Top-posting

Jay Ashworth jra at baylink.com
Mon Apr 11 19:05:51 CDT 2011


----- Original Message -----
> From: "Daniel Staal" <DStaal at usa.net>

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

Nope; I really said it.  :-)

> > 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.

Footnote: Maybe that was more Usenet, that early.  :-)

> > 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.

Well put.

> #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.)

I sorely hate to admit it, but you're right.  I tried doing traditional
quoting on emails in my last position (as IT director in a call center),
and everyone else's heads came off and rolled around on the floor; my boss,
the controller, actually *asked me to stop*.

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

We clearly agree, here.  Hopefully, we've clarified the reasons why, 
for anyone who was on the fence.

> (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.)

I have.  No, not necessarily.

Cheers,
-- jra




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