Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 2002)

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Subject: On client defaults and list configurations
From: JC Dill <inet-list @ vo . cnchost . com>
Date: Fri, 05 Jul 2002 07:09:18 -0700
To: list-managers <list-managers @ greatcircle . com>
In-reply-to: <24233 . 1025848775 @ kanga . nu>
References: <Message from "Roger B.A. Klorese" <rogerk @ queernet . org> <3D25336D . 4080107 @ queernet . org> <Pine . GSO . 4 . 44 . 0207050354550 . 9765-100000 @ stjorn . ifi . uio . no> <22440 . 1025836984 @ kanga . nu> <3D250BF4 . 6020502 @ queernet . org> <24019 . 1025847869 @ kanga . nu> <3D25336D . 4080107 @ queernet . org>

On 10:59 PM 7/4/02, J C Lawrence wrote:

>I tend to have a different view of top posting and its effect on
>conversation, especially for lists.  I find that top posting discourages
>thread detail and depth by effectively forbidding the debate or analysis
>of finely defined points, that it encourages pomposity and bombast
>rather than discourse, that it encourages retort instead of considered
>reply, and that it discourages useful thread splits and forks while
>encouraging thread dissolution.

1) I recently subscribed to a list discussing windows security. Top posting is rampant on that list. Most replies are about a paragraph, more or less (like the quoted paragraph above). I have Eudora set to not download "long messages" for some of my email accounts, and that includes the account that gets email from this new group. I was very surprised to see a recent thread spin off into dozens of posts with a paragraph of new text, followed by the Eudora inserted comment that it had only downloaded the initial part and the rest was still on the server. I was even more surprised to find that I didn't miss a THING, in every case the OPs text had ceased before Eudora quit downloading the message in question. So the size of the message was beyond the full download parameter (10,000 characters, I believe), due solely to the sets of LookOut quoted "previous message" entries below the new text.

On a different but related topic:

2) While you complain about the effects using MS mail clients has on your mailing lists, I can equally complain about what I firmly believe is the antiquated and useless practice of setting up a DISCUSSION LIST with Reply-To to the author, and not the list. It leads to posts that are sent to dozens of individuals. Just as lazy MS mail client users start typing their reply where their client drops the cursor (at the top, resulting in top posting), lazy list users such as most people on this list select "reply to all" and then don't bother adjusting the ever increasing list of names that the reply goes to. Both types of users justify their actions by saying that since the software sets-up their reply this way, it must be OK. Well, I think it's pretty damn lazy to send a reply to the list, and to every other address that happens to be in the list headers, just because that's how the software most easily lets you reply back to the discussion list. And I really detest the duplicate messages this causes ME to receive. IMHO, this is worse than top-posting, with top-posting at least I only get one message.

3) Finally, it really irks me when a thread drifts completely off the prior topic and yet no one bothers to change the subject line. It irks me even more when the discussion list in question is supposedly full of people who should know better.


A.  No.
Q.  Is top posting OK?

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