An odyssey of a typical email thread using the top posting style that most email clients default to these days.

What was it that I was supposed to have an idea on? Obviously there are several things from this fictitious email that are bothersome.

  • long signatures with superfluous information
  • credentials sent in email
  • reply all on personal notes

just to name a few.

Things can get even more frustrating as threads diverge (when multiple people reply to the same email and people reply to those emails). One of the most common reasons I hear about people preserving message history like that is to give context to later conversations. But once your thread has diverged  no email contains all of the necessary information. So you are relegated to looking through multiple sub threads looking for something that may be only in one of multiple threads or may be in each of the threads depending on when the thread diverged.

Perhaps I have never learned how to read these emails. one or two words per line as you go back further and further in an email I find exceedingly difficult to decipher.  I try not to rant about top posting too frequently, I just try to trim emails to only the specific information needed and email only those who need to be involved in a conversation.

Whats your take on top posting? Does it drive you nutty? Have you ever found a successful method to help sway users to a more polite email etiquette?