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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: Christopher Chaltain <>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 23:01:14 -0500

Dominik Riebeling wrote:
> And why does "business e-mail" use top-posting? Simply because nobody
> bothered about the readability of the mails! Some guys decided "we
> need email", started using it but did not think a minute about how it
> works and a good way to use it. (And no, you can't convince me there's
> a really good reason for using top-posting for business email,
> especially not about how it originated. In business snail mail you
> don't copy the original and attach it to your answer, do you? Why do
> this for email?).
> Sadly, top-posting has become a widespread phenomenon and even more
> sadly most people refuse to think only a few minutes about the topic
> and look after good solutions.
In snail mail, I don't typically embed my replies in the context of the
person who sent me the original mail either. When I'm replying to
someone's snail mail, I typically assume they remember what they sent me
and I write a letter using paragraphs, sentences, complete ideas and so
on. Similarly, if someone sends me an email, when I reply, I consider
things like how many people I'll be including on the response, how
familiar they are with the issues, how many issues are being addressed
and so on. Actually, I don't really even think about it all that much.
If someone sends me a note like "What MP3 player would you recommend to
use with Rockbox?" I'd top post a reply with something like "You can
find out more about the MP3 players that work with Rockbox at the
following site:" Of course, I could leave the original question there
and bottom post just the URL, but in most cases, since the person knows
the question they sent me, it seems unnecessary. I do the same in the
blindness related mailing lists I participate in. However, when I get a
mail with multiple points and my response is going to multiple people, I
obviously embed my responses in line.

I could be wrong, but I still think that there are plenty of situations
where there's nothing wrong with top posting, and in fact, it's
preferable. If you have a better argument for why top posting serves no
purpose other than the adhomenin argument you used above, I'm all ears!

Received on 2007-08-28

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