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There are several good sites out there for general etiquette when subscribing to a mailing list ...

I'd like to address some items that are unique to mailing lists..

How to ask a question

Much etiquette relating to mailing lists revolves around the recognition that list members are all working programmers, admins and managers. The time they contribute to the list is time taken from their job, and as such can be a precious commodity. If a list member reads a question and feels that answering will take too much time, the question is liable to be skipped.

Paradoxically, the easier the question is to ask, the harder it is to answer. For example: I tried adding a trigger and it did not work. There are literally dozens of reasons it did not work. Now, individual list members will independently ask for clarification on one point or another. This will result in multiple back and forth emails, taking more time away from each person (including the asker!) who replies. Anything that the asker can do to make it easier for an answerer to respond will generate more responses.

Please help us to help you. With every question, please include:

1) The operating system version and Technology Refresh level. This is important because different capabilities are available with more recent operating system versions. DSPPTF and WRKPTFGRP will find these.

2) The full first and second level message text. This reveals the error message ID as well as any reason codes and recovery operations.

3) The full first and second level text of the previous messages in the job log. The architecture of IBM i is that a given process will issue informational and diagnostic messages before failing with an escape message. Those diagnostics are the actual reason the process failed.

4) The command that caused the failure. This is important because seeing the exact parameters can reveal the root cause. Often, the simplest way to provide all of this information is to DSPJOBLOG OUTPUT(*PRINT) and copy/paste the result in the initial question.

Coding samples

Large code fragments

If you find the need to include a largish code fragement (more than a few lines) in a post, consider posting the fragment to and then just post the generated URL to the list.


- For coding samples involving dates I suggest using days greater than 12 and years greater than 31. Some people won't read your comments and let's let it be "self documenting". An example would be a


That one is obvious that you used mm/dd/yy and not dd/mm/yy or any other combination.