W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > January to March 2004

[WAI-IG] list policies (top posting for vision impairments)

From: Cheryl D. Wise <cdwise@wiserways.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 12:06:41 -0600
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20040229180655.EBAA93F4086@dr-nick.w3.org>

While not visually impaired in the sense that most people use it on this
list (corrective surgery gives me pretty good vision with glasses and
without the headaches of the pre surgery years) I have a degree of mobility
impairment in my wrist. As a result after a long day at the computer
scrolling down sometimes becomes an issue for me. 

That is one reason I prefer to read replies that are top posted especially
when the original post was long and the response is short. Like most people
I write the way I prefer to receive responses. The subject of top vs. bottom
posting or even inline responses can trigger holy wars. This is the third
mail list I've seen the subject come up on in the last three days. 

Like many others on this list I have been using email back to the "old
days". I never cared for usenet and preferred CompuServe and even Prodigy
Classic. I think I joined Prodigy Classic back in 89 or 90. Followed by
CompuServe in 92. Those boards tended to have top posting so that is one of
the reasons I'm more comfortable with it. It isn't a matter of how Outlook
quotes messages. I use the full version of Outlook 2003 not Outlook Express
and it can be configured to change the quoting behavior but since its
default fits my preferred working style I have had no intention of changing

On occasion I will answer messages inline usually when there is a series of
questions asked or issues raised. Bottom posting for me is more difficult to
deal not so much from a writing point of view since I could configure
Outlook to behave differently as it is from a reading the replies and having
to scroll past frequently untrimmed responses. The members of this list are
generally good about trimming the posts they are responding to but on many
others I frequently see two or more screens of quoted text with 1 to 5 lines
in response. All that scrolling to get what is essentially a "me too".

There is nothing inherently evil in any method of responding to an email
other than the failure to trim responsibly. FWIW, I also agree with Charles
and wish every email client out there would quit hard wrapping at 72
characters and throwing > in that break in strange places as a result.

Cheryl D. Wise
Certified Professional Web Developer
mailto: cdwise@wiserways.com
713.353.0139 Office

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles McCathieNevile)

As a top poster...

I find, in simple threads, that top posting is much easier to understand,
  - quoting isn't standardised (however much we would like it to be)
  - in a list I read regularly it is easier for me to keep a rough idea of
context over the list than have to drill through each message
  - it is what I am used to. (I spent the 80's using /usr/ucb/mail, which
being a line-mode tool made quoting generally difficult).

I suspect this is a matter of individual preference. Sometimes I do
interleaved posting, sometimes I appreciate it when others have done it. I
now have a graphical rendering of quoting, except that it isn't all that
accurate, and I still find it hard without more context markers than Dave
used in his interleaved contribution to this thread.

I have noticed a general preference among blind users for top posting, but
not so strong that one or other would be standardised. I suspect this is
because tools are trying to work with a standard (RFC822) which is too
simplistic in its functionality for what we really want it to do, so they
don't make it easy to work with quoting. (Many tools auto-wrap at an
arbitrary 72 characters, although users now almost universally work on
systems that have flexible-size windows and window-wrapping. It seems many
of these tools don't manage to preserve ">" quoting marks properly over that

So I think this is an interesting question. I don't believe there is a
standard answer.

just my 2 cents worth
Received on Sunday, 29 February 2004 13:06:56 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:27 UTC