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Re: [vox] [OT] Quoting style (was Re: ... Sig line [ newbie annoyed with tin ])
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Re: [vox] [OT] Quoting style (was Re: ... Sig line [ newbie annoyed with tin ])



on Tue, Jan 28, 2003 at 03:38:48PM -0800, Bill Kendrick (nbs@sonic.net) wrote:
> >> The assumptions are that there are either local or shared archives (or
> both) from which a context pointer is sufficient to restore full
> references.  This is why *both* quoting *and* attribution are critical,
> and is where MSFT style quoting (no leader character, attribution as an
> inline quote of brief headers, and random attachment of prefix leaders
> to wrapped lines) tends to be so deleterious to extended discussions.
> I've rarely seen such a thread that doesn't have an (ever increasing)
> accretion of "you're misquoting me" and "you're misattributing that
> quote" subthreads.  Annoying in the extreme. <<
> 
> You know what I hate?  That quoting style above.  I see it on occasion,
> and I wonder if the person doing it did it manually (and is therefore
> smoking something), or if their mail client is just REALLY lame. :^)

It's typical of some closed mailers.  Not sure which of the pack, but I
think AOL, Prodigy, Compuserv, or one of the like either does this, or
doesn't provide *any* quoting context, so the users picked this up as a
tradition.

It got carried over to a number of message boards.  LinuxToday bans
virtually all HTML, and ends up with a quote style like this.  A board I
used to frequent had any number of quoting styles, from the old
"italicize either what I'm writing or what I'm quoting" bit, to variants
of what Bill demonstrates above, with bracketing by various characters.

Let's look at *why* it's so annoying:

   - It's hard to tell *what* is quoted on a given line.

   - It's hard to tell how many *levels* of quoting are being presented
     E.g.:  what's the difference between:

         > First off - Quake is simply incredible. It lets you
         repeatedly kill your boss in the office without being arrested.
         :) -- Signal 11, in a slashdot comment <

     And

         >> What is tolerance? -- it is the consequence of humanity.  We
         are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally
         each other's folly -- that is the first law of nature.  -
         Voltaire <<

     Especially when presented as:

         >> What is tolerance? -- it is the consequence of humanity.  We
         are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally
         each other's folly -- that is the first law of nature.  - Voltaire <<
         > First off - Quake is simply incredible. It lets you
         repeatedly kill your boss in the office without being arrested.
         :) -- Signal 11, in a slashdot comment <

     ...etc., in a 2000 word post...

   - Nesting such quotes in subsequent discussions and trying to figure
     out who said what becomes rapidly nontrivial.

In HTML, there's an obvious answer.  The <blockquote> tag has a
'cite=<type>' syntax.  In a modern browser, this renders with a blue
line downs the side of the quoted text.  Multiple lines of nested
quoting are immediately apparent:

     <blockquote type="cite">
     <blockquote type="cite">
     What is tolerance? -- it is the consequence of humanity.  We
     are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally
     each other's folly -- that is the first law of nature.  - Voltaire 
     </blockquote>

     First off - Quake is simply incredible. It lets you
     repeatedly kill your boss in the office without being arrested.
     :) -- Signal 11, in a slashdot comment 
     </blockquote>

...renders (roughly) as:

     | | What is tolerance? -- it is the consequence of humanity.  We
     | | are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon 
     | | reciprocally each other's folly -- that is the first law of 
     | | nature.  - Voltaire 
     |
     | First off - Quake is simply incredible. It lets you
     | repeatedly kill your boss in the office without being arrested.
     | :) -- Signal 11, in a slashdot comment 

For an example of blockquote with cite, see:

    http://z.iwethey.org/forums/render/content/show?contentid=77128

...and for a counterexample:

    http://guildenstern.dyndns.org/~karsten/IWE-archive/archive/00025904.html

It's called writing for clarity.

Peace.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   VAR with attitude -- Automation Access:  http://www.aaxnet.com/
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