C & P

So what do you guys think about C&P arguing around here? I’ve seen people call a variety of things C&P, so I’ll explain my definition as I understand it.

A response is made in typical paragraph fashion. A contrasting view point is argued against this by copying and pasting the entire thread (or frequently just parts taken out of context) and then quoting it out and making one line retorts to each sentence, phrase, or part of a complete thought.

To me this is completely useless, and making arguements in a non-linear, and non-cohesive fashion which really makes little effort to form a complete position. Not only does it seem to make virtually any point of view and well formed arguement susceptable to twisting, and complete obfuscation. It also leaves the poster with nothing to retort, except useless one line snipets that can’t be strung together to create a position of opposition.

Its like guerrila warfare, it can’t be confronted. But, what does that solve here?

Solve? You mean we’re supposed to be solving something here?

I agree with your slant on things but I see a lot of posters who think that those of us who do not cut-and-paste are the poor arguers. I don’t think we’re ever gonna convince those dopes otherwise. I just try to accommodate 'em.


In general, I agree that it is more irritating than useful. I have used it once or twice when I have encountered a post so totally devoid of intelligence that I figured mocking it out would be more fun than going to the poster’s house and throttling him/her.

I have also had it used on me a couple of times. When it has happened, I have responded in paragraph mode so as to “break the cycle.” It was a little more work, but if I thought my views needed expression, it was worth it.
(If I could make no response, perhaps my “opponent” was correct–or perhaps they were so stupid as to be incapable of correction.)

On the other hand, there are only one or two posters, here, who use exclusively that style. I generally scroll through those quickly to find any humor, then ignore them. After the second or third volley, if two people are both engaging in the same manner, they usually have degenerated into meaningless snarls and I simply skip their posts, completely.

If I saw that style taking over the board, I would probably raise a mild complaint, then, if it continued, leave. It isn’t worth the hassle (to me) to fight over it.

There are so many things to be irritated about (ignorance, uncivility, plain meanness) in these fora (SDMB Fora, here, and MBs and NGs, generally), that I have basically taken a Hakuna Matata approach to the whole thing. It is fun while it is fun. If something on the board irritated me enough that I snapped at a co-worker, my wife, or my kids, out of residual frustration, then it would certainly be time to knock off posting for a while.


IMHO, C&P, like any technique, can be useful and can be annoying. The question of use should depend on the context. C&P is quoting. Do you NEED to quote what the person said in order to make your point clear? If so, then C&P. If not, then don’t. Very simple, seems to me.

Personally, I almost never read posts that C&P line by line to make a line by line response. Borrrrrrrrrring.

You guys are right, it does make it easy to twist, and i’m one of the most guilty about it. but, i feel you have to sometimes because some people on this board are very prone to misquoting. Also, sometimes a reply is 6 or 7 posts later, it helps document what you’re replying to. but some people do misuse it.

Mmm hehe um yah jack am coke, yah yah, vodka- Keith Richards

Like it or not, the completely linear style used to thread messages here almost requires C&P to discuss things intelligently. If you are posting a disagreement with something someone wrote, the clearest way to let the reader know what comments you are addressing is to specifically copy those comments. If the threads were formatted using a tree structure, the C&P could be diminished considerably. I think without C&P’ing, you would have a hard time following the thread, especially considering the number of non-sequiters and un-OP related comments that are made during a lengthy ‘Great Debate.’

I like C&P.

However, maybe I’ve watched too much “Beavis and Butthead,” because every time someone writes “'A poster said. . .” I can just hear one of the bombed-out duo saying “Heh, Heh, he said. . . .”

I have absolutely no problem with quoting, and bringing ideas together using it, but its the dissection of an entire post sentence by sentance that is frustrating. Hell you can quote out every response AFAIC, just do it one paragraph at a time, not every sentence, or phrase. Then when they reply their comments are no longer than a phrase or buzz word of some kind.

Spoons explained it pretty well. Sometimes even if you think you’re replying directly to the latest response (saying, “Yeah, you’re right!” for example), somebody else can sneak a post in before yours is posted, and it looks like you’re agreeing with something you’re not.

Personally, I C&P a lot because I’ve been doing it that way for years. On FidoNet, it took several days for messages to get back and forth. It was a requirement on most conferences in which I participated that you quote that which you were referring to. Otherwise people had no clue what you were talking about.

Besides, I like to address one point at a time, and C&P allows that. While it is possible to take something out of context, at least around here the context is a few messages up, so it’s not like it’s a big deal to point this out.

All in all, I think complaining about C&P, except in extreme cases, is much ado about nothing.

And I just proved my own point. When I started my response, Spoons’ message was the last one. During the time I was typing, two more posts were entered into the thread.

Omni said:

Some sentences should be dissected. Sometimes responding to a whole paragraph doesn’t have the same “oomph” as going through every individual claim or statement. It just depends on the situation.

Spoons, my take on the OP was the same as Dex’s. I don’t think Omniscient was complaining about C&P, itself, but the specific format:*

Which is completely irrelevant to the topic.

What is this? Second-hand information or an appeal to “authority”?

It’s an AK-47 you twit! And 1,000 takes a comma; it isn’t the year 1000, ya know.*

I think most of us are OK with C&P, in general. I am not thrilled to find a 50-line post C&P’d in its entirety as the beginning of the response in the very next post, but I’m not going to get loud about it.
Performing a bit of C&P to highlight a specific point for response is very appropriate. (Of course, that is how I do it. < smug grin > )


Tom’s got the handle on the situation. And a very good Abbott and Costello routine to show the banter C&P usually creates.

On target. Suggestions for “courteous” C&P operations:

  1. C&P just the material you wish to comment on. Always do this when you’re addressing a specific point brought up by a previous poster.
  2. If your comment is general to the thread, rather than directed at one specific response, don’t C&P at all.
  3. Avoid more than a couple of C&P per post.
  4. If it is necessary to take apart a wrongheaded response, use paragraph format and quotes:
  • “It’s an AK-47, you knucklehead.” Well, appropriate correction from AK48, if he were talking about guns. Unfortunately, he was making reference to Ausgleich Kannonwagon model 48, an Austrian tank.*

I’d agree with that.

Me neither! People can be so wordy!

Hard to do considering this is a typed media, but I digress …

Hehe, point well taken. :slight_smile: I guess my limited time here has only exposed me to good use of C&P. Broken up or out-of-context quotes does seem to be a pretty poor use. Like David, my thoughts on the matter are based mainly on other forums, like e-mail, or older news groups, where C&P is/was not only considered good form, it is/was generally required. Like all things, it can be abused.

Y’know, I thought maybe Omni was trying to get an argument about the Chesapeake and Potomac Canal started. That debate would only be 180 years too late or so…nothing compared to some of the ones we have! :slight_smile:

Omniscient wrote:

You mean like this? :slight_smile: