On Top Posting

Alex asked why people hate top-posting. I think I provided a good, concise answer on why people prefer bottom-posting.

I’m not one those jerks that’ll upbraid someone for top-posting on a mailing list [well, not anymore, anyway; I’m sure you could spend some time with Google, ‘morrisg@uah.edu’, and ‘gmorris@totk.com’ and prove me wrong!], though. If someone is continuously top-posting and is using pronouns and vague allusions to the topic at hand like they’re going out of style, I might ask them, kindly and off-list, to re-consider.

The worst top-posters don’t give you any of the text they’re replying to in their email.

It’s all about context, and I think context is best given in a chronological order. That’s why I bottom-post.

… except at work, where I’d probably confuse people by not top-posting. I almost exclusively top-post at work, but my private emails are almost exclusively bottom-posted. I’m very much okay with the dichotomy, too.

7 comments

  1. I prefer the snip-and-post, too. When I started writing and editing for cMW, I learned that way of replying simply because when you’re editing a review/article/etc., you have to provide specific context.

    And it does slightly annoy me when people reply with top-posting. To be honest, it generally looks a little sloppy and includes more information than is necessary (it seems polite to get rid of the headers to save your reader(s) time, etc.).

  2. To be honest, it generally looks a little sloppy and includes more information than is necessary (it seems polite to get rid of the headers to save your reader(s) time, etc.).

    That’s exactly why I do it. I may spend a little more time on it, but if my reader spends that much less time reading what I write and understanding it, I feel that it’s time well spent.

  3. I understand your reasoning, but don’t always think bottom posting is necessary. If I’m answering direct queeries or assertions by the original correspondant, then I’ll use the snip and comment method.

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