[Mailman-Users] The "right" way to reply to a mailing list
pshute at nuw.org.au
Tue Mar 24 22:34:32 CET 2015
Laura Creighton wrote:
> A lot of the time, what you really want is to get rid of all
> of the quoted material altogether. A bit of usenet history
> is of interest here. In the very old days, we didn't have a
> way to quote any mail at all. We didn't have threads, either.
> This happened often enough that several of us decided that it
> would be a good idea to put quoting into the mail and news
> readers we were using at the time. And I am one of the
> people who did so. And it made certain things infinitely
> more convenient.
> This sort of point-by-point dressing down really had only one
> counterpart in face-to-face communication -- where a Superior
> dresses down a Subordinate, in front of an audience. The
> main purpose of such things has nothing to do with the
> Subordinate that got the dressing down, but everything to do
> with maintaining the Superior's authority and making the
> audience quiver in their boots (while thanking God that they
> weren't getting the chewing out).
> So, unsurprisingly, people who had made tiny errors in
> understanding or interpretation flipped right out at what
> they perceived as bucket-loads of nitpicking contempt hurled
> at them for no particularly good reason, by a person whose
> authority they didn't recognise. It was also widely
> condemned as a way to impose a hierarchical structure on
> something that had hitherto been working in a rather flat,
> equalitarian manner. And it had a chilling effect on whether
> people who were young, new and trying to learn things were
> willing to post their current thoughts on a matter.
Thanks for that bit of reply style history! I've only been using email since quoting became a common feature, so I never saw this before and after effect. Have you seen a reduction in this "dressing down" style of reply since top-posting became common?
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