[OS X TeX] Re: [OS X TeX]

Michael Kubovy kubovy at virginia.edu
Mon Dec 11 20:11:10 EST 2006

On Dec 11, 2006, at 11:10 AM, Victor Ivrii wrote:

> On 12/11/06, Themis Matsoukas <matsoukas at psu.edu> 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.
> I suspect that it is actually a test: if the poster cannot learn not
> to top-post then probably the reader who can read the unnatural flow
> should not bother to read since he/she is probably more smarter than
> the poster :-).
> More seriously, question proceeds the answer. Sure one can read in any
> random order but it requires a bit more efforts and time and the
> poster should try to spare the readers time rather than his/her own
> since there are many readers of each post but just one poster.

I have yet to see decisive arguments for bottom-posting. The  
following should not be construed as an attempt to provide a decisive  
argument in favor of top posting; but it is an argument against  

If one is following a thread, one might have in mind the preceding  
messages in the conversation. In such a case the repetition of the  
previous message(s) at the top --- especially in the fourth message  
in a thread --- could conceivably be inefficient for the reader. One  
might think of a top-posted message as one that puts the news first  
and provides a reminder of the conversation as a sequence of nested  
footnotes, as it were. A conscientious top poster might consider  
starting his/her post by summarizing the argument so far, or at least  
use an introductory topic sentence, and perhaps consider avoiding  
indexical references to previous posts (e.g., "this argument" rather  
than "the argument that ... ").
Professor Michael Kubovy
University of Virginia
Department of Psychology
USPS:     P.O.Box 400400    Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400
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         McCormick Road    Charlottesville, VA 22903
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Fax:        +1-434-982-4766
WWW:    http://www.people.virginia.edu/~mk9y/

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