PBS response format

totototo@telus.net totototo@telus.net
Tue, 24 Aug 2010 14:51:34 PDT
On 24 Aug 2010, at 6:38, lou jost wrote:

> WHY do people nearly always include the entire past topic conversation in their
> posts? This is very tedious. Couldn't people just limit their inclusion of past
> conversations to the essentials?

It's not so much why can't they as why don't they?

Why? Because no one has taught them otherwise.

Another reason: while radically editing quoted material down to just the key 
points being replied to is the norm in private email (including mailing lists), 
in an office environment, top posting your reply above the entire message 
responded to is the equivalent to paperclipping a letter at the front of a file 
of correspondence. As a result, people who use email in offices have to learn 
that different standards apply to private email - and there's no one to explain 
this to them.

Yet another: people are lazy.

Yet another: people are stupid.

Yet another: people are inobservant and somehow overlook those replies that are 
properly formatted.

Yet another: Microsoft got it wrong when they built their first email clients 
and they've never bothered to correct their mistakes, so people follow their 

It's akin to those who send e-messages (of any sort) with bad spelling, 
incomprehensible grammar, and erratic punctuation. The recipient(s) may be able 
to deduce the meaning, but there is an ineradicable impression made of someone 
who is, to coin a phrase, an ignorant, uncaring twit. Those of you who blithely 
hit reply and don't bother to trim out extraneous quoted matter may want to 
keep in mind that you are giving a very bad impression of yourself, even if no 
one takes you to task for your sins.

I wish mailing lists had a rule that moderation of new members is very strict 
and that you must contribute ten messages in a row that are on-topic, use good 
English, and are formatted correctly before you are no longer subject to the 
beady eyed gaze of the moderator. This would cause the more sensitive violets 
to stalk away in a huff, but frankly "good riddance to bad trash" would be the 
emotion felt.

If readers want to do something about these issues, reply _privately_ to the 
offenders pointing out the errors of their ways. Strong language is permissible.
Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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