netettique, included text

Subject: netettique, included text
From: Steven Owens <uso01 -at- MAILHOST -dot- UNIDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1993 11:31:05 -0600

LaVonna Funkhouser (lffunkhouser -at- halnet -dot- com) says:
> This is directed at several persons who have posted recently:
> Please check your subject lines.
> [...]
> BTW, I'll admit that I've been guilty of this on occasion, too.
> It is just common netiquette. We should all be more careful.

This is a very valid point; if you'd like some pointers on common
netiquette, check out the newsgroup news.newusers, and read the
posts by "Emily Postnews" there. Chock full o' net communication

Inaccurate subject lines are regrettably common, and annoying. However,
LaVonna then proceeds to commit a less common, but far more annoying
oversight, including the entire text of her previous post. Including
text is a very helpful, valuable technique for maintaining continuity
and keeping the thread of discussion clear, but it should be handled

o keep included text to a minimum; just enough to remind the
reader of what the discussion is about.

o place included text strategically; typically at the beginning
of the message, to bring the reader on track before you
proceed with the discussion, but it's quite acceptable to
break it up and respond to different topics individually.
At the same time, you want to avoid ending up with 50 lines
of included text, each followed by one line of your text.

o mark the included text so the reader can easily discern that
it IS included text. Many mailer programs will do this for
you automatically (ELM, for example). I generally find it
easier to massage the included text, remove sections that
are irrelevant, etc, first, then use a macro to place a >
at the beginning of each line.

o don't be afraid to trim out included text that doesn't pertain
to your point, nor to remove excess blank space, nor to reformat
the paragraph so the text flows smoothly. I try to avoid any
overt change in the text, and I tend to use [...] to mark
deleted text. I try to place [...] on a line by itself, to
make it stand out.

Steven J. Owens
uso01 -at- unidata -dot- com

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