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From Gary Turner <>
Subject Re: [users@httpd] OT Answering mail--without causing pain
Date Fri, 06 Dec 2002 08:26:58 GMT
Robert Andersson wrote:

>The only objection I have (as I illustrate by this message :) is that I find
>to "top-post" appropriate when you reply or comment a message as a whole,
>rather than commenting specific parts of it. As you're commenting the whole
>message, the only alternative is putting in a comment after the entire
>message, which is much worse.

It is rare, I think, that a (long) message will be commented in toto.
Mine was certainly not cram-packed with pithy words of wisdom.  
>Leaving the full original message in these cases might waste bandwidth etc,
>but is necessary for completeness.  Otherwise, there would be no context

As I will show, the fat can be trimmed to maintain context.

>unless you can guess which the original message was.

Proper attributions eliminate guesswork.

>When leaving the full message, I keep the mailer's "separator" while I use
>the "N.N. wrote:" heading when I'm going to comment on quotes.

"N.N. wrote:" is plenty.

>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Gary Turner" <>
>To: "Apache Users" <>
>Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002 9:34 AM
>Subject: [users@httpd] OT Answering mail--without causing pain

This is a terrible waste of screen space.  The name is enough.  We know
it's written to the list.  The date/time stamp is irrelevant.  We know
the subject from the thread and your own subj: line.
>> There are tried and true methods of citing, quoting, and replying to
>> email[...]

This is all that is really needed to maintain context.  The core of the
post lies within the web site.  (Note, too, that all previous sig lines
are removed.)  If someone wants to read the whole thing, it is trivial
to scroll back up the thread or go to the site..

Having said all that, prefixing works ok in private correspondence
between two people.  The model breaks down as soon as others are brought
in.  Top-, or pre- fixing comments leads to confusion.  With postfix,
comments may be added even to earlier posts and everything stays in
order.  Good attribution/quote style and standard quote markers allows
the next reader to scan down the message and pick out the new stuff *in
order* and with the immediate reference right there.

It ain't so much what you don't know that gets you in trouble---
it's what you do know that ain't so.--unk

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