How to Use Email, Part 4(b): How NOT to Reply to an Email Message – Top Posting

If you don’t know what top-posting is, it is when you reply to someone’s email, and your response comes before the message to which you are replying.

This practice was popularized by Microsoft in their Outlook and Outlook Express email programs, whose default behavior is to include replies above the original message.
Allow me to demonstrate with an example I saw recently:


A: No.
Q:
Should I put my response to emails in the top of my reply?

There you have it. Unfortunately, Microsoft Outlook, which is probably the most popular email client in the world, defaults to this setting. Obviously this is bad because if anyone wants to jump in to an existing conversation, s/he must scroll down to the first message (which is now conveniently located at the bottom of the email), read down to the bottom of this message, scroll back up to find the top of the immediately preceeding message, scroll down to read it, scroll back up to read the preceeding message, etc. Confusing, time-consuming, and, depending on your client, difficult to do.So please, make an effort and put your replies where they belong: after the thing you’re replying to.