Flames and Replies- A Reminder

Lief M. Hendrickson (hendrick@NOSC.MIL)
Thu, 9 Feb 1995 13:39:57 PST

A good point was recently made by someone on another list
about how flames and replys to long messages can affect others.
A controversial message was posted that was approximately 150
lines long. Someone was offended and posted a flame that had the
original message attached with a ">" at the beginning of each
line. A half dozen or so replies to the flame followed and each
again had the whole message sequence attached. The total number
of lines for the combined messages at that point was well over a
thousand. Multiply this by the number of people on the list and
you can see the tremendous waste of bandwidth. It doesn't bother
me personally if someone sends a private message with a long
message attached since I'm very adept at using the delete key.
However, when it's done to the whole list, the issue is

Message traffic congestion affects everyone on the list and on
the internet as well when nodes get bogged down with a high
volume of information that must be relayed to different parts of
the world. Including a short excerpt or quote from a previous
message can be a helpful way to point to the relevant part of a
referenced message. However, attaching a long message in its
entirety may cause more problems than it's worth. Consider the
additional storage space the list server then needs to store the
redundant information in archives as well as the extra processing
time at all destinations and intermediate nodes.

Anyway, chances are the readers still have a copy of the previous
message if they're really interested in the topic. Otherwise,
why take up even more space by including another copy? Readers
can also retrieve previous copies from the list archives either
by WWW or from the list server. IMHO it would be wise to
consider whether repetitive re-posting of complete messages is
really necessary when referring to long messages.