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RE: [WAI-IG] list policies (top posting for vision impairments)

From: Derek Featherstone <feather@wats.ca>
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 14:31:56 -0500
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <0f9c01c3fefa$b1927370$fe01a8c0@faottcan001>

David Wooley wrote about older email conventions and Compuserve and Prodigy:
> As a result, at least for small articles, there was no quoting at all;
> if you needed context, you just followed the thread backwards.

Exactly. I guess part of my bias towards quote first, respond second is
founded on the belief that I should only quote the part of the message to
which I am responding. This is for two reasons: 1. because it clearly
establishes the issue to which I am responding, and 2. because I see no need
to waste bandwidth including parts that don't apply to my response. Most
email clients and thread based list software such as used on this list have
built in mechanisms to relate messages with appropriate threading, which is
really the key to all of this.

If you view the full headers of a message on this list, you'll see this:
X-Archived-At:
http://www.w3.org/mid/200402291834.i1TIYSZ00719@djwhome.demon.co.uk

(that message likely isn't archived online yet, but that is the message id
of the message to which I am respsonding)

These references that are buried in the messages themselves carry semantic
meaning, as they take care of the threading, what order the messages are to
be seen in the threads, and the "nested" branching of all responses within a
thread. (Think of them as <link rel="next"> and <link rel="prev"> for email
discussions)

In my mind, there is no need to include the full message as we so often see
with top-posting, and that is part of the thinking behind trimming posts and
only including the relevant parts -- full context is available for those
that need it through message headers, but you still provide the portions
that are relevant through a small quote, as necessary.

Given that, if you are going to top post, does it make sense to include
*any* of the original at all? Again, a serious question -- to me, if we have
enough semantic information that we can get at the context through smart
email clients and properly threaded and branched discussion list software,
then lets save the bandwidth that is usually wasted by top posting.

If you are in the mood to see where top-posting goes horribly wrong, check
out this sample thread in the archives at the Wrox forums. Warning: this
will be hard to follow as almost everyone involved in the thread was top
posting. This renders the thread pretty much useless and an utter waste of
bandwidth, both at the time of the discussion and now, while viewing the
archives online: http://p2p.wrox.com/archive/asp_databases/2003-01/23.asp

Best regards,
Derek.
--
Derek Featherstone  feather@wats.ca
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
http://www.wats.ca   1.866.932.4878 (North America)
Received on Sunday, 29 February 2004 14:36:38 UTC

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