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On Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 10:44:28AM -0700, Chuck Swiger wrote:
> On Apr 27, 2012, at 11:43 PM, Mouse wrote:
> [ ... ]
> > Quoting from that (with long-line damage manually repaired)...
> >> $WORK obligates me to use a MUA which supports i18n well, by which I
> >> don't mean UTF-8 and ISO-Latin-1, but various UTF-16 encodings like
> >> Big5/GBK and ISO-2022-JP. Unfortunately, Mail.app no longer
> >> implements the format=flowed MIME Content-type.
> > Then I suggest you switch to some other user agent for non-$WORK mail,
> > or, if your job involves writing to these lists, external-to-$WORK work
> > mail. Or at least insert a line break every 70 characters or so.
> It's simply not practical for me to switch MUAs, most of the time.
What if your preferred user agent made it impossible to do inline
quotations (or, at least, as hard as it is to wrap text at 80 in
Mail.app), so if you used it it was much easier to top-post? Would
you start top-posting on old Internet mailing lists, too?
At some point, you should show some respect for the cultural conventions
of the place you're visiting. Not because they're necessarily more
rational nor in some other way better (though I think there are good
arguments to be made that both hard-wrapping text and inline quotation
are, when compared to endless lines and top-posting) but because when
you want to communicate with other people, you should respect their
cultural norms. Why should everyone else have to do extra work to
interact with you? That just screams that you don't really care what
anyone else gets out of your participation in the discussion; that you're
in it just for you.
I occasionally (and regrettably) exchange email with someone who
insists on using his own made-up pronouns instead of "he" and "she";
his own silly posessives instead of "his" and "hers"; and so forth
(there's a lot of "so forth"). This makes him feel great, I'm sure,
but it stops the eye every time one scans across his sentences, disrupts
linguistic flow, and makes is slow and hard to read his text. It is
hard not to come away with the impression that a large part of his
purpose, when communicating, is to _fail_ to communicate the simple
sense of his text -- to actively annoy and impede the reader instead,
as a way of making the reader think about how great this bozo's shiny
new linguistic conventions (his made up words) are.
For a reader (and perhaps more important, respondent) using the tools
many of us traditionally use to interact here, on the NetBSD mailing lists,
500 word lines are a lot like that. They display strangely in most user
agents for character-cell terminals. They're hard to quote properly when
responding because one effectively has to reflow the text by hand. Sure,
one could quote them as 500 word lines; but that just kicks the can down
the road to the next person who might want to respond to (and, as is
polite, quote) only part of a paragraph. They basically scream "I don't
care how much work you have to do to have a conversation with me, it's
all about what _I_ have to say." Is it as bad as top-posting, where
rearranging a message into a sane order for response could take 10 minutes?
No. But it's still rude, in the same way. Or so it seems to me.
If the point is to offend -- even if only in small ways -- then
disrespect for the reader is a good strategy. And certainly you have
the right to offend other people if you want to. But if that's not your
intention, then you might want to reconsider pissing all over everyone
else when you choose how to format your text.
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