bottom-posting!

> Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
> > Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
> > > Yes.
> > > > Is top-posting bad?

So there's a plugin for Mail.app called QuoteFix (download) that makes it do bottom-posting by default instead of top-posting. It also supposedly strips signatures out of the quoted text. Sadly, I can't get it to do anything at all. Anyone have any luck with it on 10.6.2?

Tags: , ,

32 Responses:

  1. dzm6 says:

    I'm on 10.6.2. I followed the installer instructions at the other side of the link you provided. I bounced mail.app and hit "Reply" to a message. My insertion point is at the bottom of the page rather than the top. Yay!

    I have no obvious messages with clearly defined signatures. so I can't verify that signature removal is working.

  2. I'd like to see this for iPhone.

  3. I just tried it. Worked fine on 10.6.2. Did you try any of the debugging stuff they suggest on their site?

    "Debugging problems

    If you want to help debugging any problems you may experience, you can turn on a "hidden" menu (as of revision 24).

    For this, execute the following in Terminal.app:

    defaults write com.apple.Mail QuoteFixIncludeMenu 1
    (if you use revision 24, replace "QuoteFixIncludeMenu" with "IncludeQuoteFixMenu")

    After restarting Mail.app, you'll find a menu named "QuoteFix Plug-in" in the main Mail menu, with three items:

    Debug - this is a toggle to turn extra debugging on; in case of any big problems, the plug-in will show an alert with information about the problem (which you can cut&paste and mail to me, for instance)
    Copy original contents to clipboard - this copies the internal contents of the editing view to your clipboard, before any changes were made to it; this can be useful information if the plug-in cannot find a particular signature"

  4. owyn says:

    Works for me on 10.6.2... Also, great find!

    I switched to a mac a couple of years ago. I decided (after 15 ish years) to quit keeping an ssh window open running pine and just gritted my teeth and got used to the whole top posting thing. Now I'm going to have to get used to this again. But it's worth it. I mean, how else am I supposed to maintain my reputation as a cranky internet veteran?

  5. jmtd says:

    This is one of those problems that we're doomed to try and solve, or fail to solve, again and again. I've long thought that a permanent solution might be some kind of mail markup language (*NOT* HTML) that made the "top-vs-bottom" and also the "on XXX, foo said:" stuff a client-side, localized presentation decision. Some guy has even tried to write a mail markup language (http://mailmarkup.org/) but I'm not sure if tries to tackle those problems or not.

    • lionsphil says:

      "MML is officially patent pending and not licensed."

      Dead-on-arrival, then.

      I think we're stuck with format=fucked and all it's retarded little friends for the forseeable. E-mail is such a great source of computer hate because we have so many wonderous ways to break the simple task of sending a message >From one machine to another without irreversibly mangling it or throwing away such useful semantics as "this bit is a quote from that message over there".

      My favourite user-facing part of all this is that naive (i.e. most) automatic colourisation of plaintext mail by indent level will end up colouring the "Foo said" line differently from what Foo actually said. Yay, actively misleading visual cues!

  6. _candide_ says:

    The other problem with top-replying in mails is that in encourages ziggurats.

    People just blindly leave in the previous emails in the chain, not bothering to trim out irrelevant information.

    Of course, that would require thought, along with sufficient intelligence to know how to indicate removed sections of messages. What am I thinking. All Hail the Idiocracy!

    • ultranurd says:

      I've been told by multiple people at work that when I edit out irrelevant text when replying to a thread, I'm "destroying information". I guess they don't like viewing the entire thread in their client of choice or something.

      • skington says:

        This matters if they then want to copy someone in on the conversation at a later date - if everyone top-posts, they can then forward one email and all the history is there.

        • ultranurd says:

          I think this is how they're doing it, yes... but it's a mailman list, so anyone can view the web archive on the internal site.

        • editer says:

          Maintaining the thread without cluttered e-mail is supposedly one of the strengths of Google Wave, if (unlike our host) you're willing to engage the octopus, and presumably more apps later on if it proves sticky. I haven't played with GW enough to know for myself, but that'll be a net plus if it works as advertised.

      • _candide_ says:

        Yyyyyyeah. The, "destroying information," BS.

        First, if they really want to see the original emails, and they don't have it, they can ask for it. The information is always around someplace.

        But that would require effort.

        Then there are those who are sooo self-important that they cannot stand seeing their oh-so-vital "information" trimmed away.

    • lionsphil says:

      From what I can tell, it's more that people find it hard not to be self-important pricks who value their own time spent snipping more than the combined time of the N recipients trying to understand it.

      Bonus points to people who use extra-spicy-hateful clients (Entourage?) which use non-indented "-- Original Message --" reply quoting, then interleave their feedback into the original message.

      • ultranurd says:

        Has anyone studied the neurological/psychological basis for the different reply strategies? I really like inline reply, for organizing each point in a list, but I avoid it because I know other people haaaate it.

        • lionsphil says:

          Not that I know of offhand, but it's not my area. Google Scholar doesn't seem to find anything promising.

          I'm not arguing against inline replies—I use them myself. The problem here is the "non-indented" part.

      • fantasygoat says:

        I do this, except with quoted text. Like:

        > This is what you said.

        This is what I say in reply.

        > And then you said this.

        So I said this.

        I picked up the habit on BBSes.

        • lionsphil says:

          Right, and that's fine. The problem is when someone's mail client generates this unintelligible stew (and they don't seem to care/notice):

          -- Original Message --
          Subject: With love
          From: Me
          To: You

          This is what you said.

          This is what I say in reply.

          And then you said this.

          So I said this.

          I picked up the habit on BBSes.

          • _candide_ says:

            Oh. Oh, yes. That horror

            Even when they put it in a different color, it's still very, very hard to find it. Worse are email clients like Outlook, which put the attached chain into one color. These end up erasing the colors that distinguished the interleaved response, rendering the attached response-chain totally unintelligible.

          • fantasygoat says:

            Ahh ok, I really hate that. It's mostly marketing people who do it.

            • cacepi says:

              Probably because they all use Outlook/Windows Mail, which makes that mind numbingly dumb behavior the default for some inexplicable reason.

  7. mark242 says:

    This is one of those things that, when I saw SkyNet Wave for the first time, I thought "thank god, proper quoting, finally no more reply-on-top!" and was joyful.

    Then I saw that you could reply at any point in the thread, and my brain hurt.

  8. burma_sauce says:

    Tried the plugin, uninstalled it already. I always thought the point of putting the cursor at the top was so that you could work your way down through the original message, deleting irrelevant bits and inserting your responses where necessary.

    • node says:

      You know, I'd never thought about this until reading your comment. I tried a couple of mailers:

      mutt 1.4.2, with nvi as the editor: places the cursor at the top of the reply file.

      no gnus 0.11: places my cursor at the first >, like so:

      [header lines]
      --text follows this line--
      Team Member (someone@example.com) writes:

      > help!
      > we've lost radar!

  9. disconn3ct says:

    >Hows your memory? Can you remember things you've recently read?
    My memory is good

    >>>Hows your memory? Can you remember things you've recently read?
    >>My memory is good
    >What part of the new message is important to you?
    New parts that I haven't seen yet. I can remember old parts, or look them up again if needed.

    >>>>>Hows your memory? Can you remember things you've recently read?
    >>>>My memory is good
    >>>What part of the new message is important to you?
    >>New parts that I haven't seen yet. I can remember old parts, or look them up again if needed.
    >Then why is the new stuff buried the bottom, sandwiched between old reference-only info and any footers, attachments, etc?
    What were we talking about again?

    That said, I agree about some sort of reasonable standard for formatting. There are extensions for tbird, for example, that automatically collapse quotes and such so your messages don't all look like the above. Haven't done much with mail.app though, since I only use it at work and at work new info is at the top where its readily accessible, or - occasionally - interleaved in a properly trimmed post such as some of the examples above.