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Re: netiquette (was Re: Newbie bull brings own china shop.)

On Mon, Mar 03, 2003 at 12:37:36PM -0800, Vineet Kumar wrote:
> * Brian Durant <durant@cbn.net.id> [20030227 22:10 PST]:
> > Sorry Kent, I tried posting after as a response and it sucks. I use 
> > spell checking and as most spell checkers are pretty dumb and start at 
> > the top, I end up having to correct or skip other people's misspelled 
> > words before I get to my own. The other way round, like I am doing now, 
> > I can stop the spell check at the end of my section. I accept your 
> spelling? their than important more not order words' Are
> If your spell-checker doesn't work, drop it.  The readers of this list
> (and the people most likely to help you) don't care if you mis-spell a
> few words, but do care that messages' texts are in logical, chronological
> order.

I use 'newsbody', from within vim.  It basically runs each message
through a 'egrep -v "^(>|\||})"' filter to remove quoted material.
Works very well for sensibly quoted material, but it'd probably choke on
stupid-outlook-quote-style messages.  I can't remember the last time I
replied to one of them though...Either way, it works great, and doesn't
mandate any sort of quoting style.  In summary: your client sucks :)

> The history of a thread will be stored in the threaded nature of the
> messages, and does not need to be tacked on in reverse-chronological
> order at the bottom of each message in the thread.  That way is
> wasteful, and gives headaches to the poor people who later find
> themselves reading umop-apisdn.

This is a very important point.  I try to help people to the best of my
ability on here, and the fact that the messages are archived encourages
me to put in a bit more effort, since I know people will be able to make
use of my suggestions long after the OP has forgotten he/she even forget
that they ever asked a question.

Top-posting reduces the effectiveness of the list, since it makes it
harder to follow the huge threads.  It's even harder on the archives,
since you don't have as much context available, and it's much harder to
get clarification from anyone involved.

> > response and respect your opinion, but this issue seems even less likely 
> > to go anywhere than the issue of trying to get people to stop cutting up 
> > the postings and interspersing their reply.

As Vineet says, this is the accepted way to reply.  It sure looks
unfriendly at first, but if you stick with it, you see just how
effective it...I can just read the entire message, and see your points,
Vineet's rebuttal of them, and then just insert mine in between,
trimming as appropriate.

Trimming is essential in such cases of course, otherwise the thread
spins out of control...I must say, though, that this seems like a much
bigger issue with the 'newer' members of the list, who top quote, and
leave the entire thread below their 3 line reply, rather than the folks
who use the 'interspersing reply' style.  At least with the
interspersion, it's easier to skim through messages, and read the
interesting bits.  ObMuttBoosting: I've setup mutt to colourise
different levels of quoting with different colours.  This makes heavily
nested and replied messages really pleasant to read :)

Like so many things in geek-circles, this is purely a functional issue.
No one's going to force you to do anything, including complying with
accepted 'netiquette', it just makes it harder to follow your mails, and
as a consequence, perhaps less likely that you'll get answers.

Another thing: if your mail client sucks, get another one :)  There are
dozens in Debian, all of which are Free and free.  Try them out!  mutt
is the old workhorse, and I've never seen anything better.  It Just
Works, and works bloody well; integrates with basically anything you can
think of, and is tiny: 539KB.  Mutt + procmail + exim is a killer combo
for me, and helps me deal with the ridiculous amount of mail I get every
day :)

If you prefer a GUI client, sylpheed and balsa seem to be good choices,
with an allegedly 'mutt-ish' feel.  Also, some people use Mozilla Mail,
but it seems to have some issues with effectively filtering list mail.
Evolution would be right out for me, since it seems to mangle GPG
signatures, which is highly Not Cool.

Hmmm, that turned into more of a rant than I'd intended, but hopefully
you get my point: netiquette exists for a reason, and you should think
of it more as a set of best-practice guidelines, fine-tuned over decades,
rather than a set of rules that have no relevance.

Rob Weir <rweir@ertius.org>				http://ertius.org/

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