages outside the Wrenches list, because the email may have
someone's private email address in it.
Please do not post leads on
the Wrenches List
1. If you get a lead you cannot handle, then either
send it directly to someone you think will be interested (but not the list) or,
2. Send them a piece of email giving them reference to find someone else,
like the www.i2p.org web site and www.homepower.com/inbiz.htm
3. It is OK
to post leads on the other list, RE-Markets, if you are a member.
Here's some suggested wording for responses to email inquiries (leads),
the person first receiving the contact could send the potential client a piece
of email that says:
"Thanks for your interest in XXX Solar. Unfortunately, we do not do
work in your geographical location. Here are some resources for you to find a
reputable installing dealer near you. www.i2p.org is a professional
organization of people that specialize in RE sales and installation. If you do
not find something suitable there, try www.homepower.com/inbiz.htm which is a
larger, more loosely gathered database of companies.
If neither of
those resources have what you are looking for, please email me again at the
above address, and I will help you find someone to work with on your
But whatever you do with leads, do not do it on the RE-Wrenches
Please do not post items for sale or items wanted or items for
exchange on the Wrenches List. It has been decided that the other list,
RE-Markets, is the appropriate place for that kind of posting.
Please do not ask questions of manufacturers
that would be better as off-list contact to manufacturer support.
While the wrench list can be used to ask manufacturers questions, please make
sure that it is relevant to everyone on the list first, and that the info
cannot be had in manuals or through normal manufacturer customer support
When quoting a message from another person, edit out
whatever isn't directly applicable to your reply. Don't let your mail
software automatically quote the entire body of messages you are replying to
when it's not necessary. Take the time to edit any quotations down to the
minimum necessary to provide context for your reply. Nobody likes reading a
long message in quotes for the third or fourth time, only to be followed by a
one line response: "Yeah, me too."
Avoid forwarding or redirecting a
long mail message to the list or enclosing a large file. It's preferable to
reference the source of a document and provide instructions on how to obtain a
copy. One good way is to place the document on your own web site and provide a
link to it within the email message.
Resist the temptation to
"flame" others on the list. Remember that these discussions are "public"
and meant for constructive exchanges. Treat the others on the list as you would
want them to treat you. (A.K.A. The Silicon Rule.) If you absolutely need to
chastise someone, please do it off list. Or contact the moderator with your
complaint, and let him decide how to handle it.
When replying to a
message posted to the list, double-check the outgoing address to be certain
it's going to the intended location (person or entire list). It can be very
embarrassing to incorrectly post a personal message to the entire discussion
group that was intended for an individual.
Save your subscription
confirmation letter for reference. That way if you go on vacation you will
have the subscription address for suspending mail.
subscribers to the list who are not familiar with proper netiquette will submit
requests to SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE directly to the list itself. Be tolerant
of this activity, and possibly provide some useful advice (off list) as opposed
to being critical. No doubt, it was an innocent mistake.
on the list are not interested in your desire to be added or deleted. Any
requests regarding administrative tasks such as being added or removed from a
list should be made to the moderator, not the list itself.
Mailing List Etiquette FAQ
© 1996-2004, Brian Edmonds
Revision: 1.14 (Customized for
RE-Wrenches list by Michael)
There have been a number of documents
written about netiquette, most of them quite good, and this FAQ will probably
seem to some to be little more than a retelling of an old story. Those that I
know of are listed below, and I gratefully acknowledge both their instruction
and their inspiration in writing this FAQ. Primarily this is aimed towards
subscribers to the mailing lists which I run personally, but I would like to
think that it should apply equally to most any other list. If you run a mailing
list, and would like to send new members copies, or include links to this in
your list web page, please do.
How do I post to the list?
When you subscribed, you probably received an information file about the
list. Included in this information is usually the mail address to which posts
should be mailed. [Michael says see above for instructions.]
Is there anything I should not post to the list?
replying to messages you receive from the list, you should acquaint yourself
with the reply options of your mail reader. Most mail programs will have at
least two reply modes: private and group. A private reply will go only to the
person who sent the original message. A group reply by default will go the
entire group that received the original message. You should be able to edit
this list of addresses to reduce it to just the list address, plus any other
people you think should receive private copies.
Please make sure that
your postings have a meaningful subject line, as many people use this to help
determine which posts to read and which to ignore when they're operating under
time constraints. If you're replying to a message and the topic of your reply
is drifting from the original subject, then before sending, edit it to reflect
the new subject matter. A common convention is to change a subject of "Wilma's
hair" to "Betty's hair (was Wilma's hair)" when you do this to provide
continuity between the threads. Try to snip off any obsolete "was" bits though,
or subject lines can get unmanageably long.
Finally, do not use
deceptive subject lines that you think may help attract attention. It may work
once or twice, but like the boy who cried wolf, if you keep wasting people's
time in this way, they'll soon start ignoring your posts entirely. Honesty,
clarity, and conciseness is the best policy when composing your subject line.
The basic rule is that as long as your post has some content related to
the primary subject of the list, and does not contain off-topic material, then
it is fine for the list.
Are there any important formatting considerations?
Also, you should not post inflammatory (aka
flame) mail to the list. It is perfectly fine to disagree with people publicly,
but be careful how you do it. For example, if you think someone is lying on a
subject, it may be fine to say "Betty's claims about Wilma's hair stylist are
not correct," but it is over the line to say "Betty is a liar."
flip side, if someone posts something with which you are in particular
agreement, that's great. You should not, however, follow up to the list with a
post containing no more than "Me too!"' or "Right on, brother!" If you have
something of substance to add to the discussion, then by all means do so, but
if you simply wish to express a simple agreement, then do it in private mail.
You should not post subscribe or unsubscribe requests to the list. They
won't do any good there, and will do little more than annoy other subscribers
(unless they're filtered out by the list server, in which case they will only
annoy the list owner: not exactly a winning move either). When you subscribe to
the list, you should receive a file explaining among other things, how to
unsubscribe: keep this! If worst come to worst, and you really cannot figure
out how to leave the list, contact the list owner and ask (politely) for help.
[All Wrench list messages include subscription links in their headers.]
You should also not repost private email to the list unless you have
obtained prior consent from the author. Such reposting is at best considered
extremely rude, and in some legal jurisdictions may be a violation of
copyright, or other rights of the original author. See also the related section
on binaries and other large files.
Visual formatting is very important in a textual medium like email. If
your postings are poorly formatted, they will be hard to read, and people will
tire of them quickly. As a result, fewer people will read what you write, and
many will begin to skip your posts entirely.
Is properly grammer and speeling imprtnt, d00dz?
Most importantly, learn to
use the enter (or return) key on your keyboard. The email display width of many
list users is limited to 80 columns, and text which wraps beyond that length is
quite a bit more difficult to read. Since your text may be indented when quoted
by others you should keep your lines to a maximum length somewhere below that
point-around 70 characters is a good target. There are of course exceptions,
such as long URLs, but the rule is to keep it well under 80.
if you use a program which wraps your posts when you send them. If you wrap at
a wider column than it does, you may end up with alternating long and short
lines where it wraps one or two words from each long line, but fails to join
them to the next. If you know that your software operates this way, you may be
best off to simply write each paragraph as one long line, and let it do all the
wrapping. Be very sure that this is the case though, as postings that come
through with really long, single-line paragraphs are also annoying to read.
Wrapping at a considerably narrower margin, such as 40 characters is
also more difficult to read, as one must page down more often. However, don't
be afraid to use blank lines to separate your paragraphs, and do break your
text into paragraphs. In fact, keeping paragraphs fairly short is also easier
to read; around ten lines is a good limit.
Be careful when using tabs
for indenting, as they will display differently on other platforms. Also, avoid
control characters and other fancy visual effects which are likely
Like formatting, grammar and spelling are also very important in a
textual medium. One author, whose name I have forgotten, has compared posting
material containing glaring grammar and spelling mistakes with being dirty and
unkempt in personal contacts. In any case, your postings reflect on you, so you
should take pains to post what you can be proud of.
How long can I make my email signature?
Also keep in mind,
that with the proliferation of Internet Search indexing, it is becoming easier
all the time to quickly compile a personality profile of a network user based
on what he or she posts. Be aware that your friends, family, romantic
interests, and employers (current and future) will all have access to this
information. Again, others will judge you based on both what you say, and how
you say it, so give each posting careful thought.
On the flip side, it
is generally not worthwhile to publicly correct the spelling or grammar in
something written by someone else. For many Internet users, English is not
their first language, and even if it is, they may have disabilities which
prevent them from using it as easily as others. Some people will appreciate
correction, and take it as a learning experience, but it should always be done
via private mail (never publicly), and you should tread carefully.
Finally, do use punctuation, and put spaces in the right places around
it. Also, use capitalization properly (NO SHOUTING, please), and avoid using
short forms such as dropping vowels, or substituting 4/for, u/you, r/are and so
on. Such practices might make things easier for you, but it makes deciphering
your writing that much harder for everyone else who you're expecting to read
it. You can make an exception for smilies and common acronyms, such as OTOH,
YMMV, BTW, and such, but don't overdo it, and be careful not to confuse your
In short, to borrow from the informal guideline given in many
Internet protocols: be conservative in what you produce and liberal in what you
Ideally it should be as short as possible while still getting across
whatever you feel is important that it contain. The very best signature of all
is probably just a single line with your name and email address. Remember that
while an ASCII graphic or witty saying may be cool the first time, it's going
to be boring by the time someone sees it five times, and if it's large enough
to attract the eye, will get annoying very quickly.
Should I "cross-post" to multiple lists?
Larger sigs are
forgivable, and four lines or more is typically the norm, but mailing lists
feed into a person's private mailbox. Thus, each subscriber is paying for every
byte you send them, so if too much of that is a signature which contains no
useful information, but is just repeated over and over, many people will
quickly start to feel less favorably inclined towards your contributions to the
Almost always, the answer to this is no. Most mailing lists are
topically disjoint, and there is very little that is equally appropriate for
posting to a number of them. It can also be annoying, as often subscribers are
on multiple lists so will get a copy of your message for each list they're on
that you post to.
Can I post large files to the list?
That said, there may be some occasional instances
where it would be appropriate to post to more than one lists at once. If you
think this is the case, then you should probably contact the owner of each list
and make sure that they agree before proceeding.
Almost always, the answer to this is no. Mail sent to mailing lists is
going into subscribers' private mailboxes, some of which are not set up to
handle really large pieces of mail. Typically, you should put large files up on
an ftp or web site, and then post an announcement to the list with instructions
on how to access the files. If you do not have access to ftp or web facilities,
contact the owner of the list, and she or he may be able to help you out.
When replying, should I quote the previous message?
There may be a few cases where posting such material would be
appropriate, but you should definitely contact the list owner first and make
sure you have his or her approval before doing so.
Most certainly. You should always provide some context to your replies
so that people who may not have been following the thread closely, or who have
other things on their minds, will easily be able to determine what you're
Should I mail a copy to the person I'm replying to?
However, when quoting, be very careful to edit the
quoted sections down to the bare minimum of text needed to maintain the context
for your reply. There is very little on a mailing list that is more annoying
than paging through a few pages of quoted text only to read a few lines at the
end. Also be careful that you clearly indicate what text you're quoting (as
opposed to what you're writing), and if possible, cite the author of the
It is almost always a bad thing to include the entire
text of a message being replied to, be it at the start or end of your reply.
That depends, in general, but for the Wrench list, the answer is no.
Private copies of postings to mailing lists will often result in multiple
copies arriving in the recipient's mailbox, rather than just one. Unless you
have good reason to believe that the person needs your answer before the list
server can resend it, then they'll probably thank you if you stick with just
sending it to the list.
I've been insulted! How should I respond?
Ah, congratulations. You've never been properly welcomed to the net
until you've been flamed. Your response can take a number of forms. The first
and most important thing you should do is to take a break and cool off. Replies
written in the heat of anger are seldom any better than the postings which
inspire them. Revenge is a dish best served cold, as they say. [Michael has an
entire folder of held-back messages collected over the years. Writing a message
that you know you will never send can be good for the soul.]
My posting hasn't shown up on the list! What do I do?
you've cooled off, go back and consider the offending material again. If it's
nothing but baseless lies and fabrications that no rational person would
believe, then the best response is to completely ignore it. If it contains
material that you would consider to be of a slanderous or threatening nature,
then you may wish to forward a copy to the user's postmaster and request that
they have a word with the individual about the proper use of the net.
If, on the other hand, the posting contains inaccuracies which you feel
need to be addressed, then it is perfectly reasonable to send a follow-up
message which does so. However, the ideal approach is to ignore any hysteria,
and stick with the facts. Be reasonable and rational, point out your attacker's
errors, and their attack will usually collapse around them. In particular,
avoid any personal attacks on an individual's intelligence, age, character,
etc. At the very least, if you cultivate a reputation of being level-headed,
then most people will gladly give you the benefit of the doubt over a knee-jerk
The final option [but not for the Wrench list] is to flame them
in return, but be very careful when deciding on this course of action. Well
crafted flames are a thing of beauty, but are extremely difficult to write. The
ultimate goal of a flame should be that the recipient know deep in his or her
heart that they have been terribly insulted, but should not consciously be able
to figure out why they feel this way.
[Wrenches, I left the above in
here because it may apply to other lists you are on. But we are a tight knit
community of professionals. Please do not flame anyone on the RE-Wrenches list.
If you have something like that to say, send a private email to the person.]
Probably, just be patient. Sometimes the list server will be off-line,
or be too busy with other things to deal with your mail right away. Also, some
lists are restricted to posts by subscribers only, and if the address you post
from does not match the one you're subscribed under, your posting will never
show up. If the entire list or just you are on moderation, and the list owner
is away or busy, then it may be some time before your message gets approved.
I'm not getting any mail from the list! What's wrong!
If 36 hours go by with no sign of your post, then the next step should be
to privately write the list owner and inquire if there's a problem. Include as
much information as you can regarding what your original posting was about. If
still nothing has happened after a week, and if your message is still relevant,
then it's probably entirely reasonable to post it again. Mail is generally
reliable, but things still get lost occasionally.
Well, most likely this simply means that no one is posting anything. If
you've got something to say, then post it and see if others chime in again. Do
not, however, send a "test message" to the list, as it's unlikely that all the
subscribers want to receive such junk. It's perfectly reasonable for a list to
be dormant for periods between bursts of traffic, as not all topics can be
interesting all the time.
I've got a problem not answered here! What do I do?
On the other hand, it is also possible that
you are no longer subscribed to the list, whether due to your mailbox bouncing
for too long, or due to some other system error. The easiest way to determine
if this is the case is simply to resubscribe to the list. If you're already on
the list, then the list server should return a message stating as much; if not,
then you're back on the list and the problem is solved.
Your best resource is the list manager, firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This page is also available in Adobe Reader format: