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Subject: Top-Posting, Vis-a-Vis Last Night's Fuss

Top-Posting, Vis-a-Vis Last Night's Fuss

Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2007 13:04:38 -0400


I'm honestly not altogether sure why the whole feeling about top-posting is
so strong. But I think it's involved with historical trends that you
weren't a part of.

I think what matters to these gentlemen is for anyone on a list with a given
topic in mind to clearly show what THEIR specific issue is in the subject
line, not to write to the list about one matter by replying to a particular
thread that doesn't apply to their particular question.

So what this refers to is, for instance, if I were to have a concern about
Rockbox voices but I express that to the list by replying to a message
someone else wrote called "Microphone Question" or "Lang File." The point
that Paul and some others are attempting to make is that, in case someone
ever wants to search the archive for info about a microphone, the searcher
shouldn't have to filter through hundreds of unrelated messages that come up
with "microphone" as one of the result words when many of those messages
don't really have to do with microphones at all.

I think what irks some of the veterans on this list is that many message
threads go back and forth in which the subject line doesn't match the real
content of the message--or messages that contain an unending reply string
that might flag lots of keywords inefficiently when someone is trying to
research the archives in future. I respect this concern, because a good
part of my workday involves searching the Web for specific information that
affects the performance of someone's retirement savings or tax liability or
insurance policy. So the point is taken.

My main problem last night was not in the veterans' desire to keep this list
clean. My anger was based on these individuals' choice of communication
approach. If you are like I am, you have a life that doesn't involve
spending the majority of one's day on a mailing list. So you probably get
confused about concepts such as "top-posting," not fully understanding what
the word means or why it's a problem. Instead of a terse, snotty remark
from a list admin or veteran user, it would have been much more classy if
someone annoyed by your approach would have written to you personally
off-list, helped with your particular point of computer frustration, and
then gently explained to you what the etiquette really means.

Regardless of whether Paul, Daniel, and the others meant to seem arrogant or
petty, that's how it was conveyed. I love the list and I love what Rockbox
has helped me to do. But it would be a better world if those with technical
skill and an eye toward precision were to have an ample supply of human
kindness and empathy to match.

And, by the way, when the big furor came down last night, the anal veterans
who made a big deal about top-posting, were actually top-posting themselves!
Whenever you point a finger at someone else, the other four fingers on that
hand point right back at you, don't they?

Received on 2007-08-26

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