Off topic: What is "top posting"?

What is "top posting" and why is it considered bad form?

···

--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.

This is top posting.

Brad Peek wrote:

What is "top posting" and why is it considered bad form?

And this is bottom posting.

There are different etiquette guidelines for each list. Some of it's personal opinion. I personally like bottom because when you read the thread you can see where things fit together as far as the back and forth and you see the big picture of the collaboration the thread brings.

This is, and it is so considered because many people find it confusing to read the answer before the question.

Brad Peek wrote:

···

What is "top posting" and why is it considered bad form?

--
       vjoel : Joel VanderWerf : path berkeley edu : 510 665 3407

Is it because is it considered bad form that you came to this mailing list?

···

On 8/31/06, Brad Peek <brad_peek@yahoo.com> wrote:

What is "top posting" and why is it considered bad form?

--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.

What is "top posting" and why is it considered bad form?

--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.

Responding Like This.
> What is top posting?

It's confusing and makes it harder to follow a thread.

···

On Aug 31, 2006, at 11:57 PM, Brad Peek wrote:
> Why is it considered bad form?

What is "top posting" and why is it considered bad form?

What an interesting set of "answers" you are getting, eh?

Let me provide a bit more detail, and some history, to put it
into better perspective. (Okay... a *lot* more!)

First, "top posting" is a valid description of that style, but
"bottom posting" confuses people as to what it means. It does
*not* mean to quote an entire article and then place a response
after the entire quote. (That is called "Stupid posting"!)

Keep in mind that Usenet was begun in late 1979 by programmers,
and that at the time they mostly had 300 baud modems to tranfer
messages, using the Unix-Unix-Copy-Protocol (UUCP). The
essential ingredients are that each message cost money by the
minute to transmit, and it happens as a batch process done late
at night. (It cost money! And the other guy answered the next
day, and two days later you got to read his response.)

Many of the messages were very technical, it was highly academic
in style, and initially not very "social" as such. And Usenet
was populated mostly by people who were exceedingly logical,
often to a fault.

The style that very quickly became *clearly* the best, also
related to the very common practice of long running threads that
referenced comments made over a series of exchanges, some of
which were important in context and some of which were not.

The "basic rules" becames,

  1) Delete all quoted text unnecessary to the point you are
     making.

  2) Prefix each line of quoted text with a '>' character, and
     mark each level of quoted text with an initial attribution
     line that identifies who authored each level. That results
     in a long running exchange that follows this form:

         John Doe III wrote:
         >Jane Doe III wrote:
         >>Joe Blow wrote
         >>>Jane Que wrote
         >>>
         >>>>My name is Jane,
         >>>>the sun is up.
         >>>>
         >>>Well my name is Joe, and
         >>>the sun is down here.
         >>>
         >>My name is also Jane,
         >>what is a sun?
         >>
         >I'm John Doe, who
         >is Jane?

         My response to all of that goes here.

   3) Not obvious from item 2) is that this format is applied at
      a minimum to _paragraphs_, but often to sentences or even
      just to individual lines or fragments. Very rarely should
      there be multiple paragraphs retained as quoted text with
      a comment at the bottom referencing anything more than a
      paragraph above where it is placed.

        A) The other paragraphs should either be deleted, or

        B) The comment that references other paragraphs should
           be immediately below the referenced paragraph.

The whole point is to reduce the size of the message to a
minimum (which reduced the cost to transmit it around the
country) and to maintain a geographic relationship between a
comment and the relevant quoted text that it applies to, which
in turn provides the reader with a temporal relationship that is
both ordered (read the "question" before the "answer") and
uncluttered by intervening material.

One of the primary reasons for all of the above, but
particularly for that temporal relationship, was simply that in
virtually all cases a response would be read *two day later*, at
a minimum. A secondary reason was that the typical Usenetizen
was indeed academic, and typically well aware that there were
other environments where one might read a message than just the
one that the writer was experiencing. It is therefore incumbent
upon the *writer* to transfer as much environment and as little
ambiguity as possible.

Today we have major differences in the participants and the
mechanisms being used. These differences do not necessarily
negate the advantages of the format that was worked out, but
they make it less likely that a person new to Usenet will
quickly see the point of using the apparently quirky "Usenet
Format".

The need for brevity as a cost saving factor is no longer
applicable, other than as an certain bit of aesthetics.

Readers using Google Groups, or even a Web Browser and an NNTP
server, simply will not realize that their reading environment
is *different* than many others. They do not imagine that what
appears to make "paragraphs" quite visibly distinct on their
screen has exactly the opposite effect on the readers that a
majority of the readers will use, as one example.

Likewise Usenet, way way back in the good old days *very*
quickly moved away from a strickly business atmosphere, and
became a social event too. Today's average Usenet writer is not
an academic, and may or may not be more logical, artistic, or
simply dull too! Hence we see all sorts of not particularly
"smart" posts, just as we do with all walks of life.

Top Posting has become acceptable in some places... but you
should never forget that it also marks the writer as less than
astute. It messes up the temporal relationship for readers who
did not just immediately read the previous referenced message.
It also makes following the attributions of a multiexchange
thread difficult.

Stick with an /appropriate/ formatting style, and write with the
assumption that a reader who will see your article 20 years from
now will be your child or grandchild.

···

Brad Peek <brad_peek@yahoo.com> wrote:

--
Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) floyd@apaflo.com

John Gabriele wrote:

Is it because is it considered bad form that you came to this mailing
list?

Not sure I understand your question. I had read a post in this forum
where someone was asked not to top-post, and I had seen that term
elsewhere so I thought I'd ask about it. I trust the question itself
isn't considered bad form, else I'm hard pressed to figure out what is
and isn't bad form.

···

--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.

I believe the canonical example goes a little something like this:

  A. It reverses the normal flow of conversation.
  Q. Why is it considered bad form?
  A. It's posting the answer above the question.
  Q. What is top posting?

···

On Fri, Sep 01, 2006 at 01:13:45PM +0900, Logan Capaldo wrote:

On Aug 31, 2006, at 11:57 PM, Brad Peek wrote:
>
>What is "top posting" and why is it considered bad form?

Responding Like This.
> What is top posting?

It's confusing and makes it harder to follow a thread.
> Why is it considered bad form?

--
CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ http://ccd.apotheon.org ]
print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);

John Gabriele wrote:

Is it because is it considered bad form that you came to this mailing
list?

He asked a meta-forum question in a forum for a language that supports
meta-programming. Makes perfect sense. Java forum readers couldn't have
dealt with the inherent multi-tiered complexity, for example.

···

--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.

Floyd L. Davidson wrote:

  2) Prefix each line of quoted text with a '>' character, and
     mark each level of quoted text with an initial attribution
     line that identifies who authored each level. That results
     in a long running exchange that follows this form:

         John Doe III wrote:
         >Jane Doe III wrote:
         >>Joe Blow wrote
         >>>Jane Que wrote
         >>>
         >>>>My name is Jane,
         >>>>the sun is up.
         >>>>
         >>>Well my name is Joe, and
         >>>the sun is down here.
         >>>
         >>My name is also Jane,
         >>what is a sun?
         >>
         >I'm John Doe, who
         >is Jane?

         My response to all of that goes here.

   3) Not obvious from item 2) is that this format is applied at
      a minimum to _paragraphs_, but often to sentences or even
      just to individual lines or fragments. Very rarely should
      there be multiple paragraphs retained as quoted text with
      a comment at the bottom referencing anything more than a
      paragraph above where it is placed.

I always wondered if an xml-like notation might catch on for this
instead. Yes, it's nice when your email client automatically adds the
'>'. And it look pretty good. But it certainly bites when that doesn't
happen or the lines get broken up in a odd manner. I would think
something like:

  <quote author="Floyd L. Davidson">
     2) Prefix each line of quoted text with a '>' character, and
        mark each level of quoted text with an initial attribution
        line that identifies who authored each level. That results
        in a long running exchange that follows this form:
  </quote>

Would be much easier for email clients to work with. They could easily
"pretty-print" these sections.

T.

Brad Peek wrote:

John Gabriele wrote:

Is it because is it considered bad form that you came to this mailing list?

Not sure I understand your question. I had read a post in this forum where someone was asked not to top-post, and I had seen that term elsewhere so I thought I'd ask about it. I trust the question itself isn't considered bad form, else I'm hard pressed to figure out what is and isn't bad form.

The question is obviously fine, and I don't grasp
what John G is saying.

Hal

Chad Perrin wrote:

···

On Fri, Sep 01, 2006 at 01:13:45PM +0900, Logan Capaldo wrote:

On Aug 31, 2006, at 11:57 PM, Brad Peek wrote:
>
>What is "top posting" and why is it considered bad form?

Responding Like This.
> What is top posting?

It's confusing and makes it harder to follow a thread.
> Why is it considered bad form?

I believe the canonical example goes a little something like this:

  A. It reverses the normal flow of conversation.
  Q. Why is it considered bad form?
  A. It's posting the answer above the question.
  Q. What is top posting?

You know, the problem I have with this answer is that in a forum, the
first post was posted first... And then the reply was posted, with the
first quoted. Before or after, it doesn't really matter, since I read
the first post first.

So maybe the example should be:

----

   Q. What is top posting?
   Q. Why is it considered bad form?

----

   A. It's posting the answer above the question.
   A. It reverses the normal flow of conversation.

  Q. What is top posting?
  Q. Why is it considered bad form?

----

It's still slightly confusing, but it's the way top posting really
happens.

--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.

I always wondered if an xml-like notation might catch on for this
instead. Yes, it's nice when your email client automatically adds the
'>'. And it look pretty good. But it certainly bites when that doesn't
happen or the lines get broken up in a odd manner. I would think
something like:

not at all. i use pine and/or mutt. vim is my editor for both. i can take
this section

instead. Yes, it's nice when your email client automatically adds the
'>'. And it look pretty good. But it certainly bites when that doesn't

highlight it visually using 'ctrl-v (movement keys)' and then format it with
'shift-f'. formatting is context sensitive and knows about email quoting,
line width, indenting, etc. therefore the output is

instead. Yes, it's nice when your email client automatically adds the '>'.
And it look pretty good. But it certainly bites when that doesn't

note that it knew what to do with the '>'

<quote author="Floyd L. Davidson">
    2) Prefix each line of quoted text with a '>' character, and
       mark each level of quoted text with an initial attribution
       line that identifies who authored each level. That results
       in a long running exchange that follows this form:
</quote>

Would be much easier for email clients to work with. They could easily
"pretty-print" these sections.

but you'd have to do something like this for literal xml:

   &lt;quote author=&quot;Floyd L. Davidson&quot;&gt;

ick! :wink:

regards.

-a

···

On Fri, 1 Sep 2006, Trans wrote:
--
what science finds to be nonexistent, we must accept as nonexistent; but what
science merely does not find is a completely different matter... it is quite
clear that there are many, many mysterious things.
- h.h. the 14th dalai lama

Trans wrote:

I always wondered if an xml-like notation might catch on for this
instead. Yes, it's nice when your email client automatically adds the
'>'. And it look pretty good. But it certainly bites when that doesn't
happen or the lines get broken up in a odd manner. I would think
something like:

If it ain't broke...

It would also horribly, terribly break backwards compatibility - mail clients that can't recognize the XML format would show it as such, and while YMMV, I'm very, very loathe to reading XML.

David Vallner

>>Is it because is it considered bad form that you came to this mailing
>>list?

The question is obviously fine, and I don't grasp
what John G is saying.

I don't grasp it either.

Thanks for asking, Brad: I didn't know, either, and I think it's good
to have these fundamental meta-questions asked every once in a while
to nudge the long-time users back to reality for a moment!

Cheers,

M.T.

Brad Peek wrote:
> John Gabriele wrote:
>
>>Is it because is it considered bad form that you came to this mailing
>>list?
>
> Not sure I understand your question. I had read a post in this forum
> where someone was asked not to top-post, and I had seen that term
> elsewhere so I thought I'd ask about it. I trust the question itself
> isn't considered bad form, else I'm hard pressed to figure out what is
> and isn't bad form.

The question is obviously fine, and I don't grasp
what John G is saying.

Hal

Doh. I'm sorry to waste your time guys. I shouldn't have been so
obscure. I thought it might be humorous and slightly instructive to
have the Emacs Psychiatrist answer Brad's question in top-posting
form, and was waiting for someone to come back top-posted again with
something like: "Does it bother you that is it considered bad form
that I came to this mailing list?". A la:

Earlier you said it's considered bad form?

> No, I came here to find out...
>
> > Is it because it's considered bad form that you came to me?
> >
> > > Well, I was just wondering why it's considered bad form.
> > >
> > > > Why do you say is top posting ok?
> > > >
> > > > > Is top-posting ok?

---John

···

On 9/1/06, Hal Fulton <hal9000@hypermetrics.com> wrote:

Chad Perrin wrote:

>
>What is "top posting" and why is it considered bad form?

Responding Like This.
> What is top posting?

It's confusing and makes it harder to follow a thread.
> Why is it considered bad form?

I believe the canonical example goes a little something like this:

  A. It reverses the normal flow of conversation.
  Q. Why is it considered bad form?
  A. It's posting the answer above the question.
  Q. What is top posting?

You know, the problem I have with this answer is that in a forum, the
first post was posted first... And then the reply was posted, with the
first quoted. Before or after, it doesn't really matter, since I read
the first post first.

This is not a "forum", it is Usenet. There are *many* different
reading environments, some of which are entirely different than
that presented in a "forum".

Writing to one specific environment is a fault. Writing in a
format that is more generally adaptable to other environments is
better style. Better style makes your articles more effective
as a communications medium.

Hence, the question is, are you writing therapeutic noise to
satisfy your ego, or are you trying to communicate with others?
Stick with what *you* see is what you get for therapy, but go
with what *others* will see for effective communciations.

It's still slightly confusing, but it's the way top posting really
happens.

It was more than just slightly confusing... :wink:

···

William Crawford <wccrawford@gmail.com> wrote:

On Fri, Sep 01, 2006 at 01:13:45PM +0900, Logan Capaldo wrote:

On Aug 31, 2006, at 11:57 PM, Brad Peek wrote:

--
Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) floyd@apaflo.com

Isn't the root of the disagreement the fact that some of us only use the
web portal and others choose to get the email version of the the list?

In a web forum setting, one typically reads down a thread from top to
bottom and only occasionally needs to reference the quoted stuff when
the context isn't clear from what they read up above.

I assume that when getting the new posting in an email it would be
frustrating to get a long answer out of context, followed by a quoted
question or part of somebody else's reply.

The real question is why isn't either the web version or the email
version clearly superior to everyone? The two are quite different
delivery systems, and yet there is no clear winner over time. We
continue to have VHS and Betamax for eternity. That's what strikes me
as odd.

jp

···

--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.

In addition, I actually use plaintext-only mail reading as a "security"
feature, re: both email viruses and spam.

···

On Sat, Sep 02, 2006 at 12:45:02AM +0900, David Vallner wrote:

Trans wrote:
>I always wondered if an xml-like notation might catch on for this
>instead. Yes, it's nice when your email client automatically adds the
>'>'. And it look pretty good. But it certainly bites when that doesn't
>happen or the lines get broken up in a odd manner. I would think
>something like:

If it ain't broke...

It would also horribly, terribly break backwards compatibility - mail
clients that can't recognize the XML format would show it as such, and
while YMMV, I'm very, very loathe to reading XML.

--
CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ http://ccd.apotheon.org ]
"It's just incredible that a trillion-synapse computer could actually
spend Saturday afternoon watching a football game." - Marvin Minsky

Doh. I'm sorry to waste your time guys. I shouldn't have been so
obscure. I thought it might be humorous and slightly instructive to
have the Emacs Psychiatrist answer Brad's question in top-posting
form, and was waiting for someone to come back top-posted again with
something like: "Does it bother you that is it considered bad form
that I came to this mailing list?". A la:

[snip snip]

Ahhh, I thought I detected Eliza in there.

No worries, I might have got it if I had had
less blood in my caffeine stream.

Hal