[erlang-questions] Announcing Erlang.org Code of Conduct

Vincent de Phily <>
Wed Mar 18 19:43:41 CET 2015


TL;DR: On a mailing list, if you're not quoting inline, it's better to not 
quote at all. Include only your own text instead of top-posting.


On Wednesday 18 March 2015 16:32:52 Joe Armstrong wrote:
> I like top posts:
> 
> Why:
> 
> 1) People have short span of attention - they only read the first few
> lines, then decide whether they want to read the rest. I know for a fact
> that people follow links near the top of my blogs and not near the end - the
> stuffs so boring they don't get to the end.
[...]
> 4) The topmost posting is often the most interesting and an indication
> that a topic is worth of a discussion.

By that reasoning, nobody is going to read the quote at the bottom, so you 
might as well leave it. This is not a rhetoric suggestion, but real advice. 
Including the whole previous text as a block after your own doesn't provide 
any advantage anyway, that's what archives are here for.

It's actually detrimental, because some people (me included) will waste time 
sifting through the whole blob to see if some of it was used as a quote for 
further discussion as opposed to just copy-pasted whole. Gmail's long-standing 
html quoting bug (the first line of the new text begins with '>') make things 
even more fun.


> 2) Interleaving replies with previously posted text often results in a
> mess where it's impossible to see who said what, especially if their are
> multiple interleaving. I have recently heard of deliberate manipulation of
> previously published text, in attempt to manipulate a discussion.

The whole purpose of "proper quoting" is to make the discussion clearer. If 
you end up writing/quoting a tangled mess you've failed at that task and it 
wasn't proper quoting. Good quoting sometimes require reflowing text inside 
the quotes to make it readable (just as I did here; a good mailer helps).

The alternative you suggest, writing at the top and copy-pasting the whole 
previous thread below, doesn't help readability at all.


>  Separately posted articles makes it clear who said what and the
> postings can be digitally signed

This is a mailling list with archives, if you want to check who said what, 
check the archives instead of trying to parse the tangled mess of 20 replies 
that included the whole original message at the bottom.



-- 
Vincent de Phily



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