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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <>
Subject RE: Top posting is bad
Date Fri, 30 Sep 2011 16:24:18 GMT
Who says there are "wrong" tools?  Turning this into right and wrong is just crazy.

There are different tools.  There are some protocols involved that are mainly invisible to
us.  The wonder that e-mail works at all is that it works well enough despite the fact that
no sender can know what the expectations of all of the recipients can be, but there are apparently
some recipients who insist on having it delivered their way (or are puzzled when it isn't
and often can't explain it to the sender, who has no idea what the problem is).  

If I were using my phone for e-mail, something that some folks think is inevitable, it would
be impossible to satisfy these receiver-imposed requirements.  There are many clients that
don't quote at all and it is hard to make them do it.

There are also difficulties because the implementers of intermediaries (such as list servers
and their archives and digest composers and NNTP synthesizers ...) have their own ideas about
what is "right" and don't always deal with the abstractions at the best places.  That makes
the folks at the end points even more mystified.  

The complexity and the different seams in this situation is worth having a powerful understanding
of.  I am disappointed that in two settings, now, I am running into this yet in 30 years on
e-mail, lists, and NNTP I have never encountered it before.  That amazes me.  It has never
come up on the OASIS Technical Committee lists, even though the list-archive presentation
of web posts is terrible.  (I want to inflict incredible pain on the clown who thinks plaintext
e-mail should be rendered in <pre> and not <p> elements, even when it is obvious
that hard line breaks are not being used.  I guess I could start sending my mail in HTML format.
 I wonder what that would do to this conversation.)

 - Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: Rob Weir [] 
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2011 08:52
Subject: Re: Top posting is bad

On Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 8:30 AM, Norbert Thiebaud <> wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 7:18 AM, Dennis E. Hamilton
> <> wrote:
>> The assumption behind this recommendation seems to be that all
>> mail clients are the same and the list is read the same by
>> everyone.
> Choosing to use inadequate tools is no excuse to be bad mannered.

The interesting thing is that there may be people who don't know they
are using the wrong tools. If someone has not participated in a list
like this before, then they the mail client on their desktop may not
be configured suitably for participating in this list.  They may need
to change the configuration, or even change their application.  I

Does anyone know a list of what mail apps are known to work well and
which ones poorly, and which ones require config changes?

For example, Lotus Notes (which I have by default on my desktop) does
not collapse quoted sections, so using it for following the list was a
nightmare.  Gmail is much better in that regard and is what I use now.

Any recommendations (ideally for each platform) for what works well?
And what should be avoided?


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