dialect of Elena Kagan

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 12 20:09:49 UTC 2010

Tom, Ron and anyone else who does this with regularity. I have a small
request of you concerning ADS-L posts. If I am crossing any
boundaries, I am sure list managers will remedy the situation.

I had initially assumed, when joining ADS-L, that this list had some
form of netiquette that's different from other lists. The first hint
that this was an incorrect assumption was the discussion on keeping
quoted preceding content above or below new text. Although some list
matrons occasionally demand that it be done one way or another,
generally, it's a matter of preference (or dis-preference, in some
cases) and we all deal with the consequences. I have no complaints on
the subject--I have my preferences in this regard and, as long as they
are not offending anyone, I'll keep them that way.

I am concerned, however, about the volume that the list generates. And
I am not talking about the number of messages. As is, the list
automatically adds headers and footers to every message--10 lines in
all, although much of it is dividing lines and whitespace. That's
fine. It makes list messages easy to identify when they arrive at the
mailbox--and, if necessary, to filter them accordingly (although
other, simpler criteria appear to be equally effective). But, in
addition to these 10 lines, there are many more that show up in
messages the follow-up on a thread. The reason for this is that entire
preceding messages are included in subsequent posts. This is the part
that I had initially assumed was a part of the list etiquette. I now
see that this is simply a nuisance.

When replying to messages, I routinely delete the ADS-L-added
material, unless it is necessary to identify the author of the
message. The headers are necessary in a digest because the original
headers don't show up, but they are superfluous in direct
correspondence. It's only 10 lines, so I would not ask anyone else to
worry about it, except in cases where multiple nested messages are
copied in a reply--I've seen more than a few that include 8 additional
headers, which significantly increases the length of the message. But
this is peanuts compared to the entire included messages. There are
/very few cases/ where including the entire preceding message is
necessary, let alone the entire thread! There is built-in protection
on the list, as messages longer than 500 lines get turned away. But it
should /never/ reach that far anyway.

The reason I am complaining about it now is not because the number of
such messages has suddenly jumped or that they have become
particularly annoying. No, what prompted me to complain is that we've
had a succession of several /one-liners/ that included the entire
history of the thread with them. When one also notices that some of
these appear at the top of the nested inclusions, while others appear
at the bottom, it makes for very difficult reading and unnecessary

Had we all been still using dial-up, this would not happen. People
would eventually figure out that failure to edit replied-to content
results in increased upload and download time and they would end the
practice themselves. But, since most of us operate on bandwidth that
makes these differences imperceptible, someone has to pound a shoe on
the podium to get attention. Today, this shoe is mine.

I am not asking everyone to automatically edit the replied-to content
to leave only the relevant portions--it may make reading time more
productive for the rest of us, but it may not be the most efficient
use of the sender's time. So I will ask for smaller favors.

1) delete all irrelevant nested messages, save for the last
one--presumably, it is the most relevant one anyhow. This is
particularly important when sending out a very short reply.
2) when you get into an exchange of one-liners, delete ALL extraneous
content. In this case, the needs of the many definitely outweigh the
needs of one.
3) ideally, it would be nice to see extraneous headers deleted as
well, but, I know, this may be too much to ask for. When you can
delete a large chunk without sacrificing a lot of your time to
editing, please do so. If it becomes line-by-line editing, don't

Most of the time, including the entire preceding thread is simply not
necessary because most replies focus just on a small part of the
immediately preceding message. But even if that were not the case, we
either have the relevant messages in our own archives or they are
documented on ADS-L server and can be looked up, if necessary. The
only time I would make an exception is if someone follows up on a
thread that's been extinguished for over a week (e.g., Jon Lighter's
reply on the leatherneck thread this morning).

Final thought--this is just a simple request for consideration. I have
no intention of demanding these changes from anyone or policing the
list even if the suggestion is widely accepted. This is an individual
decision, not a communal one. If no one changes the practice from this
point forward, I will not lose sleep over it. But I though it was high
time someone had mentioned it.


PS: I also noticed that some people--I can only recall Ron Butters and
Dan Goncharoff, at the moment--have their "reply-to" fields set, which
interferes with the list replies. Instead of directing the reply to
the list, it directs it to the last individual who sent the message
(assuming it is one of the people with the respective setting). This
may be a matter of convenience for some--if you are posting from one
address and would like the reply to go to another, for example. But if
you are /always/ posting from the same address to which you expect the
reply to be routed, it is absolutely unnecessary to set the reply-to
field. You will not lose any messages if the field is not set. On the
other hand, if you insist on keeping the setting, please, please ask
those who reply to you if they intended their replies to go to the
whole list.

On Wed, May 12, 2010 at 2:14 PM,  <ronbutters at aol.com> wrote:
> Mr Z is obviously no expert on American English phonology.
> Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Zurinskas <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM>
> Date:         Wed, 12 May 2010 17:48:43
> Subject:      Re: [ADS-L] dialect of Elena Kagan
> This info is nice to know for us coeval people.  But without the r-dropping Elena could be from about anywhere in the NE.  Not a hint of NYC could I hear.  I Couldn't place her.
> Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL7+
> see truespel.com phonetic spelling

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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