[FFmpeg-user] Top posting?

Carl Eugen Hoyos ceffmpeg at gmail.com
Wed Jul 25 21:11:44 EEST 2018

2018-07-25 18:57 GMT+02:00, Jim DeLaHunt <from.ffmpeg-user at jdlh.com>:
> On 2018-07-25 08:11, Carl Zwanzig wrote:
>  > I'm not the list owner nor one of the ffmpeg developers, just a
> long-time Internet user...
> I also am not the list owner, nor one of the ffmpeg developers, either.
> I appreciate the effort which you, Carl, and the core developers, put
> into replying to queries on this list. But I have some advice for you
> and them.
> On 2018-07-25 08:11, Carl Zwanzig wrote:
>> It's long-standing practice that this list asks a few things of
>> members- one is that members don't "top post" their replies. This
>> means to put your comments _below_ those you're commenting on-
>> what someoene else said
>> my reply
>> not-
>> my reply
>> what someone else said
>> (Removing extraneous lines to trim the message is also helpful.)
> It's great that you have explained this time what you mean by "top
> posting". This is what it takes to make it clear to new list participants.
> But that's not how I see frequent participants and core developers
> usually communicate the "do not top post" message. The most common way I
> see this communicated to new list participants is as a cryptic
> afterthought tacked on to another answer.
> e.g.
>  > ... are the maximum bitrate reported by the stream.
>  >
>  > Please do not top-post here, ....
> or:
>  > ...you want into ffmpeg; that's what I would do.
>  >
>  > (please don't top-post on this list)
> My personal experience getting this rebuke is that a) it was not at all
> clear what they meant by "top posting", b) it was not clear that "top
> posting" is a phrase which has meaning on the Net at large, and that I
> could search for, and c) it didn't tell me what I _should_ do.
>  >  A further explanation of "top posting" will be found in google or
> your favorite search engine .
> Be wary of sending people to search. You have no control over what they
> will find. And the top response I get from my search,
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posting_style>, is long and descriptive.

Which is good!

> It does not send a strong message of "use excerpting and bottom posting".
> What would be better, I believe, is a slightly clearer message, which
> points to a URL with fuller instructions. For instance, try this:
>  > In your message, you "top-posted" your reply. In this list we want
> you to "excerpt and bottom-post" instead. See
>  >
> <https://ffmpeg.org/mailing-list-faq.html#What-is-top_002dposting_003f-1>
> for an explanation. Thank you!
> Maybe frequent responders to this list might want to put this text into
> a personal FAQ file, and then copy it and paste it into your replies
> when needed.

No, I don't want to maintain a personal FAQ file, and footers
are highly discouraged here, especially long ones such as

> That will save you from having to look up the URL every
> time you want to correct someone.
> Does everyone know that the FFMpeg website already has this URL, and the
> beginnings of an explanation?  There is an fragment, with an example, at
> <https://ffmpeg.org/mailing-list-faq.html#What-is-top_002dposting_003f-1>.
> I can think of a lot of ways to improve that text. You can rewrite it to
> centre on what you _want_, not what you _don't_ want. You can improve
> the example: write an excerpt and put it in the answer, instead of
> linking to an message in the archives. You can add a companion negative
> example, to make it clear how a participant can go from the wrong way to
> the right way.

So instead of trying to reproduce issues, understanding them,
opening bug reports or fix issues right away or giving common
work-arounds you suggest to explain top-posting, something
that the first Google hit explains very well?
I don't think this is a smart suggestion.

Carl Eugen

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