[mythtv-users] posting protocol - bottom vs. top???

Simon Hobson linux at thehobsons.co.uk
Sat Feb 16 20:57:37 UTC 2019

Allen Edwards <allen.p.edwards at gmail.com> wrote:

> This is the only place I have ever seen bottom posting. It is a pain but clearly much worse to do mixed posting.

Short history lesson - "somewhat simplified". Once upon a time, the internet was small and mostly occupied by academics - and as it grew, it still retained that element of a community. Certain things were taken for granted - trimmed quotes, bottom posting and use of plain text - and programs worked with those.

Then Micro$oft unleashed Outlook on the world - with defaults of "I don't care what your preferences are, I'm imposing mine on you" formatted text, and "I don't care if it's illogical" top posting. Because many new users simply hit reply, Outlook quoted the entire email (including signatures ?) and left the cursor at the top ready to type - a whole "generation" of users were brought up thinking that this was the way to do it.

And because the quoted text disappeared off the bottom of the window and out of sight, they never thought about trimming it - or even realised how much was there.

And now many people are now adamant that top posting is THE only correct way to do it - and I would deliberately annoy colleagues at work by correctly trimming and bottom posting in emails (and make then plain text as well).

As someone pointed out earlier, it's the logical way to do it - in normal speech we generally wait until asked a question before giving the answer !  You wouldn't meet a friend in the street and have a conversation that went along the lines of :
> Yes, I'll see you later.
>> Indeed, anyway, must dash. I'll be in the pub later, will you be there ?
>>> Ah yes, annoying that.
>>>> I'd not normally be shopping at this hour, but we'd run out of milk for breakfast.
>>>>> Hi Jim, didn't expect to see you here.

Of course, in this case it's quite easy to read the lines in reverse order - but when there are long passages it isn't. There have been time when I've had to scroll a long way down, then back up to the top of the quoted message, scroll down as I read it, scroll back up to the top of the following quoted message, scroll down as I read that, and so on. That is one reason for not trimming of course - allowing the entire thread to build up in one message so someone getting included later can see the history, but I think that's a feeble excuse for doing it wrong all the time.

So why put the answers before the question in emails ? As evidence that bottom posting makes more sense, you only have to look at the contortions people use when top posting won't suffice, such as :

> See my comments in RED below

> Comments inline marked by SNH

And they then go on to put comments after the relevant bits of what they are commenting on - highlighting them in some manner. Of course, once that message is replied to a few times, the formatting can get lost and no-one has a clue who wrote what ! That's not helped by Outlook not quoting properly - especially when replying as plain text - so can be unclear who said what anyway.
If everyone bottom posted then there's no problem - it ALWAYS works. If you are doing a section by section response, then you simply bottom post after each section.

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