OT: reply styles, family matters

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OT: reply styles, family matters

Bob Bernstein
I have a roughly forty year old nephew who uses email as a
vehicle for political and philosophical discussion. His father
is named Dave Bernstein, but not the same Dave Bernstein who
teaches law at George Mason and recently came out with a book,
_Lawless_, which looks at the current prez's penchant for um
shall we say um "improvising" on the limits of the chief
executive's powers. You get the drift I'm sure.

So I sent my nephew a review of the book that I found in
_Commentary_, a fairly conservative organ of opinion. I headed
the email with the subject line "DAVE BERNSTEIN HAS A NEW BOOK
OUT" in order to tweak his curiosity. It worked. He treated me
to a spirited reply, rather long too for him, but concluded it
with this thought:

"Please don't respond line by line. It is patronizing and
annoying."

I have acquired over the years a habit of carefully quoting and
replying to those quoted snippets. But it rubs some in my family
the wrong way. They don't see it as part and parcel of effective
communication, or as, at bottom, simply good netiquette. They
feel talked down to. My nephew's father had the same problem
with me years ago but I think I have brought him around over
time so that he no longer "takes it personal."

With that as background, here is my question/request: is anyone
aware of a spirited defence of our ideal method of "selective
quoting," (for lack of a better label) one, say, that perhaps
has achieved the status of a "net classic?" Surely some 'net
genius has dealt these nay-sayers, who seem to LIKE top-posting,
a solid uppercut?

Thanks,

--
Bob Bernstein

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

John Hasler-3
Bob Bernstein writes:
> With that as background, here is my question/request: is anyone aware
> of a spirited defence of our ideal method of "selective quoting," (for
> lack of a better label) one, say, that perhaps has achieved the status
> of a "net classic?" Surely some 'net genius has dealt these
> nay-sayers, who seem to LIKE top-posting, a solid uppercut?

Waste of effort.  The usual reason for top-posting (or bottom-posting
without editing) is laziness.
--
John Hasler
[hidden email]
Elmwood, WI USA

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

STEPHEN POWELL-2
In reply to this post by Bob Bernstein
On Mon, 30 Nov 2015 20:31:29 -0500 (EST), Bob Bernstein wrote:
> ...
> With that as background, here is my question/request: is anyone
> aware of a spirited defence of our ideal method of "selective
> quoting," (for lack of a better label) one, say, that perhaps
> has achieved the status of a "net classic?" Surely some 'net
> genius has dealt these nay-sayers, who seem to LIKE top-posting,
> a solid uppercut?

How about this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posting_style ?


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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Neal Murphy
In reply to this post by Bob Bernstein
I'll top-post here because I am replying to the entire message (quoted below).

Whether you top-post, in-post or bottom-post depends on the nature of that to which you reply.

When you reply to and critique an essay, you would likely reply in top-post form and leave the essay at the bottom so that readers, whom you may safely assume have already read it, may conveniently reference it.

When you reply and critique technical matter, you would typically reply in in-post form and reply to individual items. But on another paw, if you are proof-reading the essay, the you must reply in in-post form so that the author knows to which pieces your comments apply.

The difference is that an essay can be considered a single thought and should be replied to as a whole. Conversely, technical matters are a collection of thoughts; it is better to reply to each item so that the author, again, knows to which items your comments apply.

N

On Mon, 30 Nov 2015 20:31:29 -0500 (EST)
Bob Bernstein <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I have a roughly forty year old nephew who uses email as a
> vehicle for political and philosophical discussion. His father
> is named Dave Bernstein, but not the same Dave Bernstein who
> teaches law at George Mason and recently came out with a book,
> _Lawless_, which looks at the current prez's penchant for um
> shall we say um "improvising" on the limits of the chief
> executive's powers. You get the drift I'm sure.
>
> So I sent my nephew a review of the book that I found in
> _Commentary_, a fairly conservative organ of opinion. I headed
> the email with the subject line "DAVE BERNSTEIN HAS A NEW BOOK
> OUT" in order to tweak his curiosity. It worked. He treated me
> to a spirited reply, rather long too for him, but concluded it
> with this thought:
>
> "Please don't respond line by line. It is patronizing and
> annoying."
>
> I have acquired over the years a habit of carefully quoting and
> replying to those quoted snippets. But it rubs some in my family
> the wrong way. They don't see it as part and parcel of effective
> communication, or as, at bottom, simply good netiquette. They
> feel talked down to. My nephew's father had the same problem
> with me years ago but I think I have brought him around over
> time so that he no longer "takes it personal."
>
> With that as background, here is my question/request: is anyone
> aware of a spirited defence of our ideal method of "selective
> quoting," (for lack of a better label) one, say, that perhaps
> has achieved the status of a "net classic?" Surely some 'net
> genius has dealt these nay-sayers, who seem to LIKE top-posting,
> a solid uppercut?
>
> Thanks,
>

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Mike Castle-3
On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 6:27 PM, Neal P. Murphy
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> When you reply to and critique an essay, you would likely reply in top-post form and leave the essay at the bottom so that readers, whom you may safely assume have already read it, may conveniently reference it.


I don't think you can ever safely assume that anyone as read it.
That is why top-posting is always frowned upon.

mrc

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Bob Bernstein
In reply to this post by STEPHEN POWELL-2
On Mon, 30 Nov 2015, Stephen Powell wrote:

> How about this one:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posting_style ?

That may be a great place for me to start.

After skimming it my sense was the author was bending over
backwards to be "fair," i.e. inflating the supposed virtues of
top and bottom posting styles. I don't see any a priori need to
impose moral equivalence on these different styles.

Hmmm...I don't seem to be exactly neutral on this question. Oh
well.


--
Bob Bernstein

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Nicolas George-4
In reply to this post by Bob Bernstein
Le decadi 10 frimaire, an CCXXIV, Bob Bernstein a écrit :
> With that as background, here is my question/request: is anyone aware of a
> spirited defence of our ideal method of "selective quoting," (for lack of a
> better label) one, say, that perhaps has achieved the status of a "net
> classic?" Surely some 'net genius has dealt these nay-sayers, who seem to
> LIKE top-posting, a solid uppercut?

I do not have a pointer to that kind of text, but I have found this analogy
rather relevant:

When you watch a TV series episode, does it end with an announce "Previously
in $series" and the full rerun of the last episode?

Regards,

--
  Nicolas George

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Mart van de Wege
In reply to this post by Bob Bernstein
Bob Bernstein <[hidden email]> writes:

> "Please don't respond line by line. It is patronizing and
> annoying."
>
> I have acquired over the years a habit of carefully quoting and
> replying to those quoted snippets. But it rubs some in my family the
> wrong way. They don't see it as part and parcel of effective
> communication, or as, at bottom, simply good netiquette. They feel
> talked down to. My nephew's father had the same problem with me years
> ago but I think I have brought him around over time so that he no
> longer "takes it personal."
>
> With that as background, here is my question/request: is anyone aware
> of a spirited defence of our ideal method of "selective quoting," (for
> lack of a better label) one, say, that perhaps has achieved the status
> of a "net classic?" Surely some 'net genius has dealt these
> nay-sayers, who seem to LIKE top-posting, a solid uppercut?
>
Why not do your correspondents the courtesy of replying in the style
*they* want?

Mart

--
"We will need a longer wall when the revolution comes."
    --- AJS, quoting an uncertain source.

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Lisi Reisz
On Tuesday 01 December 2015 08:54:27 Mart van de Wege wrote:

> Bob Bernstein <[hidden email]> writes:
> > "Please don't respond line by line. It is patronizing and
> > annoying."
> >
> > I have acquired over the years a habit of carefully quoting and
> > replying to those quoted snippets. But it rubs some in my family the
> > wrong way. They don't see it as part and parcel of effective
> > communication, or as, at bottom, simply good netiquette. They feel
> > talked down to. My nephew's father had the same problem with me years
> > ago but I think I have brought him around over time so that he no
> > longer "takes it personal."
> >
> > With that as background, here is my question/request: is anyone aware
> > of a spirited defence of our ideal method of "selective quoting," (for
> > lack of a better label) one, say, that perhaps has achieved the status
> > of a "net classic?" Surely some 'net genius has dealt these
> > nay-sayers, who seem to LIKE top-posting, a solid uppercut?
>
> Why not do your correspondents the courtesy of replying in the style
> *they* want?

That's fine, so long as you are not required to reply.  And so long as you
don't want the discussion to remain vaguely on track.

Lisi

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

cbannister
In reply to this post by Neal Murphy
On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 09:27:02PM -0500, Neal P. Murphy wrote:
> I'll top-post here because I am replying to the entire message (quoted below).

Sorry to be picky, but there was nothing in the text to which you
directly replied to.

I think personal correspondence is completely different to posting and
replying on a mailing list where it is presumed that posters are using
and familiar with a thread capable mail client.

--
"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people
who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the
oppressing." --- Malcolm X

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

cbannister
In reply to this post by Bob Bernstein
On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 08:31:29PM -0500, Bob Bernstein wrote:
>
> "Please don't respond line by line. It is patronizing and
> annoying."

What did he say when you asked what he meant by this? I mean, how on
earth could it possibly be patronising?

I'm guessing your nephew isn't subscribed to any mailing lists.

Would I be correct in that he uses Windoze and outhouse as a mailer?

Of course I could be completely wrong, it is just a guess, but I am
intrigued as to how he could find inline responses annoying ... unless
... his client doesn't handle it properly.

I must admit reading mail from yahoo and outhouse mailers is difficult
at the best of times, and is perhaps one reason why top posting is
preferred.

--
"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people
who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the
oppressing." --- Malcolm X

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Bob Bernstein
In reply to this post by Lisi Reisz
On Tue, 1 Dec 2015, Lisi Reisz wrote:

> On Tuesday 01 December 2015 08:54:27 Mart van de Wege wrote:

>> Why not do your correspondents the courtesy of replying in
>> the style *they* want?

> That's fine, so long as you are not required to reply.  And so
> long as you don't want the discussion to remain vaguely on
> track.

And, so long as you _know_ what that desired style is. I've been
trading emails with my nephew for years with nary a peep from
him that he was annoyed by, of all things, my email reply style.
Last night, I guess he had just had it "up to HERE" with me and
my pompous internet posing!

I have to think about this a bit more because I am starting to
have it UP TO HERE with him just writing this message! <g>

Thanks all. I knew I could find cooler heads here than in my
family.

--
Bob Bernstein

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Bob Bernstein
In reply to this post by cbannister
On Wed, 2 Dec 2015, Chris Bannister wrote:

>> "Please don't respond line by line. It is patronizing and
>> annoying."

> What did he say when you asked what he meant by this? I mean,
> how on earth could it possibly be patronising?

I haven't asked him yet, in the interest of not muddying still
waters. I've been thinking about his "patronizing" response and
I believe it is an objection to the obvious clarity and
precision that inline responses afford. Clarity and precision
are not exactly in the ascendancy as far as cultural values are
concerned. It is thought much more important to be "passionate"
and "authentic," In the introductory assay of a little book of
his from 1928, _Sceptical Essays_, Russell said

"...it is undesirable to believe a proposition for which there
is no ground whatever for supposing it true."

Nobody anymore has the least interest in such an approach to
life, in fact, it is deemed dangerous and probably evil in most
of our university English departments and beyond.

However Russell's little gem of a claim describes very
accurately what is done on email lists devoted to computing
topics. We want to know what is the case, and why. The vast
majority of our fellow citizens *do* find a constant focus on
those aims quite disconcerting in any context, and, very likely,
"patronizing." They think "How dare you subject me to
your rules of inference and standards of factuality! What sort
of horrible person are you?"

> I'm guessing your nephew isn't subscribed to any mailing
> lists.

I doubt it.

> Would I be correct in that he uses Windoze and outhouse as a
> mailer?

He uses a gmail account with "Ipad Mail".

Oh well. Thanks Chris.

--
Bob Bernstein

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

anxiousmac
On Tuesday, 1 December 2015 16:40:05 UTC, Bob Bernstein  wrote:

> On Wed, 2 Dec 2015, Chris Bannister wrote:
>
> >> "Please don't respond line by line. It is patronizing and
> >> annoying."
>
> > What did he say when you asked what he meant by this? I mean,
> > how on earth could it possibly be patronising?
>
> I haven't asked him yet,
>
> --
> Bob Bernstein

If I bottom posted at work, no-one would ever discover my replies. I occasionally interleave if a point by point response seems sensible, or if the joke only works that way

anxiousmac

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Bob Bernstein
On Tue, 1 Dec 2015, [hidden email] wrote:

> If I bottom posted at work, no-one would ever discover my
> replies. I occasionally interleave if a point by point
> response seems sensible, or if the joke only works that way

Word dat. <g>

--
Bob Bernstein

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Stuart Longland-3
In reply to this post by John Hasler-3
On 01/12/15 11:56, John Hasler wrote:

> Bob Bernstein writes:
>> With that as background, here is my question/request: is anyone aware
>> of a spirited defence of our ideal method of "selective quoting," (for
>> lack of a better label) one, say, that perhaps has achieved the status
>> of a "net classic?" Surely some 'net genius has dealt these
>> nay-sayers, who seem to LIKE top-posting, a solid uppercut?
>
> Waste of effort.  The usual reason for top-posting (or bottom-posting
> without editing) is laziness.
>
I often counter that by passing my would-be reply through tac and
top-post it that way.

Then they see it from my perspective.
--
Stuart Longland (aka Redhatter, VK4MSL)

I haven't lost my mind...
  ...it's backed up on a tape somewhere.


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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Mart van de Wege
In reply to this post by Bob Bernstein
Bob Bernstein <[hidden email]> writes:

> On Wed, 2 Dec 2015, Chris Bannister wrote:
>
>>> "Please don't respond line by line. It is patronizing and
>>> annoying."
>
>> What did he say when you asked what he meant by this? I mean, how on
>> earth could it possibly be patronising?
>
> I haven't asked him yet, in the interest of not muddying still
> waters. I've been thinking about his "patronizing" response and I
> believe it is an objection to the obvious clarity and precision that
> inline responses afford.

It may be that inline replies are associated with the practice of
'fisking', which in conservative circles is interleaving derogative
comments with the target of derision's original content (usually a blog
post).

If the only time you see interleaved comments is in 'fisked' pieces,
then I could understand not feeling comfortable when someone does that
in an email reply.

Mart

--
"We will need a longer wall when the revolution comes."
    --- AJS, quoting an uncertain source.

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Bob Bernstein
On Wed, 2 Dec 2015, Mart van de Wege wrote:

> It may be that inline replies are associated with the practice
> of 'fisking' [...]

Yes. I stumbled into that mental association some time around
3:30am ET, at which ungodly hour thoughts of fisking seem to
rise of their own accord. <g>

> [...] which in conservative circles is interleaving
> derogative comments with the target of derision's original
> content (usually a blog post).

My inner conservative wants to ask, "Are not liberals smart
enough to fisk each other's written work?"

My inner liberal wants to ask, "Why are conservatives such a
picky, fussy, argumentative bunch?

I believe most fisking is done by conservatives, but much of
that activity, and certainly the best of it, is aimed at their
conservative comrade's work.

> If the only time you see interleaved comments is in 'fisked'
> pieces, then I could understand not feeling comfortable when
> someone does that in an email reply.

Yes, point well taken.

--
Bob Bernstein

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

cbannister
In reply to this post by Stuart Longland-3
On Wed, Dec 02, 2015 at 02:21:04PM +1000, Stuart Longland wrote:
>
> I often counter that by passing my would-be reply through tac and
> top-post it that way.
>
> Then they see it from my perspective.

What is 'tac'?

--
"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people
who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the
oppressing." --- Malcolm X

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Re: OT: reply styles, family matters

Erwan David
Le 02/12/2015 20:41, Chris Bannister a écrit :
> On Wed, Dec 02, 2015 at 02:21:04PM +1000, Stuart Longland wrote:
>> I often counter that by passing my would-be reply through tac and
>> top-post it that way.
>>
>> Then they see it from my perspective.
> What is 'tac'?
>
TAC(1)                                                                          
User
Commands                                                                          
TAC(1)

NAME
       tac - concatenate and print files in reverse


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