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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: Top posting is bad
Date Fri, 30 Sep 2011 16:17:05 GMT
On 30 September 2011 16:48, Dennis E. Hamilton <> wrote:
> Who says what the average size is?  Who has measured it.  Where are the numbers?

Common practice is what I refer to. I don;t have numbers but take a
random dip into as many lists as you like on markmail which (at the
time of writing) has 8,393 lists and 60,045,432 messages for you to
sample. Just click and you will get
the most recent mails that are replies on all of those lists. A quick
sampling of the first ten will answer the first of your two questions
above. If you have the time you could also answer the third (but I
doubt any of us have the time for that).

I just did this and got 7 inline response style, two top post and one
combination post (top and inline) - your results will be for a
separate random sample of course.

I realise that my subject line is unnecessarily confrontational, sorry
for that. I could certainly have chosen a different one. Maybe you
would not have felt this was some kind of personal attack on you. It
is not.

I have no more to say on the matter. People will continue to post in
the way that they prefer (or must as a result of their chosen
clients). Those who are undecided and unrestricted will hopefully make
a more informed decision now (for clarity I say "more informed" which
does not mean they will necessarily choose what I say is the right


> I'm really tired of this and I am sorely disappointed that it arose here.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ross Gardler []
> Sent: Friday, September 30, 2011 05:40
> To:;
> Subject: Re: Top posting is bad
> On 30 September 2011 13:18, Dennis E. Hamilton <> wrote:
>> "bad" may be "unpleasant for you" but how about looking at the
>> interoperability challenges and not encouraging belief that there
>> is a silver-bullet, one-size fits all fiat when the only thing
>> that works is civility.
> There is no one-size fits all, this is true. But there is an "average
> size which suits more" (I have no idea why you bring civility into
> this, this was a perfectly reasonable request to improve the quality
> of our online communications based on a great deal of personal and
> collective experience of what works for ASF projects - and non-ASF
> projects alike).
> For open source projects the generally accepted "average size" is to
> use inline posting, e.g.
> "When quoting someone else's mail, insert your responses where they're
> most appropriate, at several different places if necessary, and trim
> off the parts of their mail you didn't use." from the "bible of open
> source project management" (my opinion) Producing Open Source [1]
> or if you want a wider discussion then
> "This style makes it easier for readers to identify the points of the
> original message that are being replied to; in particular, whether the
> reply misunderstood or ignored some point of the original text."
> (wikipedia [2])
> or perhaps something a little more "official"
> "If you are sending a reply to a message or a posting be sure you
>  summarize the original at the top of the message, or include just
>  enough text of the original to give a context.  This will make
>  sure readers understand when they start to read your response.
>  Since NetNews, especially, is proliferated by distributing the
>  postings from one host to another, it is possible to see a
>  response to a message before seeing the original.  Giving context
>  helps everyone.  But do not include the entire original!" from
> Netiquette Guidelines (RFC 1855) [3]
> and back to an observation in Wikipedia:
> "Interleaved reply combined with top-posting combines the advantages
> of both styles. " [2]
> Ross
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]

Ross Gardler (@rgardler)
Programme Leader (Open Development)

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