Top-posting

Daniel Staal DStaal at usa.net
Mon Apr 11 18:39:50 CDT 2011


--As of April 11, 2011 3:11:15 PM -0400, Jay Ashworth is alleged to have 
said:

>> Of late I have started to get responses from people (not even the person
>> who top-posted) saying that I should f*** off and that they would post
>> however they wanted. Very hostile and even threatening.
>>
>> I even manage to bottom post from my iPod. With cut and paste, it's
>> really not hard, but I guess it's just beyond the capacities of some
>> and somehow offensive to others.
>
> Standard threaded (IE: not top-posted) replies have been the standard for
> technical mailing lists on the net since I first joined one.
>
> In 1983.
>
> Anyone who has a problem with it can, in short, go bugger off.  Really.

--As for the rest, it is mine.

I've found my mail has fallen into three basic categories over time:

1) Mailing list, technical or otherwise.

2) Personal discussions.

3) 'Official' work email, of one form or another.

Of the three, #1 almost always is either bottom posted, or fully 
intermixed.  #2 I often introduce people to the idea, but once they get it 
they like it.  In both of these it is more important what is replying to 
what, and what the *current state* of the conversation is.  Either one I 
can rely on the other participants to have the history (or at least have 
access to it).  Top-posting in either context is non-helpful.

#3, is always top-posted, and I've grown to like that in that context.  The 
most current post serves as a 'this is where we are right now, and what 
needs to be done', while the rest tends to preserve the *entire* history, 
including any parts I was not a part of initially.  (For instance: A user 
sends an email to their boss, who emails the helpdesk, who emails back for 
clarification, and then forwards on that reply to me.  At that point it's 
often nice to know what the original issue was, or to be able to reach the 
user directly instead of through several layers of intermediary.)

It has different strengths and weaknesses, and can be useful in it's place. 
Mailing lists are not top-posting's place.  ;)

Daniel T. Staal

(As for HTML email...  I've yet to meet an actual human who routinely used 
HTML-only emails.  They are a sure sign of a marketing department's 
involvement.)

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