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From: Ardith Hinton (1:153/7715)
To: All
Date: Sun, 01.04.12 17:56
Program Quoter - you are very welcomed
Hi, Alexander! Recently you wrote in a message to Ardith Hinton:

ak> I'd like to hear your opinion - what is better.

I would treat quoted material differently from whatever comment(s) I
may have chosen to add. #1 works with everyday prose, if one is not quoting...
other people's software will adjust the line length as needed to fit within the
space available on their computer screen. I take it most Fidonetters set their
margins at 76-80 characters per line... but I saw something recently in another
echo which indicated the number might be as low as 40, or as high as 100+. The
adjustment I am alluding to here is what I described previously as "line wrap".

Adjustments to line length can often be made without sacrificing the
integrity of the original message. If the trend nowadays is to force us to use
a single space between sentences, rather than the double space I think makes my
work easier to read, I may feel mildly irritated about how these young whipper-
snapper programmers think they know how to use my native language better than I
do although I'm qualified to teach English at secondary school level here in BC
& although I was involved in Fidonet while they were still wet behind the ears.
But I think you'll know what I mean even if my work looks a bit untidy.... Smile

ak> 1. Paragraphs consist of one long line. Like this (and yours):

ak> I've made a very useful utility "Quoter." It is a freeware program and
ak> designed for the people who love participate in discussions in
ak> USENET, FIDONET groups and also in web forums.

Since you began this paragraph with "ak>" my computer recognized the
entire paragraph as a quotation & added your initials to subsequent lines. The
author's intent is not in doubt, although the placement of "ak>" varies.

My computer also decided to put the word "USENET" on the third line,
probably because when left to its own devices timEd (my message editor program)
limits the length of quoted lines to 72 characters. By typing the ">" yourself
at the beginning of the paragraph you were in effect instructing timEd that you
wanted to take charge of the decision-making about line length, whereupon timEd
did its best to cram as much as possible into the first line before reaching my
screen limit. The screen limit forced a line wrap. And then timEd reverted to
doing its own thing because you'd offered no further information about what you
were expecting it to do with all the stuff it couldn't fit into the first line.

In variant #1, while I'd prefer the result to be more consistent WRT
spacing, the meaning is still clear. It may not be by the time this same quote
has been through half a dozen other computer systems en route to Someplace Else
... or by the time your modem buddies in the DEBATE echo have requoted it. Smile

ak> 2. in the second variant I format all the lines to read them better:

ak> I've made a very useful utility "Quoter." It is a freeware program
ak> and designed for the people who love participate in discussions in
ak> USENET, FIDONET groups and also in web forums.

AFAIC, this is easier to read & more esthetically attractive because
of the consistency in the spacing. If not all the lines are precisely the same
length I'd rather see some minor discrepacies at the right margin than a clumsy
attempt to adjust the spacing between words and/or letters. The idea is not to
distract the reader either by thoughtless untidiness or by compulsive neatness.

I gather you have set a limit of 72 characters in variant #2. This
limit allows for the possibility that other folks might want to comment on what
two or more individuals have already said & add comments of their own. For the
vast majority of users, it's probably quite satisfactory. However:

1) Because of the nature of the echoes I participate in most frequently a lot
of my readers aren't native speakers of English and/or may be emotionally upset
about various life circumstances they're struggling with. The judicious use of
blank spaces enables the reader to take mental breaks as necessary. That's why
books aimed at beginning readers often have only a few words on each page.

2) You've noticed how disaster strikes when "FS"... with his margin evidently
set at 76 characters... tries to quote a sentence which has been quoted several
times already. In your earlier message, "I" and "I'm" were located in splendid
isolation on the next line where they were attributed to you whether or not you
were the original author. I limit my own quotes to +/- 65 characters, in order
to allow for the possibility that somebody who has more than two initials (e.g.
"ARS" or "MvdV"Wink might want to comment and leave enough space for others to add
"-> ->" or ">>>>>" before I give up & resort to using the "(N)ext" key.... ;-)

--- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
* Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/7715)


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