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Re: AO-40 this morning?



> Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 19:50:09 +0200
> From: "Jens H. Jensen" <topcat@mail1.stofanet.dk>
> Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] AO-40 this morning?
> 	[...]
> Yes, and if we were to only quote what we were replying to, and write this 
> reply BELOW the stuff we were replying to, things would get even more 
> logical still!
> 	[...]

Alternatively, you can adopt the long-standing convention of writing
your response AFTER a brief quote of the material to which you are replying.

This widely used convention (quote first, followed by response) is useful
to provide your reader some context for your answer, particularly in cases
where they otherwise would need to read your response, then read the context
of your response, then re-read your response after they understand its
context.  This is more likely to occur when:

o	You respond quickly to the original e-mail and the mail list
	reorders messages, so that your reponse arrives at some list
	members before the original message (this can happen with any
	mail list; I see it now and then with amsat-bb);

o	You respond slowly to the original e-mail and a number of messages
	and a fair amount of time are likely to occur between the original
	message and your reponse, so the reader forgets the question to
	which you are reponding;

o	Your reader reads e-mail in batches or reads a periodic digest
	of the list, so that your response might not be in the same
	"batch" as the original message;

o	Your reader found your message through a search engine or archive,
	or had someone else forward the message to them, so they never
	saw the message to which you responded;

o	Your reader didn't find the original message very interesting, and
	so never read as far as the part to which you are responding;

o	You are responding to just one idea of many contained in the 
	original message (like this one), so your reader skipped the original
	message as not relevant to their circumstances; or

o	Your reader gets lots of mail, and doesn't try to remember
	what every message said, just in case someone wants to compose
	a response that assumes you remember the context to which he or
	she is responding.

(As you might guess, I am a big fan of docments, whether they are e-mail
or anything else, that read well as stand-along documents.)

At a minimum, when list members are selecting a response style they should
be confortable that there are a number of conventions about whether to
repeat the context of the original message before or after the response.

On the other hand, there is fairly universal agreement that only the
minimum of quoted text necessary to provide a context for your answer should
be used.

-tjs
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