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Re: [tlug] Quoting...yet again

On Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 05:50:08PM +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Curt Sampson writes:
>  > I think that there are two sides to this. One is that people do
>  > consider this a different communications medium:

This is true, but mostly, people are either lazy, or really don't
understand the difference.  One reason I mention it, usually publicly,
especially if someone's English is good, is so that the list members who
*do* care, will see that it's being mentioned.  Every time I do, Curt,
who *does* format properly, has something to say.

This is one reason I don't really have the energy anymore, especially as
I have absolutely no power.  If I did, I'd put Curt's posts on
moderation before posting each time I post something like that, and
simply not submit the complaint.  One reason is to avoid a basically
pointless thread like this one, to which I'm  contributing.  :)

> And in business, I think it *does* make sense to top-post in many
> cases.  The line pukes and kakari-cho fight it out until they come to
> a decision, at which point you CC the bu-cho.  He reads the first few
> lines of the last post by the person he trusts most, and 95% of the
> time makes a decision right there.  

Yes, that is another reason that I try to mention it, and nicely.  Many
people, relatively new to mailing lists, think it is proper, because
it's used, and often a good idea, in business. 

>  > unless you both realize that 150 people are going to read your
>  > post, and you care to optimize the commons rather than your own
>  > personal time.
> Or maybe you simply realize that well-written posts actually get
> read by 150 people, and the others by 1.5 (and what's worse, the .5 is
> Dogbert ... uh-oh!)

And *that* is the other crux of the matter.  (Hrm, can a matter 
have two cruxes?  Most of the time, it is also
pointing out to people that they have a better chance of getting their
question read, and further follow-up questions read, if they post

The thing is, if I posted a question about DNS or Apache, and Curt top
posted an answer, I'd read it anyway because I know that it's going to
be worth reading.  However, the people who top post are almost always
those in a more or less supplicant position. 

I maintain membership on a few yahoo lists, where the majority of people
are newcomers.  On one of them, if, and only if, I have the answer to
the newcomer's question, I will make a comment about top posting.  Then,
there are twenty responses complaining about it.  When I make the
comment, I usually add something like, please don't tell me how it's
good unless you also have a answer to the question.  

My point, especially on those lists, most of which only have 4 or 5
people with any experience on them, vs. over 1,000 people who are there
because "they hate Windows"--which of course, they have to spell Windoze
or Winblows or one of those other things to show their eliteness.

Back when I used to think that there was hope--these days, I'm tending
to believe that aside from tlug, a couple of NY tech lists and the
FreeBSD lists, that an earlier post saying it's tilting at windmills is
correct--I would point out to the OP that the ones who are more likely
to be able to help are the ones who won't read a top posted reply.  

Then, of course, they'll have follow up questions that are top posted.
I don't answer them, my logic, nasty as it is, is similar to what ESR
says in his smart questions essay.  In my answer, I told them not to top
post--there's also a list faq that mentions it.   If they're not taking
the time to read what I said, then why waste my precious (to me, anyway)
time on them, when there are others who will learn.  

So, to those newcomers who are following this thread, that's the deal.
The folks most likely to be able to help you are also most likely to
ignore you if you top post. 

As Curt pointed out, without being nasty, as he didn't mention me by
name, and I think I'm the only offender, my sig is too long. Some time
ago, I received special dispensation, as a few of the long time members
said that my Buffy quotes amuse them. 

Scott Robbins
PGP keyID EB3467D6
( 1B48 077D 66F6 9DB0 FDC2 A409 FA54 EB34 67D6 )
gpg --keyserver --recv-keys EB3467D6

Mayor Wilkins: I have two words that are going to make all your 
troubles go away. 'Miniature Golf.'

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