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strathspey@strathspey.org:44256

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  • Anselm Lingnau

    Anselm Lingnau Feb. 14, 2006, 12:51 p.m. (Message 44256)

    ADMINISTRIVIA: Quoting (again!)

    I have had a number of complaints recently which asked me to raise this issue 
    with the »full weight of my authority« (whatever that may be).
    
    When people reply to previous postings on the Strathspey list, there is a 
    strong propensity for them to quote much of the message they're replying to. 
    (This is aided and abetted by the unmentionable software that many of us are 
    forced to use, mostly for lack of (awareness of) suitable alternatives, and 
    by the fact that everyone else does it too, so it must be a good thing.)
    
    The style one commonly sees is:
    
      From: xxx@xxx
      Subject: Re: Foobar
    
      I agree completely!
    
      Xxx
    
      -----Original Message-----
      From: xxxx@xxxx
      Subject: Foobar
    
      ... 250 lines of good stuff about Foobar ...
    
    When the next person replies this becomes
    
      From xxxx@xxxx
      Subject: Re: Foobar
    
      I don't!
    
      -----Original Message-----
      From: xxx@xxx
      Subject: Re: Foobar
    
      I agree completely!
    
      Xxx
    
      -----Original Message-----
      From: xxxx@xxxx
      Subject: Foobar
    
      ... 250 lines of good stuff about Foobar ...
    
    and so on, and so on. This becomes even worse when people insist on quoting 
    *all* of the Strathspey Digest when they just want to reply to one message 
    out of it, because, owing to the fact that a digest is sent out when »enough« 
    material seems to have been accumulated, it results in issues of the digests 
    that consist mostly of previous issues of the digest.
    
    Now this has been mentioned over and over before and I realise that bringing 
    it up again has a chance of lasting success approximately equal to helping 
    good old Sisyphus roll that rock of his up the mountain, but here goes:
    
      WHEN YOU ARE REPLYING TO A MESSAGE, PLEASE QUOTE *ONLY* THE INTERESTING
      BITS AND ESPECIALLY BE SURE, AND I MEAN B..... D... *SURE*, NOT TO STICK
      *ALL* OF THE DOZEN PRECEDING MESSAGES AT THE END OF YOURS IN THEIR
      ENTIRETY.
    
      YES. THIS APPLIES TO *YOU*.
    
    (Note that I have been asked to be subtle, so »subtle« you get. Don't force me 
    to become obvious or overbearing :^))
    
    Now that I have got this off my chest, and for those of you who haven't been 
    around for so long, here's how you should quote material from previous 
    postings, in the spirit of the example above. It is also worth mentioning 
    here that quoting *something* from the message you're replying to is a good 
    idea in principle, because it puts your reply in context. This applies 
    particularly to those people who insist on using mail readers that are so 
    terminally broken that they don't add »In-Reply-To« or »References« headers 
    to reply messages, so the Archive software can't put their replies in their 
    proper place with respect to the rest of a thread of discussion. You only 
    need to think of Richard Goss's replies, which if they're not five pages long 
    are often short, to the point, and making it quite impossible to find out 
    what they're actually in answer to.
    
    Try something along the lines (sic!) of:
    
      From: xxx@xxx
      Subject: Re: Foobar
    
      xxxx@xxxx wrote:
    
      > Foobar is the coolest thing ever.
    
      I agree completely!
    
      Xxx
    
    This makes it easy to tell just *what* the person is agreeing with, shows the 
    context very concisely without forcing the reader to scroll down to find who 
    wrote the preceding message, and leaves out 249 lines of probably interesting 
    but nevertheless extraneous, for the purposes of writing a reply, material. 
    Chances are that people reading this messages will still have access to the 
    one this is a reply to, either in their inboxes or else in the Strathspey 
    Archive.
    
    Anselm
    -- 
    Anselm Lingnau, Frankfurt, Germany ..................... xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    Anyone who requires that all their software use only one mouse button when you
    have at least 4 useful fingers on your mousing hand is definitely a masochist.
                                                                  -- Paul D. Smith
          

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