Looney Labs Rabbits Mailing list Archive

Re: [Rabbits] Top posting

  • FromDavid Artman <david.artman@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 9 Nov 2010 11:50:45 -0500
Y'all, I just asked. It wasn't with malice (so no need to tell me to
be nice, and I won't tell you to read generously) and it wasn't
whining (what a "nice" way to put it!).

I requested this common courtesy because I have a VERY tough time
following the Digest, when short posts have (sometimes) ten paragraphs
of text with ">" and ">>" and ">>>>>>>" between them. My biggest
difficulty lies in the fact that I miss someone's contribution because
it's short and "buried" between two long top-posts.

I didn't advocate minimal, interleaved quoting; but that said, yes, I
think it's the best way: quote only that to which one is replying, and
reply beneath it (like answering a questionnaire).

Aside from my own difficulties reading--and maybe I'm totally alone in
having such trouble?--I also have a bit of concern for the Looney's
server bandwidth and storage in the listserv archives. Sure, one top
post is a minimal (i.e. a kilobyte) cost in storage. But a
top-top-top-post (i.e. a lot of folks in a conversation with no
culling of old posts each reply) really magnifies that cost. Multiply
that by the number of recipients on the list/digest, and we have even
more cost and waste, in terms of bandwidth.

I always though the Rabbits/Techs/Captains put the small business
needs of our patrons first? I also though "being nice" on this list
allowed for respect for a member's requests, even if one has no
intention of complying. Ignore me if you can't be bothered to uncheck
an "Include quoted text" check box or press Ctrl+A (select all) before
you type a short reply. I'm fine with that.

But does my request have to be characterized as "whining"?

Top posting is not a "norm"--see the Usenet reference earlier in the
thread. It's a default setting in most clients because their
programmers assume a business application. In business, it's common
for a conversation to go on for a while and then someone needs to be
added (i.e. forward). In such cases, a record of all replies makes it
easier for the new person to catch up.

This is a listserv with an archive. One receives (time-sorted or
threaded) individual emails, making it easy to follow a conversation;
or one receives a digest (time-sorted, and so kind of "threaded"); or
one is looking at the archives (time-sorted or threaded). There is
just no need for a per-message record of the entirety of every
conversation. And (as above) such a record is very wasteful, not to
mention (for poor, pitiful me) a source of LOST communications, as
someone's short post is buried between the previous poster's top post
and their own.

Here's a relatively interesting historical take on the whys and
wherefores behind the increase of top posting:

No surprises that we have Microsoft to thank for pushing its ubiquity,
I suppose--Outlook is how a HUGE number of newcomers to the net
discovered email, in the office. The latest wave of Blackberry/mobile
emailers exacerbates the habit, as such devices often automatically
top post by default, too (why that is, one can't say--following
Microsoft's suit?).

Moving this to Geek is sort of pointless--folks on that list already
know (and, IIRC, don't top post nearly as often). Ending the
"discussion" (if a request followed by a bunch of bunny stomps is a
discussion) is a very good idea, at this point, I agree. I made a
request. I won't do so again.

With love and understanding for human foibles, weaknesses, and limitations;

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