OT Annoying Habits (Was: when format strings attack)

Roel Schroeven rschroev_nospam_ml at fastmail.fm
Sat Jan 20 17:05:26 CET 2007


Carroll, Barry schreef:
> Secondly, can someone point me to the Standard Usenet Convention that
> mandates against top-posting.  This is not sarcasm; I would really like
> to see it.  You see, I recently returned to Usenet after a LONG absence.
> When I was last a regular Usenet citizen the Internet was new, GUI
> interfaces were experimental and the World Wide Web didn't exist yet.
> Newsreader software was text-based.  Top-posting was the common
> practice, because it was the most convenient: you didn't have to page
> through an arbitrarily large number of messages, most of which you'd
> already read umpteen times, to get to the new stuff you were interested
> in.  

I started to use the Internet and Usenet around 1992 or 1993, and at the 
time 'Netiquette' was a very common word. Amongst others it recommends 
inline replying (as opposed to both top-posting and bottom-posting), in 
spirit if not in exact wording.

The Wikipedia article on Netiquette 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netiquette) mentions it with as many words:
"Quoting should be interspersed, with a response that follows the 
relevant quoted material. The result should read like a conversation, 
with quotes indented to aid in skimming. A common mistake is to put all 
new text above the quoted material, without trimming any irrelevant 
text. This results in a message that is much harder to follow and is 
much less clear in context."

All groups I read at the time used that convention. In my experience it 
was only in more recent times that people started to use top-posting, 
and then only in newsgroups, forums, etc. that didn't originate in the 
original Internet culture.

> So I'd really like to know what the standard is now.  I like to know
> which rules I'm choosing to break.  ;^)

You could do worse than RFC 1855 (http://www.dtcc.edu/cs/rfc1855.html) 
and the above mentioned Wikipedia article. Both cover many other issues 
regarding online behavior. There's also 
http://wiki.ursine.ca/Top_Posting which just covers quoting practices.

But note that inline replying isn't as wide-spread as I think it ought 
to be. Places that don't have roots in Internet or Unix culture are much 
more likely to accept and even encourage top-posting.

-- 
If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood
on the shoulders of giants.  -- Isaac Newton

Roel Schroeven



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