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Boost Discussion Policy

Email discussion is the tie that binds boost members together into a community. If the discussion is stimulating and effective, the community thrives. If the discussion degenerates into name calling and ill will, the community withers and dies.

Acceptable topics

Other topics related to boost development may be acceptable, at the discretion of moderators. If unsure, go ahead and post. The moderators will let you know.

Unacceptable topics

Message size

The mailing list software automatically limits message and attachment size to a reasonable amount, typically 75K, which is adjusted from time-to-time by the moderators.. This limit is a courtesy to those who rely on dial-up Internet access.

Prohibited behavior

Prohibited behavior will not be tolerated. The moderators will ban postings by abusers.

Flame wars

Personal insults, argument for the sake of argument, and all the other behaviors which fall into the "flame war" category are prohibited. Discussions should focus on technical arguments, not the personality traits or motives of participants.

Third-party attacks

Attacks on third parties such as software vendors, hardware vendors, or any other organizations, are prohibited. Boost exists to unite and serve the entire C++ community, not to disparage the work of others.

Does this mean that we ban the occasional complaint or wry remark about a troublesome compiler? No, but be wary of overdoing it.

Off-topic posts

Discussions which stray from the acceptable topics are strongly discouraged. While off-topic posts are often well meaning and not as individually corrosive as other abuses, cumulatively the distraction damages the effectiveness of discussion.


In addition to technical skills, Boost members value collaboration, acknowledgement of the help of others, and a certain level of politeness. Boost membership is very international, and ranges widely in age and other characteristics. Think of discussion as occurring among colleagues in a widely read forum, rather than among a few close friends.

Always remember that the cumulative effort spent by people reading your contribution scales with the (already large) number of boost members. Thus, do invest time and effort to make your message as readable as possible. Adhere to English syntax and grammar rules such as proper capitalization. Avoid copious informalism, colloquial language, or abbreviations, they may not be understood by all readers. Re-read your message before submitting it.

Guidelines for effective discussions

Apply social engineering to prevent heated technical discussion from degenerating into a shouting match, and to actively encourage the cooperation upon which Boost depends.

Avoid Parkinson's Bicycle Shed. Parkinson described a committee formed to oversee design of an early nuclear power plant. There were three agenda items - when to have tea, where to put the bicycle shed, and how to ensure nuclear safety. Tea was disposed of quickly as trivial.   Nuclear safety was discussed for only an hour - it was so complex, scary, and technical that even among experts few felt comfortable with the issues. Endless days were then spent discussing where to put the bicycle shed (the parking lot would be a modern equivalent) because everyone understood the issues and felt comfortable discussing them. 

Revised 13 May, 2002