Email Etiquette: Top or Bottom Posting

I get email. Lots. Absurd amounts. It’s 5:03 AM, and this is my situation from yesterday and last night:

One thing that seriously slows me down are chronic bottom posters.

For those not familiar with the issue, there are two prevalent quoting styles when replying to email. Top posting, or placing your reply at the top of possibly a long thread of messages, or bottom posting, sticking it at the bottom.

Bottom posting

 On Jan 20, 2009, at 6:46 PM, So-and-So wrote:
 > Dear Webmaster,
 > Your website is broken. Please fix it.
 > Sincerely,
 > So-and-so

 Dear So-and-so,
 Thank you for letting us know of the problem.  It is now resolved.
 The Web Team

Top posting

 Dear So-and-so,
 Thank you for letting us know of the problem.  It is now resolved.
 The Web Team

 On Jan 20, 2009, at 6:46 PM, So-and-So wrote:
 > Dear Webmaster,
 > Your website is broken. Please fix it.
 > Sincerely,
 > So-and-so

For long threaded discussions, bottom posting makes it much easier to read the thread IF YOU ARE BEHIND ON YOUR EMAIL. Judicious editing and quoting of past replies makes it even cleaner. Interspersing replies works for only short threads. After one or two replies it becomes entirely too messy. Don’t even try.

But when you get hundreds of emails a day, bottom posting is a drag.

Don’t make your recipient scroll to the bottom of every long thread with every single reply. Assume they are reading the thread and probably don’t want to re-read it. Stick your answer right up at the top. Yes. It’s expedient without sacrificing legibility or too much formality.

Hopefully you’ve “replied to” and included the original message(s). If the recipient has a brain lapse or is chronically behind on email they can scroll through the earlier messages. No biggie.

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