top posting (off-topic)

Matthias Apitz m.apitz at
Fri Nov 23 05:52:10 PST 2007

El día Friday, November 23, 2007 a las 08:05:59AM -0500, Bill Moran escribió:

> There are three reasons _not_ to top-post and to post inline, trimming
> your response intelligently:
> 1) Top-posting does not scale up to large, complex emails.  It produces
>    incomprehensible responses when the conversation requires more than
>    a yes or no answer.
> 2) Stop thinking about yourself and realize that most messages read in
>    archives long after they were posted.  Top posted messages in archives
>    are a lot more difficult to parse, and usually require a lot of clicking
>    around to get back to earlier messages, etc.
> 3) RFC-1855 says so.

I'm as well participating for *many* years in technical mailing-lists
or USENET and I'm strictly against top-posting. I think this problem
(that people top-post or don't even know that they top-post because they
don't know what top-posting is at all) has something todo with two

- the Internet in the 90es felled into the hands of non-technical
  backgrounded people; ask today someone what is a RFC, for an example;
  Netiquette Guidelines came outdated (for the newcomers) and they don't
  know them or even think, if they know, that they have something todo
  with the plain old days of modem lines and UUCP;

- many of the MUA used by unskilled people are somewhat browser-based
  (OutLook, webmail, ...) and don't support a power-full line editor (like
  vi or emacs) to assemble and/or edit the mail body; the browser just put
  the write-mark above the 1st line of the mail, people write their
  stuff and are to lazy to scroll down, delete parts or whatever; many of
  them don't even know how to configure their MUA to do correct
  nesting with >>> signs;

The only (week) technical argument in favour of top-post is that
mail delivered to small wire-less devices (like mobile phones, hand
helds) mostly only transfer the 1st 'screen' of such mail via UMTS
or whatever transport layer and only if the reader wants to scroll
down the rest of the mail is aired to the device.

It should be easy in mailing-lists to block mails of top-posters.


Matthias Apitz
Manager Technical Support - OCLC PICA GmbH
Gruenwalder Weg 28g - 82041 Oberhaching - Germany
t +49-89-61308 351 - f +49-89-61308 399 - m +49-170-4527211
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