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To: gentoo-admin@g.o
From: Tristan <kesuari@...>
Subject: GWN email formatting
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 14:10:14 +1100
The email edition of the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter (GWN) posts web and 
email address as footnotes after the paragraph they occur in, which 
often means that four or more extremely similar addresses may be listed 
one after another with only a number to distinguish them, e.g.

>  18. http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=31562
>  19. http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=33841
>  20. http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=33745
>  21. http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=34174

It is not at all clear what these are, other than threads in the Gentoo 
  forums <http://forums.gentoo.org/>. When reading, it is possible to 
totally ignore the footnote references and not realise there is an 
webpage associated with what's being discussed, or to forget it by the 
time you reach the footnotes, and have to have your thought process upset.

Apparently, this has its origins in the Debian Weekely Newsletter (DWN), 
which does things similarly. No doubt, they, in turn, pulled it from the 
tradition of publishing a bibliography in books and referencing them by 
numbers, often with a smaller references as a footnote.. Being a paged 
medium, footnotes always stand out in books, but are ill-suited to 
emails, where the footnote will not necessarily be visible until after 
the entire paragraph's been read.

However, every medium has its own way of publishing links to webpages 
and the like: HTML shows them as hyperlinks, for example. In most media 
where hypelinks aren't possible, especially in email, the tradition is 
to include them inline surrounded by angle brackets, as with my URL above.

Is there any particular reason why the GWN does this, other than because 
that's what the DWN does? Would it be possible to have it changed to the 
clearer, more conventional method?

Tristan McLeay.


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-- Chris Smith
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