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

Richard A. O'Keefe ok@REDACTED
Thu Mar 26 04:07:03 CET 2015

On 25/03/2015, at 8:14 pm, Bengt Kleberg <bengt.kleberg@REDACTED> wrote:
> To me the good part with top posting is the knowledge that nobody is editing the quoted part.

But how do you *get* that knowledge?
The mere fact that something looks like a top posting
is no guaranteed that the quoted material hasn't been

Nor do I believe that editing per se is in any way
wrong or unhelpful.  As long as quoted material is
clearly quoted, and is not distorted, reducing it
is *helpful*.  It directs the reader's attention to
the part(s) that the 2nd poster is actually responding to.

> To trawl carefully through the quoted content in a top post message looking for added content is futile. If there is more content it is not a top post.

Yes, but it's not as if top posts arrived in purple
and inline annotation arrived in green.  You can't be
*sure* that a top post *is* a top post until you have

My memory may be deceiving me, but I believe I've seen
several messages in this very list where I nearly missed
some additional comment because it started out *looking*
like a top post.

> There might be statistics that show how top posters write with less effort than inline commentors. That I have not heard of it does not prove anything. But I much prefer a effortless email that is helpful,

One of the arguments that has been made in this thread,
and not as far as I know disputed, is that many people
these days top-post without thinking about it because
many modern MUAs make top-posting particularly easy.

(For what it's worth, I am using Apple Mail version
7.3 (1878.6), released last year, and in-line annotation
is perfectly straightforward.  But I have inadequate
knowledge of other modern MUAs to make general claims.)

It is conceivable that such messages might be helpful;
I have no statistics on this either.  Only anecdotal
evidence that I've seen top-posted messages in several
mailing lists that their authors followed up with an
"oops, sorry, I didn't fully read what I was responding to."
I don't recall seeing such follow-ups for inline-annotated
messages.  That's just an impression from a memory that's
like a sieve with holes in it.

It would be interesting if someone with time on their hands
investigated to see if top posted messages *were* noticeably
helpful.  And it's not as if it were the least bit *hard* to
annotate in-line.

To me, one issue is that in-line annotation provides
evidence that the person writing the new comments has
at least given every part of the message they are
responding to a chance to pass by their eyeballs; they
might just possibly have read it.

There is also the helpfulness issue that each item of
reply is right next to the thing it's a reply *to*;
this makes it much easier for me to understand an
inline-annotated message than a top-posted one.

As I moderate no mailing list, my opinions have as much
force as a politician's promise.   But I shall continue
to value inline-annotated messages more highly than
top-posted ones.

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