[OS X TeX] New Macros, new Engines, new TeXShop versions, and all that
amorton at fastmail.fm
Wed Feb 24 16:48:37 EST 2010
> And as the person who literally cited (part of) the "rules" (such as
> they are) -- it was not my intention to try to enforce anything; my
> point was that a) this discussion about the merits of top-posting
> has occurred once or twice before, and that b) the "rules", informed
> by those prior discussions, are actually quite flexible and
> pragmatic, advocating that the message be readable above all else.
Indeed. The problem seems to be that just about every email client
encourages bad style, by inviting the user to type a reply at the top
of a message with the full text of the original message below it.
This is appropriate for the forwarding of business correspondence
where it's normal practice to prepend some explanatory text, but it's
no way to carry on a conversation.
The golden rule is, it's proper to assume that anyone reading the
reply to a message has read the original message. This usually means
it's redundant to include any more than a couple of sentences of the
original, by way of jogging people's memory. Having edited down the
original message to one or two key sentences, the logical next step is
to put your reply beneath.
Of course there are situations where this is not appropriate. In some
rare cases there is a good reason to quote the original in its
entirety, and then it's easier for all concerned to put your own
contribution at the top, treating the original message as an
appendix. Good style is flexible. Unfortunately, I've seen too many
instances where I'm reading the same original message at length over
and over again in replies, when once was quite enough.
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