Reply -> top-post or bottom-post.

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by wege, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. wege

    wege Guest

    Which is the "proper" way to reply to an email - top-post or

    wege, Mar 9, 2007
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  2. wege

    gordon Guest

    Email - doesn't matter.

    If you are referring to a NEWSGROUP, such as this, then the accepted way is
    to trim the post you are replying to and post your reply underneath. After
    all, you don't read a book from the bottom up, do you?
    gordon, Mar 9, 2007
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  3. wege

    Mike Easter Guest

    In some corporate /email/ environments, the proper reply is 'text over,
    fullquote under' TOFU -- and that tofu style is passed from a project
    manager to a project underling to a project supervisor to a project
    coordinator etc.

    In almost 100% of /newsgroup/ replies, neither top posting tofu which is
    untrimmed and non-contextualized nor 'bottom' posting in an 'opposite'
    untrimmed noncontextualized manner is optimal.

    In newsgroup replies, the critical elements are the trimming and the
    contextualizing and the attributing.

    If you properly trim away all of the previous post to which you aren't
    responding while leaving the correctly located attribution and make your
    remarks preceded by an empty line _under_/after the precise words to
    which you are replying and then trim away everything else, your replies
    will demonstrate that you are able to read and understand what was said
    before you replied, and also that your remarks will be 'on the money'
    responsive to the preceding words which very words will be right before
    your eyes when you make/type your own remarks.

    People who fail to trim and contextualize also fail to read what was
    said before accurately, and fail to address their remarks directly to
    the words which were previously stated.

    Here's a demonstration: Quoting Style in
    Newsgroup Postings
    Mike Easter, Mar 9, 2007
  4. wege

    SgtMinor Guest

    The book reading analogy has some problems. If you lay down your book
    after finishing chapter 4, do you read chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 again
    before starting on chapter 5?
    SgtMinor, Mar 9, 2007
  5. wege

    Mike Easter Guest

    Except the analogy in this example would be a special way of reading a
    book or pamphlet in which you tore out and disposed of the pages and
    parts of pages which you weren't talking about. It would be a
    non-analogous process by which you highlighted the part of a chapter's
    page which you wanted your friend to read, and when you handed your
    friend the book, all of the other pages and words disappeared except
    those which were highlighted.

    And, to further specialize the analogy -- the disappearing book also
    would have a special feature. The special feature would enable you to
    push an electronic button and cause all of the rest of the book which
    had disappeared to reappear, in case your friend wanted to read the
    entire book, chapter, or page before commenting on the particular part
    which you had highlighted.

    The reason that it is completely unnecessary to retain any words which
    aren't specifically being replied to is because all of those words and
    all of the words which preceded it are still available. Every message
    has a References section which contains the message id of the message
    which is being replied and every other message of the thread which
    preceded it -- so there is no need for anyone to retain any of the
    'extra' words to which they are not replying. There only needs to be
    enough 'immediate' context to provide a 'reference' which remarks are
    being revised and extended or rebutted or agreed or otherwise remarked.

    All of the rest of the 'framework' which accompanied those few words
    which are left as a 'skeleton' can be disposed of, because the entire
    body of the thread is recoverable by alternate means if someone should

    That is an argument for aggressive trimming; the elimination of not
    only chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4, but also almost all of chapter 5.
    Mike Easter, Mar 9, 2007
  6. wege

    Stickems. Guest

    Top post is the easiest and quickest way to both reply and to follow a

    | Which is the "proper" way to reply to an email - top-post or
    | bottom-post?
    | Thanks,
    | wege
    Stickems., Mar 9, 2007
  7. wege

    Mike Easter Guest

    Top posting destroys a discussion's order, and generally demonstrates
    that the top poster isn't able to read what was written before, and
    generally demonstrates that the top poster is unable to respond directly
    or accurately to what was said before, and then confuses any other
    readers as to what particular part of the previous conversation was
    being addressed by the top poster.

    In addition, top posting demonstrates that the top poster is lazy [too
    lazy to properly trim and contextualize], egocentrical [whatever s/he
    says s/he thinks is so important it belongs higher up than anything
    anyone else had to say], and inconsiderate [uncaring as to carrying hir
    fair share of a community effort to organize the conversation in a
    proper sequential order].

    So, the lazy egocentrical inconsiderate top poster who can't read or
    write soon finds that hir posts are invisible to quite a number of other
    readers, because they have killfilled hir.
    Mike Easter, Mar 9, 2007
  8. Ain't that the *truth*! And you don't have
    to do the scrolly thing all the way down to
    the nethers to find out what's going on...
    Near wore slap out a scroll wheel doing that.
    And that's the way they do it in the M$ Public
    groups, so must be something to it.


    The personification of "ambition" is a flea
    crawling up an elephant's tail with rape on its mind.

    The personification of "delusion" is that flea
    arriving at its climax screaming "suffer baby, suffer."
    Bucky Breeder, Mar 9, 2007
  9. That's why you trim the non-relevant points before inter- or
    Blinky the Shark, Mar 9, 2007

  10. Really *good* question! It's original, well-composed,
    comprehensive yet concise, and relevant to today's topic.

    Well done!

    The response to be considered may be that either
    top or bottom posting are correct and/or useful
    depending on the customs of the setting in which one
    is participating. Microsoft Public's groups, being
    case-in-point, as utilizing top-posting - but in this
    group, most of the regulars prefer bottom-posting
    because that is the general consensus of the group.

    To me, there's a lot to be said for reading the most
    recent comment, and scrolling back to see where the
    author is coming from; as juxtaposed to downloading
    and then scrolling through a monotonious diatribe to find
    out the the author is totally missing the point of the
    "Subject" field by his/her filter/focus and editing thusly.

    When folks search a topic (as related to this group)
    they want an *answer* first - not scroll through a
    disertation on how Einstein created kibbles and bits.

    However, the poster asked about his *e-Mail*...

    If you've ever done government, commercial, or clinical
    correspondence, you attach previous communications in
    descending order to the back, and sometimes use a cover
    sheet; most-recent first; most-distant last;
    not-necessarily all the way back to the original -
    if those issues have since been resolved. The current
    message is most readily accessable. The preliminary
    stuff, you have to use a little effort to go back to.

    In my experience, most corporate types like the newest
    message (response) on top, with at least the most
    recent appended to the bottom - as a quick reference.
    Some like the whole conversation, because they're doing
    a lot of issues and don't have time to keep records, and
    don't like to be "told" what they've previously said -
    when they can zip down and just jog their memories... etc.

    But, that's just a common communications protocol.

    If something in the original message makes you wonder
    how the sender would prefer the response, you might
    inject a quick comment asking how they'd like to r'cve
    future x-missions... The original sender might appreciate
    your courtesy and it'd enhance your future business options
    and/or appeal.

    "Commuication" implies "agreement"; thus, "When in
    Rome then do as the Romans do" and everything should
    be just fine! (o:

    Have a nice day.


    The personification of "ambition" is a flea
    crawling up an elephant's tail with rape on its mind.

    The personification of "delusion" is that flea
    arriving at its climax screaming "suffer baby, suffer."
    Bucky Breeder, Mar 9, 2007
  11. wege

    SgtMinor Guest

    That's why the book reading analogy is no good. People don't rip
    chapters out of a book just because they're done reading them.
    SgtMinor, Mar 10, 2007
  12. They can if they own the book.
    Blinky the Shark, Mar 10, 2007
  13. I've been bottom posting for years, but I still think that top posting
    makes more sense. It has to do with the way that Netscape and/or Mozilla
    orders posts I suppose, but I can read one post and then the follow up
    has the pertinant data right on top, easy to find. No scrolling down.
    But years of arguments on this issue has not produced any clear cut
    winner other than that bottom posting is more prevalent.

    Overall, I'm not sure it matters.
    =?ISO-8859-1?Q?R=F4g=EAr?=, Mar 10, 2007
  14. Actually, it's provided one clear cut winner for the terminally lazy and
    a better clear cut winner for those of us who still have a pulse.
    Blinky the Shark, Mar 10, 2007
  15. wege

    SgtMinor Guest

    They don't own Usenet.
    SgtMinor, Mar 10, 2007
  16. wege

    Cam-man Guest

    Blinky the Shark inspired greatness with:

    And I like to highlight the text in question, hit reply, and eliminate
    extraneous text.

    "Meanwhile, my company is at China, so We can provide you a relative
    lost price."

    From: "pgtekin" <>
    Message-ID: <>
    Cam-man, Mar 10, 2007
  17. Of course, snipping is a separate issue. Top posters always confuse
    that issue with the top/bottom posting question.

    Surprisingly, over on the server, the rule is NO snipping.
    Blinky the Shark, Mar 10, 2007
  18. Not my problem.
    Blinky the Shark, Mar 10, 2007
  19. wege

    Frosty Guest

    Yes we do!
    Frosty, Mar 10, 2007
  20. wege

    elaich Guest

    Until somebody top posts and trims everything else away, at which point you
    don't have a clue what they are talking about.

    Top posters always assume that everybody has been voraciously reading every
    single post in the thread. This might be true in internal forums, or in an
    email hierarchy, but is very untrue in Usenet.

    Bottom posting (with appropriate clipping) has ALWAYS been the standard in
    Usenet. Most of us just automatically killfile top posters.

    A top poster disturbs the logical discussion, which starts at the top and
    reads to the bottom.

    Would you pick up a book, and read it back to front? READ MY SIG.
    elaich, Mar 10, 2007
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