Mailing List Tips

Ian! D. Allen idallen at
Tue Apr 5 17:30:23 UTC 2011

On Tue, Apr 05, 2011 at 09:51:32AM -0300, Doooh Head wrote:
> (4) My email client, in this case Hotmail takes care of the
> "chronological order" for me.
On Tue, Apr 05, 2011 at 09:20:08AM -0400, Ralph Janke wrote:
> The chronology is preserved in the mailing list server. No need to
> duplicate everything always in each mail.

Wrong issue.  We aren't talking about how you see multiple email messages,
we are talking about how awkward it is to read *one* email message full
of top-posted content stored in chronological order from the bottom of
the message up to the top.  That's hard to read.

People often forward to me single top-posted emails.  I don't have
access to their mail server or their mailing list, which showed them the
emails in nice chronological order over the past week as they read them.
I wasn't part of the discussion.  All I get is the one huge top-posted
mess that I have to read bottom-to-top to understand.  That's awkward,
and I hate it.

   "A top-posted message is easy to write; since, it doesn't require
    the writer to edit any of the original message. As a consequence,
    a top-posted message makes the message reader do the work of
    understanding what was said.   [...]

    A bottom-posted message makes the message writer do the work of
    preparing the message for easy consumption by the reader."

Since most email has one writer and many readers, I choose bottom-posting.

   "The signal you are sending along with a bottom-posted reply is:

    I want to make this message easy for you to understand
    I will provide you with just the minimal context you need
    I will edit the context to keep my message short
    Your time is important"

I wish you would, too.

| Ian! D. Allen  -  idallen at  -  Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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