In Defence of Top Posting

What is Top-Posting?


A Top-Post is replying to a usenet post and putting your reply on the top. Here are some typical posting styles, as seen from google groups:


Top Posting


Middle or Intersperced Posting


 Bottom Posting


So, whats all the fuss about?


Lately on some of the newsgroups I frequent, several self-proclaimed netcops have embarked on a crusade against top-posting. This page aims to show why top-posting isn't the spawn of Satan, but can be a useful style when applied properly.


The argument against Top-Posting


 Opponents of Top-Posting basically have 1 main complaint. They claim top-posting makes threads difficult or even impossible to read. Some parrot mantras like


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

Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?

A: Top-posting.

Q: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet?


They then point to RFC's stating the top-posting should not be used. Some dump unnecessary abuse on the top-poster.


This may have been a valid argument in the late 80's / early 90's, but threaded newsreaders make it obsolete.


A Threaded newsreader. These days, pretty much every PC has one.


A short Top-post is much easier to read then an untrimmed bottom post. Here's an example from google groups:

Which I replied to with


Ignoring my poor grammar and spelling (I didn't have much sleep the night before) I think that the message is easy to get. Simply scroll down (or click the next post in the thread) and you will see my reply immediately.

The 'Anti Top-post brigade' complain that a top post makes the message I'm reply to hard to read. If they click the previous post in the thread, you can easily see the context I'm replying to.


The chief advantage of Top Posting is that you always see the reply straight away with a minimum of scrolling. The main disadvantage is that it is confusing to read if the top post is replying to multiple parts of the previous post.


Note that bottom posts are no better. A true bottom post has the entire reply at the bottom, with the previous reply at the top. While this makes sense if you only have the one post to read (all context is preserved), it makes it a hassle to read threads - you often have to read through the same messages over and over again each time.


If these old posts get too long, they make reading via google groups a headache.


In this case, there is a bottom post, but there is so much of the old post left that you have to click 'read the rest of this message' to see it. You cannot simply read the new content by scrolling down the screen - all you see are the same old posts again and again. This doesn't sound like a hassle - unless you are reading a thread with a dozen articles and no snipping.


Bottom posting without snipping irrelevant pats is at least as annoying as a top-post.


So, I believe




And to those of you who act like this is a religious issue, get a life.