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Best Mode for Speechd-el Quoting, Inefficient Bottom-Posting

From: Veli-Pekka Tätilä
Subject: Best Mode for Speechd-el Quoting, Inefficient Bottom-Posting
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 00:01:52 +0300

Hi list,  In brief, I've done some reading and have concluded that I will 
use Emacs for writing e-mail but not managing it. Gnus and Rmail are often 
mentioned but as far as I can tell from their manuals and some googling 
relatively few auto quoting and new movement commands have been defined. Can 
this be true? Ideally, I would like commands for the following things below, 
so my question would be which Emacs major mode would be the closest here and 
where are its docs? I will happily do the learning if you can point me to 
the right direction. I might even be able to add new commands, once i learn 
enough Lisp.

Conceptually I think of an e-mail message as containing lines at a 
particular quoting level where 0 means unquoted text, 1 is the most recent 
quote and so on. YOu can further divide quoting into all contiguous text at 
a particular level, call it quote level, or larger blocks. In larger blocks, 
a set of lines with a descending set of quote levels up to 1 could be called 
a fibre in a post of a thread, that is all discussion below a quoting level 
n that refers to that quote. Let me illustrate:

this is quoting at level too,


and this would be what I could call a fibre in a discussion:


With these definitions Commands like this would be very useful:

* move to the first line of next/prev quote at level n, or if not valid, 
closest to n
* move to the first line of next/prev fibre at level n: typically smallest 
or largest level
* kill from the start of the fibre to the cursor
* killl from the cursor to the end of the fibre, move to level 0 for editing
* kill everything other than selection in this fibre, moving to level 0 for 
* kill the whole fibre, i.e. nothing to add to that

Quotes should be handled transparently, too. They are not really part of the 
text so a better indication than greater than greater than greater than 
should be used, maybe a level number read by speechd-el, only read at the 
first line of that level. Quotes need not be editable either, there's no 
need to cursor to them or type over them, if the mailer is smart enough. IF 
you snip anything other than a whoel line, the mailer could rewrap and 
re-quote the whole fibre on the fly transparently, making sure that lines 
are as long as possible while honoring word wrap, and still wrapping at word 
boundaries to make nice speech reading by line as most blind folks do, I 

All this was inspired by some reflective thinking of how I edit mail in my 
current Windows editor, which is not Emacs just yet. Still I would argue 
that Emacs in text mode would not be much more efficient, the way I use it.

Here's how it works:

What I generally try to do is find the next level 1 quote. I can use 
magnification or regexp for this, so I don't need to cursor down and hear 
great great great great great, but it is still not as fast as for the 
sighted.  Only if level 1 quoting was not clear enough, do I go and look at 
earlier quoting levels to disambiguate.

I usually snip everything  that's not absolutely necessary to understanding, 
usually everything above level 1. Because it is easy, I tend to snip in the 
unit of whole lines. But if I want to be real space conscious, I hardly ever 
quote more than 5 lines with a bracketed [context] line included, I go and 
snip mid sentence in stead.

Then to keep lines as long as possible, to maximize the amount I'm read when 
cursoring lines, I go and if I've snipped quoting, reinsert the quoting by 
hand. THen if the quote takes more than one line still, I start rewrapping 
by hand. I use the status bar to figure out the right wrap margin, 
reinserting quote characters and breaking lines manually. THis is very, very 
stupid, I know, but my current editor cannot do much better.

I would not work like this in Emacs unlesss in Cua mode but I've evolved an 
editing procedure for such editing. I cursor down lines shift down, scanning 
the left side 7x magnified for a single greater than sign. THen I read 
enough to determine where I want to start snipping, cursor by line and word 
the rest of the way if needed, taking advantage of key repeat, and then hit 
backspace to delete up to that point. If I do snip I will have to rewrap and 
reinsert quote signs at this point. Next, I'll read on figuring out I either 
include till the end of that level 1 quote, or find out a point from which 
to snip the rest, shift cursoring down some more until the end of that 
quoting level. EIther way, I then hit enter, edit at lefvel 0, and start the 
same editing procedure all over again for the next fibre inserting a blank 
line before it. Despite all this, I manage to like in-the-middle posting, 
<smile>. If I do top post, I keep a copy of what I'm replying in a separate 
buffer for reading.

I easily edit like this at least an hour a day, so any improvement in the 
process would be welcome. A major improvement, once again, would be a great 
benefit of Emacs, in fact. It would seem likely to me there are major modes 
to help with this, seeing that e-mail is so universal. But most of the 
navigation would only be useful blind, where you cannot really scan 
visually, I really cannot much magnified either, and speechd-el doesn't do 
that, too.

Emacs's ability to read by sentence is already a great thing, far better 
than being constraint by logical line breaks in getting content, that's one 
of the things I like about it.  I also tried minor-outline-mode in perl-mode 
today, and man it is great! I have nothing like that in my Windows editor, 
so I'm considering doing the portable Perl stuff in Emacs, Linux.

With kind regards Veli-Pekka T?til?
Accessibility, Apps and Coding plus Synths and Music:

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