In this document:

Please read the entire document before your first post to the list, as it explains the list policies and contains a few words about the kind of culture we've created.

About the List

css-discuss is primarily intended to be a place for authors to discuss real-world uses of CSS. This doesn't preclude discussions of theory, or nifty cutting-edge tricks that show off the power of CSS, or even talking about (X)HTML, DOM, and so forth. However, it's greatly appreciated if such discussions have some practical payoff, even if it's just teaching other list members a little bit more about how CSS works. While we don't forbid discussions of the future direction of CSS, the W3C runs a listserv explicitly for that purpose called www-style. It's probably a better place for those kinds of discussions.

css-discuss was established on 24 January 2002. It is currently administrated by Eric A. Meyer and John Allsopp, with server resources donated by Western Civilisation and Pairlist.

Privacy Profile

The following steps have been taken to protect list members from spambot harvesting and other forms of harassment, although no form of defense is ever perfect. These list settings will not be changed without sufficient advance warning on the list itself.

List Policies

In order to keep the list a useful and annoyance-free place for everyone, there are a few policies to observe. These policies are intended to make the lives of everyone on the list easier, including you, so please take them to heart.


(The word "offensensitivity" was, so far as I'm aware, first used by Berke Breathed in Bloom County.)

When posting to css-discuss, remember that your message will be sent to (literally) hundreds of people all over the world. They all have likes and dislikes as individual as your own. They will also be offended by certain things which you may not find remarkable. While you can't foresee every potential area of conflict, there are certain guidelines that are fairly obvious: avoid swearing, cultural insults, blasphemy, proselytizing, and things of that nature. If you wouldn't say it out loud in front of your grandmother while in a place of worship, then you probably shouldn't say it on the list either.

At the same time, recognize that you are receiving messages from (literally) hundreds of people all over the world. They all have likes and dislikes as individual as your own. They will also not find remarkable certain things by which you may be offended. Odds are that they probably didn't set out to offend you on purpose, so try taking a deep breath and counting to a nice high number if you feel a rising sense of offense. If, after this calming break, you still feel you must say something, e-mail the poster directly (and not on the list) to explain your feelings calmly, reasonably, and above all clearly without attacking them. They may be unaware of the effect of their words, so this is your chance to educate them. If you just slag them for being "insensitive," you may get flamed in return and create a resolve to keep offending you just for being so uptight and irrational (from their point of view).

Above all, remember that other people are about as likely to change their basic natures and habits as you are to change yours. You may at some point have to make a choice between tolerating other people's views and participating in the list. Please make this choice privately, and follow through quietly. Thank you.

What to Ask and How to Answer

A few words on the subject from Eric:

css-discuss is meant for beginning and experienced authors both, but I'm actually more interested in helping out the beginners. CSS can seem daunting at first, and it is definitely a skill that is challenging to acquire. We all started out wondering how to do cool stuff, and perplexed by browser behavior. It's my hope that the more expert among us can help ease the transition the newcomers are making by sharing our collective experience. Of course, there's room for advanced stuff: the list is also meant to be a place for CSS veterans to share new ideas, tricks, and techniques for using CSS in interesting ways. And it's also a good venue to pass along CSS-related announcements that will be of interest to all.
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?")
Simply posting a URL as an "answer" is also discouraged. Back up that URL with a little explanation of what the reference is about, why you posted it, and some keys to understanding the resource you're referencing. It doesn't have to be a novel; a line or two will usually suffice. But that line or two will be of enormous help to people reading your message, who may not be as expert as you are.
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.