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Just A Rant

And probably a futile one, and one that I've even probably kvetched about before. But when did top posting become the norm for email? Was it Microsoft and AOL's fault?

And is there anything that can be done at this point? In many extended discussions, I feel like I'm driving on the wrong side of the road in my own country.


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Neil H. wrote:

Of course, with gmail's threading you essentially get bottom-style posting while reading messages, regardless of the original posting-style. ;)

Jonathan wrote:

I don't think the widespread use of top-posting is arbitrary. One reason to prefer top-posting is that many correspondents quote entire long emails before making a brief reply such as "I agree." With top-posting, it doesn't matter if they do this. With bottom-posting, most email exchanges require scrolling.

Fuloydo wrote:

I didn't realize it was a problem.

I always "Top Post", didn't know it had a name, because I figure the person I'm replying to has already read what they sent me.

Usually I delete their text completely unless there is something I'm specifically referring to.

But then I rarely, if ever, get involved in multi-volley email exchanges.

I can see where it could be a problem, or at least an irritant, in an on-going email discussion involving more than one or two messages.

Rick C wrote:


back in the day, etiquette required you to remove as much of the previous conversation as you could. This tended to cut down on the scrolling. It also made emails smaller.

Rand, the horse has left the barn on this, at least a decade ago, probably. Most top posters are adamant about doing it and refuse to listen to the counter-arguments, in my experience. It's slightly less work, I guess.

Billy Beck wrote:

To my mind and eye of the history, I'm tagging Microsoft. It was Outlook that did this.

I think top-posters are fucking assholes, Rand, but that's about all that can be done for it.

Mike Earl wrote:

The whole include-message-in-reply business is insane anyway; if we could depend on people having mail clients with halfway decent threading it would be unnecessary regardless, but apparently we've given up on that...?

teqjack wrote:

In EMails and most Usenet posts, it sort-of makes sense. Although just about the first thing I do when I go to my EMail is change the order of header display from LIFO to FIFO.

But I do find it irritating on news sites. Article, then comment which is a long reply not to the article but to some previous comment, which may be several web pages later?

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on July 22, 2008 4:14 PM.

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