JP Vossen on 16 Sep 2016 08:56:09 -0700

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[PLUG] Top-posting (was: Replacement mailing list idea)

On 09/16/2016 05:14 AM, Steve Litt wrote:
On Thu, 15 Sep 2016 12:11:49 -0400
"Rich Mingin (PLUG)" <> wrote:

While I appreciate the sentiment, that's uphill against massive
amounts of established software and user training, as my reply is
showing. Like Betamax, the superior method is losing, top posting has

Wait, what? You mean the shitty *Windows* software that mostly started this mess? Even if you are stuck using that crap (and I am at $WORK), that's not excuse not to use better tools and do it right when not at work, and *especially* on a Linux list!

Nice declaration of victory. But it's not factual.

The Vim mailing list has no top posting. Because their mailman sig says
"Do not top-post!". Plenty of other mailing lists require bottom
posting or inline posting (those two are compatible with each other,
and totally broken by top posting).



To achieve this group creativity, clarity is required, and ambiguity
must be eliminated. Answers need to directly follow questions. Just
like in human speech. The phrase "you're right, except for the case of
Python" makes perfect sense immediately following quoted context saying
"modern languages aren't whitespace dependent." But the former phrase
thrown at the top of a long thread containing the latter phrase is
meaningless without a detailed examination of the entire quoted
context, and life's too short.


That's the bottom line: Life's too short. I don't have time to deal
with top posts, because it's too hard to put them in context. The
minority of times I reply to top posts, either I remove all context
except for one top-poster statement and reply to that (this reply is an
example), or take his misplaced reply, put it where it belongs in
the conversation, and reply below that. [...]

Yes! I am undoubtedly guilty of being lazy and top posting here, but *only* to other top-posts. I'll either re-format or cherry-pick and bottom-post most of the time.


Speaking of ambiguity, trim the quoted context to material pertaining
to your reply: Get rid of all the rest. This is a must whether you're
top, bottom or interleave posting.

Especially all the footer cruft, both the ludicrous disclaimers some corporate accounts require (and I'd like to argue you never need to use one on those on this list, but I can see some arguments for it), and all the mailing list footers. Nuke that crap, it's wasted bandwidth, archive space and importantly, reading time.

Oh, and if you get the digest, change the subject line when replying! I used to get the digest, and I know I missed that a few times, but I tried.

Actually, change the subject line entirely when the topic changes! Like in this message...

Before concluding, let me reply to the tired old argument saying
something like "if you were in business, you'd know that top-posting is
the way it's done." Yeah, absolutely, in business situations you
top-post. Because unlike mailing lists where the priority is knowledge
transfer and spread, in business situations the priority is CYA,
meaning each email must have a log of all that went before it, with no
trimming of quoted context. Obviously, in such a case, you top post.
But saying you should top post on mailing lists because you top post in
business communications is a little like telling you to maintain
identical decorum at Tea With The Queen and at your local soccer
(Football) game.

Top posting has not won, and top posting is a loss for all concerned.


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