[rrd-users] Top-posting vs bottom-posting was Re: CDEF: comparing Strings

Simon Hobson linux at thehobsons.co.uk
Tue Nov 8 17:01:53 CET 2011

Aleksandr Pasechnik wrote:
>As an off-topic note, I'm not sure this is correct, Simon. These 
>days a good deal of people use threaded email clients (at least 
>people i interact with). Given that this is a mailing list and most 
>people already have the rest of the message thread, it makes sense 
>to put the reply at the top and have the rest of the message for 
>reference at the bottom. Of course, if you're answering a number of 
>specific questions listed in the previous email, it might make some 
>sense to interleave your responses with the previous content. My 
>argument is that the quoted content is not for reading, it is for 
>reference. Comments?

Yes, the same people that top post also tend to be the same people 
that never trim any redundant text - and that includes not even 
removing multiple footers etc. Hmm, how much did you include in your 
message ?
As you point out, all that quoted text is not required for those 
using threaded mailers or threaded archive viewers.

The **ONLY** situation I can see where quoting a whole exchange is 
where a discussion has gone on and it then gets forwarded to someone 
else - when it's useful to include all the previous exchanges. That's 
**NOT** the case in a mailing list thread.
Even with that, it's still not (IMO) an excuse for top posting and 
making the thread very hard to read, especially if there are multiple 
inline answers to individual points - ie a mix of top posting, and 
bottom posting that could be avoided by sticking to the one (bottom 
posting) that works for just about all cases.

To me it's darn annoying. I realise it doesn't bother a lot of 
people, but it means that if I (for example) want to include a 
snipped of the previous quoted message (ie quote a quote) for 
context, then to make sense it needs to be rearranged.
Even without that, I find it more useful to know the context 
**before** I read a comment than afterwards. On some lists I frequent 
that is quite important, though it's not a big issue on a quiet list 
like this.

Perhaps it's just me showing my age. I was brought up to write 
letters, not throw a few random words together and expect the reader 
to sort it all out. To me, top posting indicates a combination or 
laziness and/or ignorance*, failing to trim excess quoted material 
just laziness. If someone can't be bothered putting a little effort 
into making their request easy to read, then in my mind that sets an 
indication of how important (or not) it is to them. If it's not 
important enough to them to spend a couple of seconds, then should it 
be important enough for people to provide a response ?

* As already said, a lot of this started with Outlook and the brain 
dead developers at Microsoft - and of course, the style was then 
copied by other idiots. If that's all that users have seen, then it's 
hardly surprising they don't know better.

As for poor English etc, it's usually fairly obvious whether someone 
is using English as a non-native language (and I'll try hard to 
understand them) or they are just plain lazy (in which case I'm 
somewhat less inclined to put in the effort.

Simon Hobson

Visit http://www.magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk/ for books by acclaimed
author Gladys Hobson. Novels - poetry - short stories - ideal as
Christmas stocking fillers. Some available as e-books.

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