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[tlug] Quoting...yet again

On 2008-12-17 22:38 -0500 (Wed), Scott Robbins wrote:

> Many people are extremely busy, and if they see something top posted,
> they aren't going to bother scrolling down to see what it's about and
> will just delete it.

Well, that's one point of view. Here's the point of view of someone who
is extremely busy, and has also been reading and posting to usenet (and
reading Emily Postnews!) since the days of getting a full usenet feed
over 1200 bps modems.

I find any excessive quoting annoying. Trimming well is always good.

But more important is to get the new stuff right in front of me. My mail
reader has both threading and highlighted subject lines, so there's
little chance that I won't have some general sense of what a message is
about before I hit the body. However, even before I had that, 

The worst thing you can possibly do is quote more than a few lines at
the start of your message. I've either read it, or read previous things
that made me decide to ignore it, so starting with stuff that I've
already seen is quite likely to make me hit the 'd' key right away.

The message I'm replying to is a great example of this; it quotes eleven
lines of the preceeding post (if you wrap at 80 chars or so), not *one*
*single* *line* of which is necessary for context, or even useful at all
for those for whom this is the first message they've ever seen in this

(I find it ironic that they only reason I got to the meat of the message
to which I'm responding was because TLUG has essentially, due to bad
quoting practices, forced me to turn on special quote colouring that
makes the quotes fade somewhat into the background, so I can quickly see
where the real stuff starts.)

If the first thing I see is something I've already read, you'd better
have trimmed it down to something *very*, *very* small (no more than
4-5 lines) or I'm likely to look at it, say, "I can't be bothered to
wade through all that history again," and move on, without looking at
whatever new stuff you've added to it.

If you put your stuff on top, with a mass of quotes underneath, I'll be
moderately annoyed, but at least I'll read what you write. And I might
not be so annoyed if I happen to need the context and can just scroll
down for it, rather than having to head off to the list archives with my
web browser.

If you quote too much above what you're adding, I'm much more likely
likely just delete the message without bothering to read down to see
what you're trying to say.

Oh, and did I mention, setting the subject line when you change the
subject is also considered quite good etiquette?

Curt Sampson       <>        +81 90 7737 2974
           Functional programming in all senses of the word:

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