funny, I generally top post now. I guess that makes me a heathen or
At work, we do that because it keeps the context of the discussion
together, but out of the way. It saves us rooting around for
something that was said three messages ago. Occasionally I'll tear
down a message and respond point by point, but usually, that's overkill.
First, top post vs. inline is a religious fight. Nobody is "right" --
different people have different preferences. To assume there can be
only one style is like telling everyone to use san-serif fonts. It's
not about what's best, but enforcing on everyone what SOME people
want. My argument has been, and continues to be, that people should
spend their time teaching their mail clients to present mail in the
format they prefer, adn not yelling at others to "do it this way",
because there will always be idiots like me who refuse to change my
habits to fit your preferences. Because I don't believe anhyone has
the right to declare themselves god and enforce their preferences on
it's a losing game from the start, so why bother? focus on things you
CAN control, which is your own environment. Quit trying to stuff your
envirobnment out on the commons.
That's why some users get "pissy" when the list moms do this, by the
way, and I can't blame them. they're RIGHT. Same with "reply to", and
"don't email me AND the list", and any of a dozen other "you have to
do it my way, because I said so" things.
But frankly, I think it no longer matters; the mail list as a primary
communications community tool is dead. Which is a great way to start
another argument, but I won't bother getting into it. I'll just note
this posting: http://chuqui.typepad.com/teal_sunglasses/2005/11/
the_past_slippi.html and shut up again.
By the way, what RFC states that top posting is the wrong way to do
this? I don't remember seeing that standard.
Oh, and this is a losing cause at best, given that most email clients
today handle replies in a way to encourage top posting. You might as
well fight the fight against porn on USENET. ACtually, that's
On Nov 23, 2005, at 10:29 PM, Vince Sabio wrote:
** Sometime around 16:47 -0800 11/23/2005, Chuq Von Rospach said:
where I've seen this stuff used, or where I've experimented iwth
it, it's been an absolute failure. it doesn't "teach" users
"better" habits, it teaches users how to circumvent the filters.
Disagree with you (for a change), Chuq. On our lists, the server
bounces messages for over-quoting, and the Listmoms(tm) bounce
messages (on specific mailing lists) for top posting. In neither
case do users, as a practice, circumvent the filters (there are
exceptions, but we have an active Listmom(tm) team, so the
exceptions are singletons FTMP, and are rare in any event).
However (and this is a big 'however' for Roger), what we've
observed is that some users get kinda pissy when their posts are
rejected for top posting. Of the ones who get pissy, some will
attempt to debate with the Listmoms the relative merits of top
posting vs. threaded posting (as we call it), and most of them will
simply refuse to reformat their message and re-post it. 
** Sometime around 00:40 +0000 11/24/2005, lee said:
I wouldn't have such views on the mail lists I admin, because I
believe such things are the personal choice of the poster with
pros and cons from both sides.
We have very pragmatic ration^W justifications for banning top
posting in favor of threaded posting:
1. The vast majority of cases in which the poster has quoted an
entire message are top-posted replies. To put a number on it, it's
probably in excess of 90%. In any event, it's very highly
correlated -- and it's very lazy.
2. Top posting yields a poorly formatted daily digest. This is
partly due to excessive quoting, and partly because the
interspersing of top-posted messages and threaded-style messages
makes it damned near impossible to decipher. 
So it's not merely a matter of personal choice IMNSHO, as the
"personal choice" affects the readability of the list as well as
the readability of the daily digest.  IOW, it affects every
other subscriber on the list.
In the end, whether a list owner imposes (or attempts to impose) a
specific posting format and/or set of posting guidelines on a list
is, IMO, largely a function of the nature and character of the
list. For that reason, we have imposed a threaded posting
requirement on some of our lists, but not all of them. No matter
what you do, you might as well assume that some people will not be
happy with it. And that includes the do-nothing option (i.e., no
list policy, leave it up to the individual poster), as well.
<joke>Say, anyone want to talk about Reply-To munging?</joke>
 It is worth noting that there are some subscribers who like the
threaded posting requirement enough to request that we extend it to
other lists that we host. In all fairness, there are far fewer
voices of praise on this point than there are voices of criticism
-- but then, that's human nature, so it's to be expected.
 It can be argued that the interspersing problem is as much the
fault of threaded posting as top posting -- and I'd say you're
right, but I'd also remind you that over-quoting is still
correlated with top posting -- so if we had to pick one format and
stick with it, we'd pick threaded posting. And, in fact, that's
exactly what we did.
 Sure, there's a MIME digest option. But I'm not going to tell
the subscribers that they must subscribe to the MIME digest in
order to get a readable digest in their mailbox each day. It is
also worth noting that about 75% of our digest subscribers receive
the plain-text version, not the MIME version. In some cases, it is
out of ignorance, but there are cases in which we recommend the
MIME digest to a subscriber (for one reason or another), and have
had the subscriber state a preference for the plain-text digest.