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Subject: Re: Top-Posting, Vis-a-Vis Last Night's Fuss

Re: Top-Posting, Vis-a-Vis Last Night's Fuss

From: Kane Brolin <kbrolin65_at_gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 09:34:12 -0400

First of all, let me say that I hope this is not a top-posted message.
 I'm using my Web client, and I unchecked the box that normally would
have placed the original message below this one.

My intent here is not to extend this argument forever, but to answer
as to why I believe top-posting seems customary in business
e-mails--at least in my business.

As a member of the securities industry, my experience is that EVERY
e-mail sent to anyone outside one's company is printed, filed, and
presented to someone above me in the organizational food chain for
scrutiny. So if I am writing a series of e-mails back and forth to my
client concerning the history of stock trades, account performance, or
underwriting problems concerning an insurance policy, a partial or
contextual quoting of the original using inline quotation would be
severely frowned upon. This is because in the event of a legal
challenge, a Compliance Department wants to ensure that EVERYTHING
related to a certain issue has been fully presented, that it is duly
archived, and that it has been fully quoted for discovery purposes. A
factor related to this concerns the printing of a message like this.
If an entire message string has been archived through top-posting,
there's a need to print only once. In this way, the whole context is
saved in a hard copy file through the printing of one e-mail string
that is all together in one place. No deceptive errors of omission
with such a method.

Of course, the goal of this type of business e-mail is very different
from the goal of a list like this. Online archiving searches are a
big deal and probably are a very good reason why top-posting is bad
for this list's purpose, because it would lead to a lot of redundant
and irrelevant search results when one is looking for an answer to,
say, a specialized program glitch. Insofar as my business context is
concerned, only one or two people ever have a need to read my external
e-mails; I am not making them available to the entire world to search.
 So the purpose is different, and thus it makes sense that the
preferred posting method is different--especially in the programmer
culture.

You know, I never intended for this to lead to an emotionally heated
debate over what kind of posting should be preferred. My aim Saturday
night was not to challenge a posting rule or to throw it back in
anyone's face. My aim was simply to say that in the case of a newbie
who doesn't understand this rule or its rationale and who is obviously
a frustrated person operating in good faith, there are tactful and
constructive ways of handling the situation better than what sometimes
is practiced here. At least this is giving everyone a chance to clear
the air, though. And I'm glad that this debate has diminished from a
Category Four tempest to a Category One philosophical discussion as to
why different people and lists do different things. I appreciate the
more constructive tone of this interchange the way it is now.

-Kane
Received on 2007-08-27


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