Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(November 2005)

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Subject: Re: Posting style filters?
From: "Bernie Cosell" <bernie @ fantasyfarm . com>
Organization: Fantasy Farm Fibers
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 08:29:58 -0500
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <8BB732D2-4FB5-4C72-BC11-C94423D39AD2 @ plaidworks . com>
References: <p05200f0dbfab039a43ef @ [192 . 168 . 0 . 4]>

On 23 Nov 2005 at 22:56, Chuq Von Rospach wrote:

> But frankly, I think it no longer matters; the mail list as a primary  
> communications community tool is dead. Which is a great way to start  
> another argument, but I won't bother getting into it. I'll just note  
> this posting: 
> the_past_slippi.html and shut up again.

What's unfortunate is that the web-based forums are *SO* bad as to be 
nearly useless [especially compared with email- or usenet-based ones].

> By the way, what RFC states that top posting is the wrong way to do  
> this? I don't remember seeing that standard.

Probably 1855, "Netiquette":

>>   - If you are sending a reply to a message or a posting be sure you
>>     summarize the original at the top of the message, or include just
>>     enough text of the original to give a context.  This will make sure
>>     readers understand when they start to read your response. Since
>>     ....  Giving context helps everyone. 
>>     But do not include the entire original!


Perhaps I'm just too old, or getting too senile, but I find top-posted 
replies very difficult to sort out: the poster seems to believe that both 
the particular message in the thread, and the actual parts of that 
message, to which they're responding is somehow obvious [or transmitted 
psychically or some such].  And so a post that just begins "I agree" 
(with what?) or "you're wrong..." [*who* is wrong?  And about what??]... 
etc.. just befuddle and irritate me.  [and it is even better when a top-
posted "on digest" person replies: you get a top-posted reply to a 
message 15 back in the thread and REALLY have to guess what's going on; 
but then digests are pretty much useless [and should've died a natural 
death 20 yrs ago], but that's a different debate..:o); or similarly if 
someone is away and a week or so much later replies to one [which one??] 
MUCH earlier message in the thread]

Altogether, I don't know how folk who handle a lot of email [as I know 
Chuq does] stay sane sorting things out that have been top-posted.  The 
very best I can say about top-posting is:
  1) if you're too lazy to edit down the context, then you probably ARE
      better off top posting
  2) *some* of the time I'm following a thread closely enough, AND it
      is linear enough, that a top-posted reply doesn't leave me with
      a "huh?".

And since I'm competent with my email client, I don't need to have 25 old 
messages in a thread forwarded to me as some sort of useless appendix -- 
if the reply includes reasonable context, I won't need it at all, and if 
I do need the entirety of one of the antecedent messages, I'll find it in 
an appropriate folder or have my mail client thread to it for me.  I 
certainly don't need 24 copies of the first message in the thread [on 
each of the subsequent 24 followups], and 23 copies of the second message 
in the thread, ..etc.. (and a partridge in a pear tree..:o)].

Oh well, another religious war that'll never get settled down.  And Chuq 
is probably right: since top-posting is the easiest path for the 
lazy/inconsiderate authors -- read and type, what could be easier -- it 
probably will end up being the de facto standard and we edit-down-bottom-
posters will just be viewed as relics of the past... sigh...


Bernie Cosell                     Fantasy Farm Fibers
mailto:bernie @
 fantasyfarm .
 com     Pearisburg, VA
    -->  Too many people, too few sheep  <--       

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