[OS X TeX]

Christopher Menzel cmenzel at tamu.edu
Mon Dec 11 12:35:42 EST 2006

On Mon 11 Dec, at Mon 11 Dec 9:50 , Themis Matsoukas wrote:

> On Dec 11, 2006, at 9:33 AM, Christopher Menzel wrote:
>> A: Because it interrupts the natural flow of a conversation.
>> Q: Why should one avoid top-posting?
>> :-)
> I always took exception with the logic of this pop argument --not  
> with the principle of top posting itself, but with the specific  
> argument that is used to justify it: if the human brain can resolve  
> the inverted A/Q puzzle so easily, the "unnatural" flow of  
> conversation (from A to Q) is no impediment to communication.

Well, I think this takes the argument a little too literally. :-)  Of  
course it is easy to resolve a simple two-line "inverted" exchange.   
What the argument illustrates -- successfully, IMO -- is that even   
simple exchanges require additional time and effort to process when  
conversational turns are out of order.  It's pretty easy from there  
to extrapolate to the wasted effort involved in parsing a top posted  
message in which numerous assertions are even more disconnected from  
relevant sections of quoted source.  So I think the little argument  
serves pretty effectively to make the general point that email  
discussions work *best* when they reflect the temporal flow of an  
actual conversation.

Chris Menzel

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