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2004 Sep 03 23:25

The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox] Let's Kill the 76 Char Line Limit!
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Re: [vox] Let's Kill the 76 Char Line Limit!



On Fri, 3 Sep 2004, Edward Elliott wrote:

As the old movie, I cantí take it anymore!! Of the dozens of groups and boards I belong to, LUGOD is the only one that restricts the member to non-wrapping text lines of 76 chars. Of the many technical, professional, healthcare, political, education, etc., this is the only one still forcing these strange restrictions on the members.

While my mail reader does handle the wrapping of lines, I still read vox in an 80x48 terminal. The biggest issue is readers that do not handle the wrapping. I know when I use tin to read newsgroups on CSIF, it does not properly handle line wrapping. When such a post is encountered, the end of the long unwrapped paragraph just scrolls off the bottom of the tin screen. I'm not inclined to open Google Groups or set up another newsreader just to read such a post, so I tend to skip over them. The same thing is likely here. If you do not format your emails to the community standard, you run the risk of, at best, getting ignored or, at worst, getting flamed.

That is why community standards exist, to facilitate use by all in the community. In this community, being that it is a group centered around Linux/Unix, there is a much higher likelyhood of having CLI users in 80 col terminals. Hence the reason for the standard of 76 col lines. The odd display of extended characters is also why we have the standard of ASCII emails. For example, your apostrophe disappeared in my terminal, replaced by "^R" at the end of the word.

If you are still perplexed by the community standards, look up some of the old jokes about Unix users, such as the airport one or the Dilbert cartoon with the bearded Unix user. There is a bit of "crusty old curmudgeon" attitude to be found in Linux/Unix communities (particularly the Slackware newsgroup, heh). In this case however, it's less about unwillingness to change and more about being polite to your fellow community members.
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