I generally skip postings that exhibit these mistakes; I have killfiled (permanently) at least one guy because of these mistakes. I have unsubscribed groups where the fraction of broken postings was too high. There are too many interesting and properly formated postings around, I don't need to waste my time on broken stuff. I doubt I am alone in this view.
statement A statement B statement C statement Dand you want to comment on B and D; then the right way to quote is
In <...>, P wrote: >statement B comment on B >statement D comment on D
comments on B and D In <...>, P wrote: >statement A >statement B >statement C >statement DWrong:
In <...>, P wrote: >statement A >statement B >statement C >statement D comments on B and DWrong:
comments on B and DWhy are these wrong? They make it harder for the reader to understand the context and understand what you are writing.
When you quote a message that quotes another message, make sure to preserve the attributions for all the included quotes. There is a slight problem if you start with a shallower quote:
In <...>, P writes: >In <...>, Q writes: >something written by P ... >>something written by Q ...Some people complain that the attribution here is misleading. You may want to move the attribution for Q to the first quote of Q's text. OTOH, readers usually look at the top of the article to find out who wrote something. One way to reduce the chance of misleading readers is to put an ellipsis after the attribution.
In <...>, P writes: >In <...>, Q writes: ... >something written by P
Common mistakes are:
Lines that are simply too long (>80 characters), making them not only hard to quote, but also hard to read; Lines that are just a little too long, making them simply too long when quoted; And the comb design of alternating long and short lines; This probably arises from breaking lines twice, the second time automatically with a shorter desired line length than the first time. This automatic line breaking is particularly bad when applied to quoted material.You may not notice if you make such a mistake, because newsreaders that encourage these mistakes reportedly reformat paragraphs on display, thus hiding the damage they cause.
So you need to see your postings as many others see it. There are
several ways to do this: use a newsreader that keeps the formatting;
get the Message-Id of your posting (from the message header), then
telnet newsserver nntp, then
message-id; or look up your posting on Google and click on "Original
Format". Note that you should do test postings in test groups, not in
Shouldn't all newsreaders reformat paragraphs when displaying, making this issue moot? No, there are many contents where the format must be preserved, e.g., postings containing tables, ASCII graphics, program source code, or poetry.
The reasons for the 70-characters rule are:
Why is this a mistake? Many people use software and/or hardware that cannot display HTML and other junk formats in the way you envisioned. Now you may think that multipart/alternative with one alternative being text/plain may be the way to go. But if you can express the idea you want to convey in text/plain, why provide the alternative format? Also, with HTML, the problem is: Which HTML? If you want HTML, you certainly also want several of the latest plug-ins; but even if you have enough sense to stick with HTML 2.0, the next guy certainly will have other ideas and will produce messages that your browser won't display as intended.
Also, these other formats often take many times the space (and, consequently, bandwidth) of plain text, leading to increased costs for mail and news servers, and shorter expiration times for news servers (mail servers that expire the mail also may be affected).
Note that, as with the line lengths, this mistake may be hard to notice with the newsreader that you used to make it, and again, you should look at the original format of the message.