[Python-ideas] Meta: Email netiquette

Steven D'Aprano steve at pearwood.info
Sun Jun 14 06:10:02 CEST 2015

On Sat, Jun 13, 2015 at 10:53:23AM +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Andrew Barnert via Python-ideas writes:
>  > But really, in non-trivial cases, you usually want your reply
>  > interleaved with parts of the original; just jumping to the very
>  > end of the message (past the signature and list footer) and
>  > replying to the whole thing in bulk isn't much better than
>  > top-posting.
> Wrong. :-)  *Bottom*-posting is *much* worse.

Agreed. The worst case I personally ever saw was somebody replying to a 
digest on a high-volume mailing list where they added "I agree!" and 
their signature to the very end. I actually counted how many pages of 
quoting there were: 29 pages, based on ~60 lines per page. (That's full 
A4 pages mind, it was about 50 keypresses in mutt to page through it 
a screen at a time.) Naturally there was no indication of which of the 
two dozen messages they agreed with.

> For better or worse, top-posting is here to stay.  It doesn't work
> very well in forums like this one, but it's not too bad if you do it
> the way Guido does (which of course is one of the reasons we can't get
> rid of it<wink/>).  The basic rules:

This is the best description of good top-posting practice I've ever 
seen, thanks.

For what it's worth, I think inline posters also need to follow good 
practice too: if the reader cannot see new content (i.e. what you wrote) 
within the first screen full of text, you're probably quoting too much. 
This rule does not apply to readers trying to read email on a phone that 
shows only a handful of lines at a time. If you are reading email on a 
screen the size of a credit card (or smaller), you cannot expect others 
to accomodate your choice of technology in a discussion group like this.

I can't think of *any* good reason to bottom-post without trimming the 
quoted content. 


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