Top-posting (was: Barracuda Networks is at it again: Any Suggestions as to anAlternative? )

D'Arcy J.M. Cain darcy at
Tue Apr 12 11:12:41 UTC 2011

On Tue, 12 Apr 2011 07:49:17 +0100
Tim Chown <tjc at> wrote:
>> Call me and old 'hard case' - but I prefer that when I get information
>> via email, that if possible, the relevant information show up
>> immediately.

Right.  And the most relevant information is the snippet being replied
to in that email - or that part of the email.
> Well indeed, top-posting is just so much more efficient given the
> volumes of email most of us probably see each day.

Indeed.  It lets us filter out people who don't understand the protocol
and probably have less useful information for us.

> Back when receiving an email was an event, and your xbiff flag
> popping up was a cause for excitement, taking time to scroll/page down

Back then we also trimmed the text so that we didn't have to page down
a few screens to see the reply.  Then, like now, if someone can't be
bothered to compose a message properly I just move on.

Also back then we still read lots of messages.  We just used Usenet
instead of email.  Now that email has supplanted Usenet for many
discussion groups (a good thing IMHO) we get more mail.  I find that
the amount of time spent reading discussions has been pretty steady
over the years.  It's just the number of groups that has decreased as
has the medium.

The way I see it, I read many orders of magnitude more messages than I
send.  That tells me that the bulk of the work involved should be in
composing.  The work composing is multiplied by 1.  The work reading
can be multiplied by many thousands.

> changed; bottom-posted email is now an annoyance to most just as a
> slow-loading web page would be.

It's only an annoyance if you try to repeat the entire thread in each
message.  The basic rule is not "you must bottom post."  It is "you
must trim and bottom post."  For more detail we have archives.

D'Arcy J.M. Cain <darcy at>         |  Democracy is three wolves                |  and a sheep voting on
+1 416 425 1212     (DoD#0082)    (eNTP)   |  what's for dinner.

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