Why top-posting is bad

Rahul Siddharthan rsidd at online.fr
Thu Aug 19 06:48:36 PDT 2004

David Kelly said on Aug 19, 2004 at 08:21:05:
> Providing an introduction to a forwarded message is about the only  
> acceptable time to top-post, as I am doing right now.

Two observations:

1. While top-posting is bad in the mailing list context, it is often
   necessary in the corporate context.  It took me a while to
   appreciate this, but it's much easier for a secretary or a customer
   support person to look through the bottom of an email for *all*
   related correspondence than to dig through (possibly weeks-old or
   months-old) email.  You may have quoted what *you* think is
   "relevant", but maybe you unknowingly omitted something important,
   or maybe you didn't but the reader wants to be sure of that too.
   If you quoted everything, you may as well top-post, rather than
   force your reader to wade through pages of old stuff before getting
   to your point.

   Most people are used to email in the corporate context and thus
   used to top-posting.

2. Microsoft Outlook, which unfortunately a lot of people use, doesn't
   encourage quoting in-text: the "original message" isn't set off by
   ">" marks or anything else to indicate it wasn't something you
   wrote. (Perhaps this is a user-settable option, I don't know.)

Stemming from these, while top-posting is annoying for old-timers on
technical mailing lists, it's unfair to bash newcomers for it or to
write "Top posters will not be shown the honor of a reply" (many may
not even know what you mean by "top-posting").  A polite correction is
better.  If it bugs you so much, you can write a form letter and send
that out each time, or a link to one of the numerous FAQs on the web.


More information about the freebsd-chat mailing list