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2003 Jan 28 20:30

The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox-tech mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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[kmself@ix.netcom.com: Re: [vox] Re: [vox-tech] Sig line [ newbie annoyed with tin ]]
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[kmself@ix.netcom.com: Re: [vox] Re: [vox-tech] Sig line [ newbie annoyed with tin ]]



The attached was my response to a thread Peter moved to vox.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   Verio webhosting?  Guaranteed downtime:
     http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,57011,00.html
     http://www.dowethics.com/r/environment/freedom.html
--- Begin Message ---
on Tue, Jan 28, 2003 at 01:28:34PM -0800, Peter Jay Salzman (p@dirac.org) wrote:

> begin Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com> 
> > on Tue, Jan 28, 2003 at 09:52:55AM -0800, Rod Roark (rod@sunsetsystems.com) wrote:
> > > Actually I don't much care for that behavior in mail readers.
> > > Many times (like this) I reply at the top of the message (so
> > > people don't have to go scrolling for it), and if my sig
> > > immediately follows then all the rest will be chopped when someone
> > > else replies -- whether they want that or not.
> > >
> > > No big deal, but I'd much rather have to edit out a sig or two,
> > > and have the flexibility of composing a reply as I see fit.
> > 
> > 
> > "Email Quoting" from the Jargon File.
> > http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/Email-Quotes.html

<...>

> i definitely see merit with both styles, although use of both styles in
> one email is positively deadly (like i just did).

...and is a pain in the ass to continually correct (as I just did).

> when i read an email exchange without point by point arguing, i much
> prefer seeing replies on top.   

Exerpting relevant portions of the debate for context (as I just did)
and commenting below preserves form.  In the event the debate is
continued (as I just did), you don't end up with mixed-mode responses
(as your suggestion promotes).  This ends up being a hopeless tangle.

The assumptions are that there are either local or shared archives (or
both) from which a context pointer is sufficient to restore full
references.  This is why *both* quoting *and* attribution are critical,
and is where MSFT style quoting (no leader character, attribution as an
inline quote of brief headers, and random attachment of prefix leaders
to wrapped lines) tends to be so deleterious to extended discussions.
I've rarely seen such a thread that doesn't have an (ever increasing)
accretion of "you're misquoting me" and "you're misattributing that
quote" subthreads.  Annoying in the extreme.



<...>

> although i think both styles have their merit, i think it's laughable
> that ESR would call a style "deprecated".  

Understanding the reasons behind this calls for a deep reading of the
arguments.  

Briefly:

  - It's conversational.
  - It's considerate.  There are still people who pay for bandwidth, or
    read on slow links, including handheld or portable devices.
  - It's efficient:  quote appropriately for context.  Rely on archives
    for a full record.
  - It maintains discussion integrity.
  - It tends to self enforcement.  Reading through quoted material tends
    to encourage trimming of extraneous material.  Piling up text, sigs,
    and list appendia at the end of the message tends to encourage lazy
    habits.


BTW, Eric's recently switched domains, the actual link is:

    http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/Email-Quotes.html



> even if rod's method had no merit whatsoever, having the gall to call
> someone's quoting style "deprecated" is an act of hubris.

And hubris is one of the three chief virtues of a programmer, the others
being laziness and impatience.  Larry Wall.  Nothing wrong with that.

There are solid arguments for the practice.  Its alternatives engender
confusion, misattribution, and miscommunication.  Deprecating a practice
with inferior results is *highly* commendable.


> i wish it were clear which method is best.   the fact that it's not
> clear to me is a good indication that the best method is whatever the
> individual wants.  that's the way thomas jefferson would want it,
> anyhow.

The avantage is improved communications.  Clarity of expression, economy
of understanding.  It's the same principle that leads us to standardized
spelling (this wasn't the norm as recently as a few hundred years ago),
writing left to right and top to bottom (alternatives are certainly
possible, and practiced in other lexicons, but not this one), why books
are divided into words, sentences, paragraphs, subheads, chapters, and
sections.  It's why they typically include  a title page, table of
contents, and an index.  These are traditions you can flout, but like
dying your hair purple, piercing all available skin, tattoing the rest,
and wearing black leather to make a statement to society, you'd best be
prepared for society to make a statement back.  And it may be the same
"fuck you" that you've just given.

Yes, it's a personal preference thing.  But the two sides of that coin
are the writer and the reader.  I've a very strong interest, and long
history, with collaborative discussion and documentation tools, going
back over a decade.  I've used, contributed, to, and helped design
mailing lists, Usenet, weblogs, TWiki, and other tools.  The proper
assembly of parts *does* matter, and merely dumping a large number of
people, however smart, talented, or informed, on a channel does *not*
guarantee useful outcomes.

My experience is that the benefits are emperically determined.  I've
stated how I deal with the issue for myself in isolated and epidemic
instances.  I've found that most people will see the light when reasons
are explained.  Those who don't frequently aren't worth the effort.

Peace.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   Geek for hire:  http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html
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--- End Message ---


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