Top Posting

I recently enjoyed this illustrative signature from a mailing list:

A: Because it messes up the order in which people read text.
Q: Why does top-posting make it difficult?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is something that makes email communication difficult?

This is even worse with replies, when the reply is done underneath, but there is a lack of appropriate trimming:

> Q: Why does top-posting make it difficult?
>
>> A: Top-posting.
>>
>>> Q: What is something that makes email communication
>>> difficult?

A: Because it messes up the order in which people read text.

This thread should look more like this, trimming the excess, with a reply only to the immediate question:

> Q: Why does top-posting make it difficult?

A: Because it messes up the order in which people read text.

The IETF's RFC 5322 defines an In-Reply-To header that references the Message-ID for threading. So trimming the message entirely may be the best thing, letting the mail user agent track the thread. Even better would be to change the subject header, and create a new thread:

Subject: Why does top-posting make email communication
difficult?

Top-posting messes up the order in which people read text.

©2004 David Egan Evans.