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Old 02-23-2009, 03:39 PM
Bart Silverstrim
 
Default Why do people detest top posting so much?

Michael.Coll-Barth@VerizonWireless.com wrote:
>
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Bart Silverstrim
>
>> Easier to hand out a brain belch. Too lazy to properly format
>> a message,
>> too properly to actually compose a message to others...top posting is
>> the older generation's equivalent to txtspeak. "easier" means
>
> LOL Bart. Being an old timer ( newsgroup wise ), I thought I would
> throw something in here. I am waiting for some stuff to run so I have a
> few cycles to waste.
>
> Bottom-posting is actually a creation of us old fart newsgroup readers.

While I'm not from the days when the only choice was Unix, I am old
enough to have used the CLI and resented moving to Windows and from
there moving to things that actually worked...so I'm not an old timer
but I think I'm "close enough" in technology years to be getting a
pension by now.

All I can really say to this is that I don't care where it was
invented...bottom posting for old timer UNIX newsgroup readers, top
posting for people who always used Outlook, whatever. Take a longer and
more complicated message, done once inline and once top posted and
printed both out and laid side by side, and I will say that %99 of the
time I'll be able to read and understand the inline quoting much more
easily.

The fact is that even my aspergian mind is able to more clearly discern
the message when the quoted text is color coded (thank you Mail.app,
Thunderbird...) and indented with > so my eye is skipping right through
what is needed and skimming everything else, in order, and addressing
information accordingly.

I don't really care anymore. If people keep top posting I normally
delete the post without finishing it. If what they have to say isn't
important enough to compose a message...compose...there's a difference,
as much important yet subtly different between "I'm hearing you" and
"I'm listening to you"...a message, then I don't have time to sort or
deal with the slow build of frustration involved in decoding your message.

>> "I don't
>> have to trim the post or actually put thought into what I'm
>> trying to say."
>
> Bottom-posters are just as bad. ...two thousand lines of test... "Me
> too!" Ugh!

That's why I've always said inline posting except where it does not
clarify your message. It's natural when you compose a message instead of
broadcast a brain fart.

> The information contained in this message and any attachment may be
> proprietary, confidential, and privileged or subject to the work
> product doctrine and thus protected from disclosure. If the reader
> of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or
> agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended
> recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination,
> distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.
> If you have received this communication in error, please notify me
> immediately by replying to this message and deleting it and all
> copies and backups thereof. Thank you.

Never understood the need for these disclaimers. I've not found a case
once where they were legally binding, and on top of that, when you see
it you've already read the damn message. What then? Fry the part of my
brain storing the data of the message?

If it's "corporate policy" to include such things in your emails, do you
REALLY want to advocate that "top posting is what we use in the
corporate world" when it really serves no function but to clutter
messages with worthless tripe? Instead of appealing to reason, something
that makes sense, we turn to the tried and true "it was invented/agreed
upon by committee" or "it's how we do it back there." You know what
things are done in the animal husbandry profession? Want to explain to
your wife that that's what they do at work so she shouldn't be mad?
Probably not. Maybe it's best not to carry work practices into other
environments where they're not appropriate.

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Old 02-23-2009, 03:46 PM
"Odzangba K. Dake"
 
Default Why do people detest top posting so much?

On Monday 23 February 2009 16:05:32 Christopher A. Williams wrote:

> Here's an excellent summary from another list by Frank Cox on the

> rational of top vs. bottom posting. Perhaps this will help clarify the

> "why" behind all of this:

>

> Top posting is generally used in direct business or personal

> correspondence. I send you a message, you put your reply on top

> of that and send it back to me. The theory is that you and I

> already know what we're talking about.

>

> In newsgroup and mailing list postings, on the other hand, the

> convention is to put your reply at the bottom or in-line with

> the original message, and the original message is ideally

> trimmed to the minimum required to keep the flow of the

> "conversation" going. The idea here is that posts are intended

> to be read and comprehended by people other than the ones who

> are directly involved in the exchange. Accordingly, it makes the

> most sense to create a message that can be read from the top to

> the bottom in chronological order.



Thanks, that makes a lot of sense.



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Old 02-23-2009, 03:52 PM
NoOp
 
Default Why do people detest top posting so much?

Top Posted on purpose:
http://www.ubuntu.com/support/community/mailinglists/etiquette

On 02/23/2009 05:45 AM, Odzangba K. Dake wrote:
> Ok, I just have to ask... what is so wrong with it. I admit that I prefer
> bottom posting because, well, it makes reading easier but quite a few people
> on this list (and on others) actively detest it and quite often snap at you if
> you bottom post. What's the deal here?
>
> --
> Odzangba
>
>



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Old 02-23-2009, 03:58 PM
Odd
 
Default Why do people detest top posting so much?

Bart Silverstrim wrote:
> Michael.Coll-Barth@VerizonWireless.com wrote:
>>
>> The information contained in this message and any attachment may be
>> proprietary, confidential, and privileged or subject to the work
>> product doctrine and thus protected from disclosure. If the reader
>> of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or
>> agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended
>> recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination,
>> distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.
>> If you have received this communication in error, please notify me
>> immediately by replying to this message and deleting it and all
>> copies and backups thereof. Thank you.
>
> Never understood the need for these disclaimers. I've not found a case
> once where they were legally binding, and on top of that, when you see
> it you've already read the damn message. What then? Fry the part of my
> brain storing the data of the message?

And this is a _public_ maling list after all, so it's totally worthless
here anyway.

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Old 02-23-2009, 04:08 PM
Thomas Wolf
 
Default Why do people detest top posting so much?

Bart et al,

On 02/23/2009 10:54 AM, Bart Silverstrim wrote:
> ...
> Well...while I would remind people that many believe extremists should
> be shot, the "telling" part is more or less noticing a potential
> trend...I'm just pointing out that there is a potentially valid
> observation mixed in with the pointed jab, that's all.
>
Making insulting jabs/generalizations on the basis of just 2 data points
serves no purpose other than to upset people. What exactly can Derek
"tell" about me based on the fact that I posted in HTML? Same thing
with Noberto's remark about people "from Outlook" feeling top-posting is
better and, even sillier, that "...they think Windows is better than
Linux..." These guys are able to discern *so much* just from the fact
that someone top-posts or someone forgets to suppress HTML generation.
I'm surprised not to see them on Geraldo making prognostications for a
living!

It's attitudes like this that turn some people off Linux. Imagine some
hapless newbie who just installed Ubuntu and asks an innocent question
in this forum. God forbid he does it in HTML or forgets to reply to a
query in the thread at the *bottom* of the reply. By the time the
slams and jabs have subsided (s)he will have returned to the comfort of
Windows....but perhaps that is the point.

For the record, I'm not a Windows user. I've used UNIX/Solaris for more
than 30 years. In the old usenet days, people preferred bottom-posting
and the newsgroup readers automatically put you in the editor at the end
of the message. Not much thinking required. I don't remember anyone
ever making a big stink when someone did top-post, though.
I don't think I changed Thunderbird's default (but maybe I did - years
ago) with respect to message replies. I did change its default, at some
point, to do HTML composition because of work (although I think that,
too, is the default setting nowadays?) In the mailing lists I've been
on over the years, nobody ever freaked out when I top-posted. I think
recently someone on the netbeans mailing list asked why I always posted
in HTML - I told him that I wasn't aware that I had - and changed it for
that domain. No big deal. All civilized.

Then I come to this mailing list to ask a question about my Ubuntu 8.10
X server dying (yes, I'm somewhat of a newbie with respect to Linux)
and, instead of getting answers, I get slammed for top-posting and, for
good measure, for posting in HTML. Very nice (actually, there was one
nice guy that emailed me privately to let me know that in this mailing
list, some of the experts were very finicky and that I might not get an
answer if I top-posted....but by the time I received the e-mail, the cat
was already out of the bag).

I don't need this. I'll let younger people ask their questions on this
mailing list and take their lumps. I'll just google for potential
answers. If I don't find them, I'll just file a bug.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

tom



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Old 02-23-2009, 04:32 PM
"Odzangba K. Dake"
 
Default Why do people detest top posting so much?

On Monday 23 February 2009 17:08:11 Thomas Wolf wrote:

> Then I come to this mailing list to ask a question about my Ubuntu 8.10

> X server dying (yes, I'm somewhat of a newbie with respect to Linux)

> and, instead of getting answers, I get slammed for top-posting and, for

> good measure, for posting in HTML. Very nice (actually, there was one

> nice guy that emailed me privately to let me know that in this mailing

> list, some of the experts were very finicky and that I might not get an

> answer if I top-posted....but by the time I received the e-mail, the cat

> was already out of the bag).

>

> I don't need this. I'll let younger people ask their questions on this

> mailing list and take their lumps. I'll just google for potential

> answers. If I don't find them, I'll just file a bug.

>

> So long and thanks for all the fish.

>

> tom



Uhmm, I sort of feel responsible for all this, if I'd just kept my big mouth shut.... Guys, can we drop this? I really should have taken a minute longer to think about it before I fired off that first email.

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Old 02-23-2009, 04:56 PM
Thomas Wolf
 
Default Why do people detest top posting so much?

On 02/23/2009 12:32 PM, Odzangba K. Dake wrote:
> ...
> > So long and thanks for all the fish.
> >
> > tom
>
>
> Uhmm, I sort of feel responsible for all this, if I'd just kept my big
> mouth shut.... Guys, can we drop this? I really should have taken a
> minute longer to think about it before I fired off that first email.

Your posting and the subsequent responses were just the icing on the
cake. For me, it started with my thread just a few days ago. The
good-natured responses/suggestions were drowned out by the fanatics.

later,
tom


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Old 02-23-2009, 05:28 PM
Bart Silverstrim
 
Default Why do people detest top posting so much?

Thomas Wolf wrote:
> Bart et al,
>
> On 02/23/2009 10:54 AM, Bart Silverstrim wrote:
>> ...
>> Well...while I would remind people that many believe extremists should
>> be shot, the "telling" part is more or less noticing a potential
>> trend...I'm just pointing out that there is a potentially valid
>> observation mixed in with the pointed jab, that's all.
>>
> Making insulting jabs/generalizations on the basis of just 2 data points
> serves no purpose other than to upset people. What exactly can Derek
> "tell" about me based on the fact that I posted in HTML?

C'mon thomas...calm down with me a little, okay? I'm pointing out a
rational point. While you can't draw a definitive conclusion from the
observation, he was observing that people who were "pro top posting"
were also using HTML mail. What conclusion people draw from that was
implication...provocative, yes, but still not worth having a wiener war
on the forums over.

Derek's abrasive, but he's a frequent contributor on the list.

>Same thing
> with Noberto's remark about people "from Outlook" feeling top-posting is
> better

This was observed before. Outlook defaulted to both HTML mail messages
(and vulnerabilities since it used IE's rendering engine) and also
defaulted for *top posting*. Lazy posters didn't edit the postings or
trim them, just hit "reply" and start typing. Outlook was a defacto
standard in businesses so..boingo...Outlooker's tended to be top
posters. Netscape's earlier clients had settings for posting at the
bottom by default.

>and, even sillier, that "...they think Windows is better than
> Linux..." These guys are able to discern *so much* just from the fact
> that someone top-posts or someone forgets to suppress HTML generation.
> I'm surprised not to see them on Geraldo making prognostications for a
> living!

Tell it to grocery stores. Or any retailer. Or advertiser. They use
statistics and trends to get you to buy more and influence your opinion.
You can argue against it all you want but it's a known effect.

> It's attitudes like this that turn some people off Linux.

Enthusiasts aren't turned off by this any more than the average (and
majority) user of Windows truly loves the OS. They're largely unaware of it.

If any geek or power user can't stand using the forums they'll either
find another route or move on to the next thing to grab their interest.
Not really worth losing sleep over. It's like saying people won't drive
anymore because of the a-holes cutting them off and driving recklessly.

> For the record, I'm not a Windows user. I've used UNIX/Solaris for more
> than 30 years. In the old usenet days, people preferred bottom-posting
> and the newsgroup readers automatically put you in the editor at the end
> of the message. Not much thinking required. I don't remember anyone
> ever making a big stink when someone did top-post, though.

*shrug* this ties to the point about Outlook earlier.

> Then I come to this mailing list to ask a question about my Ubuntu 8.10
> X server dying (yes, I'm somewhat of a newbie with respect to Linux)
> and, instead of getting answers, I get slammed for top-posting and, for
> good measure, for posting in HTML.

I don't know if you were slammed for it...I didn't see it...but I have
often seen people put in a terse note not to do it in the future. Asking
for more info on it no doubt sparked more, though, because if you look
in the list, it's a CONSTANT problem. People get tired of having to
reiterate it all the time so it is a sensitive topic when someone stirs
the next again. I realize since you're new here that it's a new
experience for you but trust me...it's something that periodically comes
up here.

> I don't need this. I'll let younger people ask their questions on this
> mailing list and take their lumps. I'll just google for potential
> answers. If I don't find them, I'll just file a bug.
>
> So long and thanks for all the fish.

Bah. You'll look back and calm down and decide it really wasn't that
bad. You just happened to rub a raw wound on the lists. There are plenty
here that will still help or try to help you, they're just asking for
you to post according to the local rules. I wouldn't be surprised if
NoOp even emailed you privately. I honestly don't know when that guy sleeps.

I'd ask that you just give it another chance, maybe lurk a bit and get a
feel for the place. If you decide not to participate fine and dandy. But
I think you just got a rocky intro. Don't let the one bad experience
turn you off to it when there are plenty of good people here willing to
assist still.

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Old 02-23-2009, 05:42 PM
Derek Broughton
 
Default Why do people detest top posting so much?

Pete Clapham wrote:

> Derek Broughton wrote:
>> Odzangba K. Dake wrote:
>>
>>
>>> Ok, I just have to ask... what is so wrong with it. I admit that I
>>
>> As my standard response says:
>>
>> "Please don't top-post. It makes it hard to have a conversation".
>>
>> Conversations are "he said... she said...". Reversing it confuses
>> people.
>>
> May I humbly point out that if you're actually following the
> conversation, you've read the previous messages.

May I, not nearly so humbly, point out that you have no right to expect that
on a mailing list or newsgroup?

In business mails - print or email - the idea of writing a response with the
prior messages following (stapled to the back in the case of print), is
reasonable, because you have a right to expect that the people who've been
involved _have_ read it, and if they weren't involved from the start
they're expected to familiarize themselves.

This isn't something I do as a job - we're all volunteers, and the least you
can do is make sure that we can find enough context to be able to follow
the conversation.

> Bottom posting forces
> you to go through all that again until you find the answer you're
> interested in. Top posting makes it easier to continue a conversation.

As I continually point out, nobody likes bottom posting either.
Top-posters always believe that it's an either/or situation. You quote as I
am here, otherwise your posts simply won't be read.

> May I also humbly point out that each listserve has its own customs.
> /Every/ other listserve that I am involved in prefers to top-post

You belong to some very odd lists. The only computer-related lists I've
_ever_ read where top-posting is even close to a norm are for Plone - and
that's because there are two or three people we can't afford to ignore who
can't be bothered to behave politely.

> because it makes communication easier. If this one prefers bottom
> posting, then fine. But to suggest that top-posting is somehow bad and
> snapping at people for it is, shall we say, inappropriate at best.

To even remotely suggest that top-posting is good is inappropriate at best.
This argument has been, literally, going on for decades, and it's always a
minority of mean-spirited egotists who insist that the rest of us are
wrong. They usually hang around for a week or two, and then go away
because we won't change to accomodate them.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:44 PM
Derek Broughton
 
Default Why do people detest top posting so much?

Bart Silverstrim wrote:

> Telling them they should be shot instead of just filtering their
> messages is inappropriate.

Now, now - I never threatened to shoot anyone for top-posting. It was the
HTML...
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