At 2004-03-22T02:34:36Z, "Greg 'groggy' Lehey" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:

> I'm missing something here.  Top posting, interleaved posting and bottom
> posting are not a function of the MUA, they're a function of the human
> making a conscious decision how to write a message.  What do *you* mean?

Correction: I said Kmail, but I was really thinking of Mozilla Thunderbird.

Thunderbird has preferences options for:

Automatically quote the original message when replying?


       Start my reply above the quote,
       Start my reply below the quote, or
       Select the quote

    and place my signature

       below my reply (above the quote), or
       below the quote (recommended)

If you select the first option in each category, then you could say that
Thunderbird "supports" top posting by formatting new reply messages as:

    <--- cursor is positioned here
    When replying to this message, please copy the original recipients.
    If you don't, I may ignore the reply or reply to the original recipients.
    For more information, see
    Note: I discard all HTML mail unseen.
    Finger [EMAIL PROTECTED] for PGP public key.
    See complete headers for address and phone numbers.

    Kirk Strauser wrote:
    > I think the main difference between top- and interleaved-posting is
    > one of latency.  In an office environment, when you're replying
    > within 2 minutes of receipt of a typically short message, top
    > posting is reasonable.

In other words, your new reply message is automatically layed out as a top
posting message, and your cursor is positioned at the top of the editor and
waiting for you to start inserting text at the beginning.        

You correctly state that posting style is not a function of the MUA, but in
some cases the MUA can make it easier or more likely for the user to post in
a certain manner.

> Well, I'll concede that it could barely be acceptable under such
> conditions.

Let me give another example.  Outlook 2003 can be configured so that when
the user receives a new email, it opens a short-lived popup window in the
bottom-right corner of the screen with the sender, subject, and first few
lines of the messages.  In my office, where many emails have message bodies
no larger than "What's Bob's phone number?", there's a good chance that the
little preview popup will show the entire message being sent.  If the sender
is replying to a message you sent, and they top posted their one-line reply,
then you can read their reply without ever switching from the program you're
currently using to Outlook.

Of course, I'm using Kmail and/or Gnus on a Linux desktop, so I'm the
exception to that usage "rule" and haven't been lured into top posting.  We
also just rolled out a Jabber server that should replace most or all of
those one-line emails with instant messages.  Still, I think the pattern I
mentioned above is probably extremely common in Microsoft-oriented internal
office networks.

>> On Usenet and mailing lists, where you see large, complex questions that
>> get discussed over the span of days and weeks, interleaved posting is the
>> only format that remotely makes sense.

> Sure.  Now how do you know in advance to which category each message
> belongs?  Where do you draw the line?  And what's the advantage of top
> posting?

If I'm typing in Gnus, then I'm reading newsgroups or mailing lists and
reply the correct way.  If I'm in Kmail, then I'm reading office email and
top post.  That's how *I* remember which method to use.  See above for *an*
advantage of top posting, that I grudgingly admit exists but only go along
with out of consideration to my co-workers.
Kirk Strauser

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