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Top posting

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  • Amy Heilveil
    I am signing at the top so as to not be anonmous, Despina de la moderator/member of the group here, As this term, top posting, is apparently one that is still
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 18, 2007
      I am signing at the top so as to not be anonmous, Despina de la
      moderator/member of the group here, As this term, top posting, is
      apparently one that is still not understood, Please see the following
      from (yes, I am aware of it's faults as a source but it's easy and
      correct on this issue) Wikipedia:


      The main options are top-posting — replying above the original
      message; bottom-posting — replying below; or interleaved posting.

      This method includes the entire parent message (and usually previous
      messages) verbatim with the reply appended above it:

      No problems. 6pm it is then.

      At 10.01am Wednesday, Danny wrote:
      > Whoa! Hold on. I have job scheduled at 5:30 which mails out
      > a report to key tech staff. Can you not push it back an hour?
      > Danny
      > At 9.40am Wednesday, Jim wrote:
      > > I'm going to suspend the mail service for approx. thirty
      > > minutes tonight, starting at 5pm, to install some updates
      > > and important fixes.
      > > Jim
      This style of posting resembles forwarding messages with new text
      appended at the top:

      Hello A.B. !

      Here is the relevant portion of the letter that X.Z.
      sent to our group, as requested.


      On Wednesday, X.Y. wrote:
      > Hi, team!
      > Please work on portions 5 and 9 for Friday. The customer says
      > the rest isn't critical, as they mention below.
      > Thanks,
      > X.Z.
      > On Monday, Customer wrote:
      > > Dear Sir,
      > >
      > > We will need to have the new doohicky method implemented, as well
      > > as the heffalump output. We really need this by Friday, and if
      > > your team needs to shift focus to achieve those two deliverables,
      > > we can wait until afterward for the remainder of the work.
      > >
      > > Thank you,
      > > J. Customer
      The entire message is responded to with another full-length message,
      similar to traditional written correspondence except that the response
      includes the original message. While top-posting is sometimes
      recommended against, it is the more common style in business email
      correspondence.[1][2] Customer service email practices often require
      that all points be addressed in a clear manner without quoting, while
      the original e-mail message may be included as an attachment merely as

      One benefit of the style is that when a new correspondent is included
      in an otherwise private discussion (due to forwarding or addition of
      new recipients), the background of the discussion, or "thread", is
      also accessible, with the most recent response immediately visible at
      the top.[3][4] Especially in business correspondence, an entire
      message thread may need to be forwarded to a third party for handling
      or discussion. In this case, it is appropriate to "top-post" the
      handling instructions or handoff discussion above the quoted trail of
      the entire discussion — as the intention is simply to "approve" or
      "provide instruction", not to respond in a point by point manner — or
      to send a copy of all the emails comprised by the discussion. (In
      environments where the entire discussion is public, like newsgroups or
      online forums, inclusion of past discussion is not necessary, and
      trim-posting is sufficient.)

      Email has long supported a convention for forwarding verbatim entire
      messages, including their headers. An untrimmed quoted message is a
      weaker form of transcript, as key pieces of meta information are
      destroyed. (This is why an ISP's postmaster will typically insist on a
      forwarded copy of any problematic email, rather than a quote.) These
      forwarded messages are displayed in the same way as top-posting in
      some mail clients.

      The default quote format and cursor placement of many popular e-mail
      applications, such as Microsoft Outlook and Gmail, encourages
      top-posting. Microsoft has had a significant influence on top-posting
      by the ubiquity of its software; its e-mail and newsreader software
      places the cursor at the top by default, and in several cases makes it
      difficult not to top-post (this is caused by a bug present on most
      flavours of Microsoft Outlook where the quotation symbols are lost
      when replying in plain text to a message that was originally sent in
      HTML/RTF, along with the fact that on the default Microsoft Outlook
      setup, no quotation symbols are generated at all — this makes it very
      hard to distinguish between new and quoted text); many users have
      accepted this as a de facto standard. In addition, users of mobile
      devices, like BlackBerries, are encouraged to use top-posting, because
      the devices only download the beginning of a message for viewing. The
      rest of the message is only retrieved when needed, which takes
      additional download time. Putting the relevant content at the
      beginning of the message requires less bandwidth, less time, and less
      scrolling for the Blackberry user.[5][6][7]

      Partially because of Microsoft's influence, top-posting is more common
      on mailing lists and in personal e-mail.[2][8][9][10] Top-posting is
      viewed as seriously destructive to mailing-list digests, where
      multiple levels of top-posting are difficult to skip. The worst case
      would be top-posting while including an entire digest as the original

      Some believe that "top-posting" is appropriate for interpersonal
      e-mail, but inline posting should always be applied to threaded
      discussions such as newsgroups. Objections to top-posting on
      newsgroups, as a rule, seem to come from persons who first went online
      in the earlier days of Usenet, and in communities that date to
      Usenet's early days. Among the most vehement communities are those in
      the Usenet comp.lang hierarchy, especially comp.lang.c and
      comp.lang.c++. Top-posting is more tolerated on the alt hierarchy.
      Newer online participants, especially those with limited experience of
      Usenet, tend to be less sensitive to arguments about posting style.

      It may be that users used to older, terminal-oriented software which
      was unable to easily show references to posts being replied to,
      learned to prefer the summary that not top-posting gives; it is also
      likely that the general slower propagation times of the original
      Usenet groups made that summary a useful reminder of older posts. As
      news and mail readers have become more capable, and as propagation
      times have grown shorter, newer users may find top-posting more

      Some maintain that top-posting is never appropriate, and refer to it
      jokingly as the "TOFU" method (from the German "text oben, fullquote
      unten", sometimes translated "text over, fullquote under") or
      "jeopardy-style quoting" (alluding to game show Jeopardy!, in which
      contestants compete to give the correct question to a given
      answer).[11][12] The following is a common signature block or comment
      used to criticize top-posting (though top-posting does not alternate
      quotes and replies):[13][14][15]

      A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
      Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
      A: Top-posting.
      Q: What is the most annoying thing in e-mail?
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