Re: If you ever want a message deleted from the archive after you've posted, and replies to same blocked #adminnotice


Louise (and anyone else who uses, or may be interested in learning about using, the web interface),

Blessedly, the web interface does not do what most email clients do, and that's bottom quoting everything that's in the message to which you're replying.  In fact, it doesn't automatically quote anything.  When you want to retain some snippet from the message you're replying to, you select the text you wish to be TOP quoted prior to hitting the Reply link and that material, and only that material, will be block quoted at the top and your insert cursor placed below it.  Someone, and I cannot recall who, told me at one point that it wasn't easy for him to tell where the block quoted material ended and my reply began, so I have adopted the practice of putting a hyphen alone on its own line before starting my own reply content when I am retaining top quoted material for context.  So your observation, "because the only text that appears in the message body edit field when composing a reply is the text that I myself have typed," is spot on if you did not intentionally select any text in the message to which you're replying before hitting the Reply link.

I almost never use the block quote button in the compose window (and that's what it shows when i hover over it, but it's possible it could be announced as quote post, but that would be misleading if it did).  It's handy if you really need to do a quote-response-quote-response style reply such that you can keep block quoting single lines or small portions from several prior messages.  If I want to do this style for a single message, I just select the whole thing before hitting Reply, then placing my cursor where I want to break the whole block quoted portion into a "reply piece" above and then do my hyphen and respond below it.  Then it's lather, rinse, repeat for all the subsequent chunks.  This is a case where the screen reader announcing block quote is, to me, very handy, as it tells you when one starts and, if it happens to be long, lets you jump out of the block quote to the next fresh response text with the Q browsing single-letter NVDA shortcut.

On the web interface, the show quoted text button is present (usually at the end of the current message, if it was sent by e-mail and the person who sent it bottom quoted anything) only if there exists quoted material that could be shown.  However, even when that material is hidden this way, it does exist in the message body.  This is done to make messages more clean and readable.  But it doesn't make them any "cleaner" when it comes to archives searches, where if you choose a phrase from the original message and it's been bottom-quoted, sometimes multiple times and multiple quote levels deep, all of the individual messages with that phrase in it are returned.  It makes it much more difficult to isolate source material, which is why I ask people to trim when nothing that's been said so far, or just a tiny bit of it, is needed in order to know who and/or what is being responded to in a given topic.

By the way, Gmail's web interface does something very similar in terms of its presentation of quoted material, but, and it's a really important but, Gmail automatically bottom quotes the whole prior message when you do a reply.  There is a small button at the bottom of the compose window, prior to your signature if you're using one, that appears as a thin button with three dots that, when I hover over it, shows, "Show trimmed content."  Why they use the term "trimmed content" I'm not quite certain, as it's not truly been trimmed, just hidden from view.  And in the case of Gmail, even just in regular mail exchanges, I will show that trimmed content and nuke it before replying so that it doesn't keep being dragged along if it's not needed.  Most email users these days (at least in the sighted world, and plenty in the blind and low vision world, too) use threaded or conversation view in their email or webmail clients.  That makes it easy to refer back to earlier messages when you need to, so having prior messages bottom quoted and hidden via the Show trimmed content feature doesn't really do much good.

You'll probably notice that all of my messages are absent a "Show Quoted Text" button at the bottom of the message in the web interface.  And that's because it's following a convention that I have previously stated is common in "the sighted world" and that is the use of brief top quotes when you need to establish a clear context for what comes afterward.  Anything quoted at the bottom of a message is considered "flotsam and jetsam" that just so happens to have been left there, and it gets masked when it is.

In topics where there may be many participants, and we have quite a few of those, I don't want to have to search past the content of the current message in an attempt to figure out what it is in reply to when that is not instantly clear.  I want the "what it's in reply to" to be briefly quoted at the outset, with the new material following.  But it should be a brief quote.  It's obnoxious to top quote 5 paragraphs of material before you start your reply.  Anyone reading a topic has either been reading all along, or can go back to play catch up if they've made late entry into an ongoing discussion.

Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H1, Build 19043  

Science has become just another voice in the room; it has lost its platform.  Now, you simply declare your own truth.

       ~ Dr. Paul A. Offit, in New York Times article, How Anti-Vaccine Sentiment Took Hold in the United States, September 23, 2019


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