On Wednesday, August 11, 2004 12:24:24 PM Bart Silverstrim [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

|>Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 08:45:13 -0400
|>From: Bart Silverstrim <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
|>Subject: Re: Top posting solution
|>To: FreeBSD Questions <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
|>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed
|>On Aug 10, 2004, at 6:25 PM, Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:
|>> Here's a good reason to top-post: I'm referring to the message as a
|>> whole, rather than to the content.
|>What reference to a whole?  Whole what?
|>> This message came in while I was writing my previous message in this
|>> thread.  It shows *exactly* the points I was referring to.
|>What are you referring to?
|>> Yes, the
|>> reply is posted at the bottom, but the quoted text is mutilated beyond
|>> what anybody could have believed 20 years ago.  Your reply appears to
|>> refer to the last paragraph only (I suppose; I can't read the
|>> message), but you've (mis)quoted it in its entirety.
|>Whereas I have no idea what you're referring to now.
|>> A question to you: do you like the appearance of this message?
|>It's a very pretty message.  But it is all blah blah blah blah if I
|>haven't a frame of reference for the content in question.
|>Whereas this way of replying reads like  conversation; moreover,
|>Mail.app will highlight lines with indent marking and color so I can
|>easily process what was already written visually and if I want to skip
|>it, I can; if I'm reading a conversation, I can easily tell what was
|>written and at what point.
|>>  Or do
|>> you do it because it's too difficult to write a tidy reply?
|>Top posting?  Or inline posting?  I inline because it's more like a
|>conversation style.  It's PRECISE.  I know exactly what point is being
|>referred to, and I would think that ambiguity is something in the
|>technology field that should be AVOIDED.
|>You should get a new one then.
|>New what?  What is being referred to if the "message as a whole" is
|>more than three paragraphs?  And am I right with my assumption of what
|>it's referring to?
|> >My car is a piece of crap.  $^@@# thing broke down for the third time
|>You should get a new one then.
|>AH!  Simple.  Referring to the car.  Not the dog that chewed the shoes,
|>or the DVD player that has buffer problems, or anything else in the
|>contrived example...
|>> I suspect
|>> the latter, and that's the point I'm trying to make.  I do
|>> occasionally have to use "Outlook", and I find it incredibly painful
|>> to use.
|>No, I think the latter makes it sound more like the replier has
|>schizophrenia and is talking to himself.  My personal theory was that
|>more literate people tend to inline post while the less literate tended
|>to top-post, but I'm not in a field where I could study that theory
|>conclusively. Longer top posters seem to ramble on and on, unless the
|>reader scrolls down to figure out what in hell they're referring to.
|>The only time I "top post" is when I'm truly sending something as
|>content that shouldn't be forwarded again (a notice or memo, a story
|>that should NOT be edited to understand it...and people that keep
|>forwarding jokes ad infinitum, PLEASE trim the damned quoted HEADERS!!)
|>as well as propagate a growing list of crud that ISN'T referred to.
|>It's not a matter of pretty replies, it's laziness.  Pure laziness.
|>When I want to reply to a point or question, I quote the reply or
|>question portion and don't include the sigs or the random crap already
|>Let's stop trying to justify top posting for every single email out
|>there and just admit it; people are lazy.  People who top post for
|>*everything* are just lazy with trimming crap out.  they want to spill
|>out their response and that's it.  There are some things we're lazy
|>about that can be taken care of with features or protocol; for
|>instance, word wrapping.  Someone is going to justify my asbestos
|>underwear as I send this because I didn't word wrap at 72 characters.
|>Why?!  Because I didn't keep hitting enter at "reasonable" spots.  Most
|>mail readers will do it automatically. My reader doesn't.  I'm using
|>Mail.app; it uses a different method for dynamically wrapping
|>text...forgot what it was called already...but basically no matter what
|>the display is, it'll word wrap my mail so that it appears legible
|>(within reason) and if I manually insert returns, it'll look like CRAP
|>as it interprets the linefeeds.  That can be taken care of by using a
|>reader with this feature (it's an open standard...) and inserting the
|>manual feeds reminds me of the idiots that typed up their five page
|>reports in word processors by hitting enter at the end of each line and
|>then inserting a word so there were stair-stepping throughout the
|>entire friggin' document.  Deal with it.  That's something that can be
|>taken care of by updating readers so that when the right character is
|>hit, it inserts on your display a linefeed and quote character. This
|>means that in the age approaching, you may be able to actually read
|>your email from your system at home with the huge display, your PDA,
|>and your laptop, each with different resolutions and screen sizes but
|>at the same time be able to read your email without scrolling all over
|>timbuktu (that's actually why Apple used this format...the company that
|>started it, Qualcomm?...was coming up with a simple way for messages to
|>be read on anything from regular clients to cellphone screens easily,
|>as I recall from the FAQ on the subject).
|>But I'm afraid that where you choose to quote, inline, top, bottom,
|>CANNOT be interpreted by your mail reader or any protocol.
|>Unfortunately, that still takes intervention by the user, the person
|>actually composing a reply.  It can *encourage* it by either starting
|>your insertion point at the top or bottom and by putting in the
|>prefacing "On YY date so and so thus spake:" before each reply, but
|>that's it.
|>Outlook has this wonderful ability to mangle headers and encourage
|>crappy habits to being with, and should be avoided like the plague (as
|>if the virus propagation features and bloated features included in it
|>that most people don't use aren't enough reason).

********** Reply Separator ********** Wednesday, August 11, 2004 7:04:05 PM

Actually, I find MS Outlook 2003 to be about the most complete email program for professional use around. The main problem is that most users are just to plain lazy to RTFM and therefore become confused and frustrated. Worse yet, they complain incessantly about supposed problems or shortcomings that are due to their lack of knowledge as to how the program operates.

Obviously, the program is over kill for the user who simply wants to read or write an email to grandma. The program was designed for professional use, not the common home user. Even I do not use it for that, although I could if I wanted to. Any user who does not need the wealth of features built into it would be doing him or herself a favor by utilizing a less sophisticated email program. There is a glut of them on the market today.

Just my 2.

Gerard Seibert

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