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Re: [WAI-IG] Top posting. An attempted summary

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2004 07:57:50 -0500
Message-ID: <004901c3ff8c$ce42bb50$6401a8c0@handsontech>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Good capture Dave,  I think that almost every method of posting has its
problems.  I'm interleaving my comments below your summary points marked
with <poehlman>

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <David.Pawson@rnib.org.uk>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Monday, March 01, 2004 3:48 AM
Subject: RE: [WAI-IG] Top posting. An attempted summary



I've changed the subject, since it appears that top posting impacts
sighted users as well.

My view of a summary.

1. top posting can greatly increase volume, and some users still pay for
bandwidth.
<poehlman> While true, it is not more or less volume producing than other
untrimmed posting.

2. Replying in context. If an email has multiple topics which you want to
answer
individually, then top posting may make it harder. This is obviously far
more of
a problem in long emails than in brief ones.
<poehlman> If you write your messages in other than your email client, good
writing solves this.  In fact, it can even make the necessity of quoting go
away.  Other response methods have their down sides.

3. Inferred semantics. Determining who said what. Interleaved comments to me
give some intimation
that the text with 5 right angle brackets is getting pretty old by now, the
text
with no indentation is recent. Handled variably by various email clients.
I've seen
one who has the initials of the poster instead of the angle brackets.
<poehlman>  Pine provides a lot of flexibility on this and I wish other
email programs provided this an come to think of it, if I choose to with
outlook express, I can use my initials or whatever I want but I think the
quoted text then is indented and I choose not to have it marked or indented
mostly because when I top post, there is a clear devision between what I
post and what I am responding to.  I hate >>>>>>>>>>>> or:
> > > > > > >
even more since in the first instance, I will hear three at most and in the
latter I will hear each one because they are spaced.

4. Line wrap. Unsure if this is just visual or not, but I wholly agree its a
pain to
untangle the line wrap when replies are preceeded by the angle brackets.
Does it mess
up interpretation for screen reader users too?
<poehlman> You bet at least where flow is concerned breaking a sentance.  It
doesn't usually break words, but it can.  It will also break long urls or
email addresses which can be a pain to recover.

5. Navigation. If navigation is not easy for whatever reason, top posting in
other
than simple messages isn't easy.
<poehlman> I'm not sure why.  I find it much easier to navigate a top posted
message than one which has been chopped and smattered with information both
new and old like this one is and will be.  I probably won't even read this
one when it comes back.  The biggest problem with long messages with
comments inserted is that often, the portion following the final response is
left in tact forcing one to search through it for more comments only to find
that there are none.

6. Tool restrictions. If your email tool is line based, top posting is easy
for you,
interleaving isn't.
<poehlman> I'm not sure what a line based email client is, but my
orientation is line gased so even though I may not have a line based email
client per se, It works out to be about the same in that I have to search
for insertion points in order to interleave and that takes time.

7. It could be that long complex emails need treating differently than brief
answers,
but surely there must be some benefit in a consistant approach.
<poehlman>  I guess this true of anything in written form, I would opt
though for a set of consistant approach that as broadly as possible fit the
needs of senarios.  I've gotten used to most of the styles out there and it
is seldom that I see anything I can't figure out if I work at it.

8. Be considerate of time lag. If your reader isn't going to read your post
near the
time of others, then top posting is harder to comprehend without the context
of
interleaved posts.
<poehlman>  This can be a factor, but it depends too on which email you read
first.  There are some merits on the judgement that it is harder to deal
with top posting if you come in on the middle of a thread for one reason or
another and I can understand this though in many systems, you will know by
the "re:" in the subject line of the message that you are in the midst of a
thread and some clients can thread for you or you can read threads in some
archives.  This of course does not totally mittigate the issue, but I know
of no effective balance.

9. I liked Charles keep the language clear. Possibly as important as most of
the other
points.
<poehlman> Agreed.

What did I miss?
<poehlman> If you missed anything, It's above unless I missed something too
which is quite possible.  I guess I should mention here though that if I
were listening to a broad cast where a discussion was top posted, I might be
a bit confused.

regards DaveP

** snip here **

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Received on Monday, 1 March 2004 07:57:51 UTC

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