[aur-general] [OT] how to post messages (was Re: espeakup's service file yet again lol)

Martti Kühne mysatyre at gmail.com
Tue Nov 19 02:58:41 EST 2013

You're so deep.
(sic! ref: [0])


[0] http://lists.suckless.org/dev/1311/18114.html

On Sun, Nov 17, 2013 at 2:34 AM, Kyle <kyle at gmx.ca> wrote:
> If someone has just joined the list and wants to read all the previous
> messages on a specific topic, I believe this list has an archive of all
> previous messages that can be read in whatever order makes sence to him
> or her. The previous messages can even be sorted by date or by thread,
> so that the conversation may be followed from beginning to end in order,
> hopefully without repetition. But what of those of us who have been on
> the list and are not new to the topic? Why should we be forced to scroll
> down through the same part of the conversation we just read, repeated
> over and over in each new message, before we finally find the answer to
> the question, which by this time is buried beneath tons and tons of
> minutia from all the messages that came before, including times, dates,
> e-mail addresses and under all that, the message we just read 4 times
> already? This is what happens when messages build upon each other
> anyway, but at least with a top-posted message, the most important part,
> the answer to the question, is in a prominent and highly visible place,
> right at the top where it can be seen quickly. If I then need to refer
> back to something previous because the answer is not clear enough to
> stand on its own, I am then free to look back at prior messages that
> will clarify the answer, or if prior messages are underneath, I am free
> to scroll down for clarification. It is important, however, that the
> answer clarify itself, so that new readers can easily deduce the
> question from the answer. This naturally prevents the same message
> needing to be posted over and over either at the top or at the bottom of
> the new important part of the conversation. I should note here that many
> e-mail clients automatically put messages into conversation or threaded
> format, and some of them even allow the reader to see the entire
> conversation in order from beginning to end. Many times, e-mail lists
> are archived in this way as well, similar to the layout of a web forum.
> It causes lots of trouble in these cases to have to dig through each
> message, through nested quote after nested quote to try to find the
> answer, only to give up, never finding the buried answer.
> Imagine a chat conversation that goes something like:
> Person1: I'm having a problem changing my password.
> Person2: Person1 said: "I'm having a problem changing my password." Did
> you try changing it using the passwd command in a terminal?
> Person1: Person2 said: "Person1 said: "I'm having a problem changing my
> password." Did you try changing it using the passwd command in a
> terminal?" I tried that, but I get an error message about my password
> being in the dictionary.
> The idea here is that each message gets larger and larger, and each
> subsequent message contains the entirety, or at least a sizeable portion
> of the first message, and every other message leading up to it. If this
> is hard to read in a chat room, it is even harder to read in e-mail,
> which rather than one-liners, is composed of multiple larger sentences,
> and I can't see any good that can come from attempting to dig through
> all the previous messages. Google already makes me dig for gold to get
> to the answer to a question based on what I put into the search box, why
> should simply trying to read an e-mail be even more of a challenge?
> Finally, I must come back to the ultimate solution. It is extremely
> important that the subject of a message reflect its content. For
> example, this message has nothing at all to do with an espeakup service
> file as the subject implies, but is rather a completely unrelated topic.
> Therefore, the subject of the message will reflect that it branched off
> the conversation about espeakup, just in case someone wonders why their
> e-mail client grouped it in the same place, but it will also indicate
> that the message is on a different topic entirely, and is in fact
> off-topic, not being related in any way to the discussion of espeakup,
> systemd service files, the AUR or even Arch Linux. Also, this specific
> message is clearly in reference to the religious war that seems to come
> up on e-mail lists from time to time regarding where to put the content
> of a new message. It usually starts by making someone feel like an idiot
> for not posting their message in a way that makes the person starting
> the flamewar happy. The problem is that each list is different, and each
> person who starts such a holywar has a different opinion, depending on
> the list where it starts. I need absolutely no quoting from previous
> messages to clarify my response, I only need to respond, because the
> initial post on the topic can be easily deduced by simply reading the
> response. While I agree that responses such as "+1," "I agree," and
> "Thanks" need some context, messages like this should generally be kept
> to a minimum, should quote *only* the small part of the message to which
> it applies rather than the entire message, and should generally add
> quite a bit more value to the discussion than simply saying that I agree
> with you. On the other hand, most answers can be given in a clear and
> concise way that doesn't have to refer back to the question, and
> certainly doesn't have to rewrite the entire conversation that led up to
> it. I don't see any problem with a Q&A style post that responds to
> multiple points by quoting each Q and following it up with an A, but in
> the case of a single question and single answer, or in the case of a
> single answer that addresses only one of the original questions, it
> looks much better, and saves much time for both the composer of a
> message and for readers to have separate messages that look like
> <message>
> Subject: message quoting
> Why is excessive quoting a bad idea in an e-mail message? What harm
> could it do to bottom post my answers?
> </message>
> <message>
> Subject: Re: message quoting
> excessive quoting in e-mail messages makes them harder to read, because
> readers are forced to read the same thing over and over before they can
> find the answer to their question.
> </message>
> rather than to have a conversation that looks like
> <message>
> Subject: message quoting
> What is the best way to answer a question on an e-mail list?
> </message>
> <message>
> Subject: Re: message quoting
> On Saturday, 16 November 2013 at 23:36, List Poster
> <iaskquestions at gmail.com> wrote:
> > What is the best way to answer a question on an e-mail list?
> Bottom post. Put your answer below the original text of the message to
> which you are replying.
> </message>
> <message>
> Subject Re: message quoting
> On Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 5:55 PM, First Responder
> >answerman at plstmstern.net> wrote:
> > On Saturday, 16 November 2013 at 23:36, List Poster
> <iaskquestions at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > What is the best way to answer a question on an e-mail list?
> >
> > Bottom post. Put your answer below the original text of the message
> > to which you are replying.
> _1.
> </message>
> In summary, make your subject line reflect the content of the message.
> Usually, replying is enough, but if the message strays too far from the
> topic of conversation, make the subject line reflect this. Refer back to
> the subject of this message for an example.  Keep quoting to an absolute
> minimum, and if quoting, rather than top or bottom posting, answer the
> quoted question inline, and only quote the usually very small parts of
> the message that are relevant to the answers. However, the best possible
> posting style is to write the post in such a way where no quoting is
> necessary. Make the answer to the question stand on its own, clearly and
> concisely providing an answer that new readers will find useful, either
> paraphrasing the question within the answer, or making every effort to
> make it possible to very easily deduce the question from the answer. One
> more thing: if you find that you must quote, edit that very long
> attribution line. When lots of dates and times from different time zones
> come together, it only serves to confuse readers. It is probably
> sufficient to edit the attribution so that it looks like "Person wrote""
> "According to Postman Pete," or similar short, catchy if desired,
> attribution line. Hope this helps.
> ~Kyle
> http://kyle.tk/
> --
> "Kyle? ... She calls her cake, Kyle?"
> Out of This World, season 2 episode 21 - "The Amazing Evie"

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