I can feel points growing.

One school-related thing that I am finding it really hard to get used to: Top-posting in email.

It is not like the geek world where top-posting is uniformly evil and >-quoting is normal. Top-posting is unremarkable, and in fact in Outlook it is difficult to not top-post when responding to HTML email. I am at least using Outlook-QuoteFix to >-quote when dealing with plain text, and new email I send is in plain text too.

But still.

(HTML email itself is not hard to get used to because I am using Outlook.)

One thing I’ve noticed is that >-quoting lends itself to taking apart someone’s argument point by point or line by line. It turns out that often this isn’t a very productive approach!

It’s also hard to get used to not being surrounded by geeks. One of the things I did in the weeks I had off between work and school was install Skype and plan on buying a headset, because obviously my team at school was going to use Skype for conference calling.

In fact, none of my group regularly use instant messaging, even. It’s remarkable to some classmates that I have a blog.

I’ve been working hard at not becoming “the IT guy” at school, although there are enough people on Vista that I didn’t really have to worry about that. However, I’ve converted three or four people in class to taking notes in OneNote. (It doesn’t hurt that it’s free on MSDNAA.)

I am, strangely enough, becoming “the financial accounting guy”. Unexpected!

7 responses to “I can feel points growing.”

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a work environment where folks *didn’t* top post in email. You sound like you’re adjusting well, though. :)

  2. Yeah, but I was coming from a long history of work environments in which people still ran terminal-based email clients. (Hell, I still ran mutt as of a few months ago!)

    I do weird out my teammates occasionally by using vi or bc instead of notepad or Windows’ calculator.

  3. When I started off in grad school, I was amazed at how many other librarians in my program were completely useless when it came to using the internet. Librarians are information specialists, and these people were baffled by anything that went beyond a simple Google search. I did a presentation on blogging once and I think one person in the room knew what a blog was. This was 2003. :-p

    So yeah, I tried not to be the “internet culture” specialist in the room because I’m totally not, but it just sort of happened when everyone around me was completely baffled that I spent so much of my day talking to people I’d never met inside my computer.

    But then, these were people who were baffled by the existence of graphic novels (“They even have GAY anime?!”), so towards the end I stopped finding all this surprising. ;-)

  4. I have to top post in business. It was (and still is, really) a difficult adjustment, and when it’s just back and forth with my boss or whoever, I still >-quote and post under, but with clients and colleagues I’m stuck.

  5. don’t you think the reply-by-line format is a little…well…nerdy…and not really “business-y”? :)

    I don’t know anyone who replies-by-line (I work in the sales org). I think it would even be a little abrasive.

    Actually, now that I think a little bit, we do reply-by-line sometimes, when anything else would be like “yes, yes, no, can’t get that til tomorrow, yes, no, ok”.

  6. I think it’s not “business-y” simply because business folks tend to top-post. I don’t think that’s inherent to the form, just to the software; Unix mail clients and their descendants >-quote (following Usenet convention, really) and Outlook and its descendants top-quote .

    It’s just two different cultures, though, neither necessarily better than the other — although business email tends to be short and on a single point, with anything more complicated going to the phone or a meeting as a first step. Engineers tend to resolve entire issues through email, with a meeting as an absolute last resort.

    (And when you get into the Usenet heritage then >-quoting really shines over top-posting, because at that point it really does matter which parts of a message (or, often, a whole bunch of messages) you’re referring to.)