[kwlug-disc] trimming posts

Darcy Casselman dscassel at gmail.com
Tue Apr 22 08:55:13 EDT 2014

I'm writing this on a 4x8 slab of plastic and glad with my finger tip. What
you're proposing is ridiculously impractical.

You can't assume that everyone is still using pine or mutt. Threads are
nicely laid out and comment blocks are conveniently hidden. I don't use vi
to edit email anymore; I just wrote a couple sentences in the box on top
and hit send.

PS: http://five.sentenc.es
Allow me to re-arrange this conversation so that (chronologically
speaking, at least) it is a little more coherent:

On Sun, Apr 20, 2014 at 12:42:17PM -0400, unsolicited wrote:
> Subject: Re: [kwlug-disc] trimming posts

>> On 14-04-20 12:27 PM, Adam Glauser wrote:
>> In case people skipped over this bit in Steve's signature, I
>> thought I'd highlight it.
>> ... [see signature line below]

> On 14-04-20 12:35 PM, rbclemen at gmail.com wrote:
>> Top posting makes the perfectly reasonable assumption that
>> most people in the discussion aren't new to it, and don't need
>> to scroll through a dozen pages of now poorly formatted text
>> they have already read to find the start of the purpose of the
>> email.
> Agreed. The quoted text is from a time long since passed, and
> the world of e-mail lists instead of newsgroups has moved on.
> Especially in a small local geographic list such as this is.

That assumption is not reasonable. How can you argue that everyone
has kept in mind the same details of the discussion that you
have? At the very least, it's a courtesy to those with whom
you're corresponding to show a continuity in the discussion
points. It's also not a good idea to assume that people aren't
busy doing other things between posts.

As for "a dozen pages of now poorly formatted text", why do you
recycle it with each message? Why not just delete it if you don't
expect people to go through it?

In regards to "moving on", since when has progress in time
inherently resulted in improvements? I'll quote Arthur Dent:
"I've gone off the idea of progess. It's overrated." The point of
this discussion (and the "quoted text", i.e., the wikipedia
article) is to argue that the "moving on" has been in the
direction of decreased coherency, sort of like "moving on" in the
fast food industry over the past few decades has resulted in a
massive increase in garbage.

> Granted, digesting makes the problem worse, which is why I have
> long since abandoned it on most any list I participate in.

The digest format magnifies the problem, especially when people
include all of the digest in their replies. That's sheer
laziness. But it's also laziness to include parts of the message
you have no intention of referring to.

> Paul's 40k limit for the purposes of keeping posts small is specious
> - I can't recall the last time I saw a post get anywhere near it. It
> does, however, keep most attachments away, for which I am very
> grateful.

The point of his post was not the 40k but the criticism that
people are not trimming their posts.

One of the first Unix principles I was taught: Silence is golden.
A program should not return messages (to stderr, i.e., the
console) if it has accomplished what you expected. Command syntax
is terse, as is typical Unix markup. There were physical reasons
for this, of course, which no longer hold. But the elegance of it
is the reduction of noise on the system, fewer bytes to store and
clean up, concise input (despite the fact that the programmers
I knew were exceptionnally good typists). Large, cheap storage
systems and extremely fast CPUs don't change the signal to noise

        -- Steve

Steve Izma
Home: 35 Locust St., Kitchener N2H 1W6    p:519-745-1313
Work: Wilfrid Laurier University Press    p:519-884-0710 ext. 6125
E-mail: sizma at golden.net or steve at press.wlu.ca

A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing in e-mail?

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