[OS X TeX] New Macros, new Engines, new TeXShop versions, and all that

Anthony Morton amorton at fastmail.fm
Wed Feb 24 22:48:37 CET 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.

Tony M.

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