As soon as I started emailing my husband, then friend. I immediately noticed his habit of quoting snippets of my emails and replying directly to those comments or questions.
I might have questioned it in my mind, but I don’t think I considered it something everyone should do because I didn’t know a single other person who did it.
Top posting (which I hadn’t heard of until a week ago!) is the practice of replying to emails and messages above the quoted text. All the email clients and services that I’ve dealt with encourage this by putting your cursor above a quoted email. Sometimes it can be helpful – it’s certainly good when you’ve been forwarded a conversation that you weren’t originally party to. However, most of the time if you need to see the previous text it’s annoying to scroll down to find it. If you don’t need it, why should it be there at all?
I’ve started to quote emails and delete the whole quoted message from the bottom. I kind of like it because it takes more effort. Yes, I know, we usually want to minimise effort. However, I think it’s useful to put in effort to reap rewards such as: easier reading; fewer clarification discussions; distinctive emails.
Some of the reasons for not top posting are out-dated in many situations. For example, with Gmail space isn’t really a problem, nor is space on my hard drive. Email is probably more reliable these days, there’s less need for people to be afraid of a 300kb file not making it through where a 100kb file would. It does strike me as good manners to not just leave a bunch of quoted emails pointlessly at the bottom of a reply.
Some reading I found interesting about top posting:
- Posting top like don’t still I
- On Top
Why bottom posting is better
- Top posting makes sense
- Script for Apple Mail (I’m not sure if this is for the iPhone or inspired by using the iPhone)
What’s your practice? Does it matter at all?