OT Annoying Habits (Was: when format strings attack)

Steven D'Aprano steve at REMOVE.THIS.cybersource.com.au
Sat Jan 20 03:22:52 CET 2007

On Fri, 19 Jan 2007 12:20:26 -0800, Carroll, Barry wrote:

> It took me about 3 seconds to realize that Mr. D'Aprano' Q&A session was
> laid out bottom-to-top instead of top-to-bottom.  After that, it made
> perfect sense.

Three seconds, compared to about thirty milliseconds if it were written in
the normal fashion. That's an inefficiency of about two orders of
magnitude. Multiply that by a few hundred news posts and emails that you
might read in a day, and, well, I think that makes it a big deal. That
means top posting is to effective communication what exchange-sort is to

I use the analogy advisably: just as there is overhead to quicksort that
makes it slower for sufficiently small lists, so there is overhead to
in-line posting that makes top posting easier for the reader under quite
restricted circumstances: you're reading the posts in order, and the
entire thread (or at least the relevant parts of it) are still in short
term memory.

> While it was a excellent way to demonstrate his
> argument, it failed to prove his point, because, while top-to-bottom may
> be the way he reads things, it isn't the way _everyone_ reads things.  

There are, as far as I know, no human languages that write from the
bottom of the page upwards.

But even if there are such languages, we're on an English language
newsgroup, not Martian, and so we should (whenever possibly) adapt English
> So, as far as I'm concerned, post your posts in whatever manner works
> for you.  If it's in English, I'll figure it out.  If not, well, there's
> always Babelfish.   ;^)

Or perhaps I should say:

hsilgnE tpada )ylbissop revenehw( dluohs ew os dna ,naitraM ton ,puorgswen
egaugnal hsilgnE na no er'ew ,segaugnal hcus era ereht fi neve tuB


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