[CentOS] OT: Top Posting

Sat May 17 12:14:04 UTC 2008
William L. Maltby <CentOS4Bill at triad.rr.com>

On Fri, 2008-05-16 at 20:55 -0400, Matt Shields wrote:
> <snip>

> I think the thing that's annoying about top posting is explained with
> this example (grabbed from a Boston Linux & Unix Group signature).
> I'll have to admit when I'm not thinking about it, there have been a
> few times where I've top posted (bad habit from the corporate world),
> but if people would take 5 minutes to read a complete thread backwards
> with comments inserted in between other comments, it gets very
> confusing.  Bottom posting or posting in between comments makes sense.
> A: Yes.
> > Q: Are you sure?
> >> A: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation.
> >>> Q: Why is top posting annoying in email?

How did you get back on topic here? ;-)

Regardless, after wading through almost all of these posts and remaining
mum (in hopes that the futility of it all would eventually dawn on the
various contributors), I've been overwhelmed by an irrational desire to
address the underlying fundamentals of the "netiquette" for mailing
lists and forums.

Don't worry - I'll be very brief.

Snipping: origins were in bandwidth limitations (I was already
"seasoned" when 300 baud was blinding fast) of both the physical
infrastructure and users. For many, infrastructure limits are now
irrelevant, but for many, still relevant. SNIP PEOPLE!

Top posting vs. embedded or "bottom" posting: the human brain is a very
strong associative processor (my bad puns which you all have been spared
is proof positive of this). Context strongly assists that process.
Physical juxtaposition of related statements enhances context. All this
enhances comprehension, formulation of ideas and responses and

It also helps the bandwidth issues of human brains by making "scanning"
faster, more comprehensible and less error prone (witness the number of
times folks say "I should have read the whole thing first").


Regardless of the above, common courtesy *demands* that one respect the
accepted standards of their hosts. This is especially so when they
provide great value for no recompense and expend their time and energy
in support of *you*, their guest.

To do less is to be extremely self-centered, selfish and inconsiderate.
You increase their time consumption and effort by doing things, to suit
yourself, that increase their burden.

The same standards you would use when being a guest at someone's home
should apply here or in any similar venue.

Going off topic again here.

I'm of the same mind as KS. I jumped into the forums for awhile trying
to help others out. It was just too time consuming. The constant "point
and click", manually looking and selecting threads, "the fly-by
postings" all conspired to make me question both the value of what I
tried to contribute and the trade off of my time and energy.

Contrarily, the mailing lists presents to me, allows fast scan and
selection and processing, and I take a lot less time and energy
garnering the benefits. This makes me more prone to contribute. I
throttle the urge so as to avoid adding "chaff".

Searching the lists is easy regardless of the age of the topic (ditto
for the forums when I'm doing a google).

Preferred mailer": who really cares? That's pure personal preference.
Opinions only help expose others to options and therefore have some
value. But we all know that topic is peripheral to the main topic.

'Nuff said. I'm now going to delete all the rest of the posts related to
this thread without reading them.