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>> Top-posting is poor netiquette.

> What does that mean?

It means that you should not reply with the original text quoted at the bottom and your new text posted ahead of it at the top, even though this is how every email client since 1999 has worked.

Instead you should always force the recipient to read past the original text, which is left at the top, and post your reply at the *bottom*, which is how email worked back in 1842. (It does, admittedly, force you to confront the issue of how much original text to quote to keep the message relevant, instead of just piling new text on top of old until the email thread is monstrously long.)

Both approaches have their strengths. The top-posting approach creates a more faithful record of how the thread actually progressed by leaving all previous content intact. It also reflects the modern norm that an online statement is only truly important if you made it yourself, so you might as well post yours at the top.

The bottom-posting approach is more traditional and lets you remind people you have been using the internet since long before it was popular or widely available, and therefore that you actually are important although you are willing to add your follow-up at the bottom.

The word “netiquette” is a happy word that was widely used back in the 1980s, when being polite online still occasionally happened, and people actually looked out for one another. Today, the word is an archaism that has largely vanished from everyday vocabulary, along with phrases like “netizen”, “pulse dialling” and “may I take your coat?”

This is a bottom-post, as you can see, which assures you I am a decent chap, and means that you have to accept everything I say because I respect tradition.

Seriously… in real life, just do whatever your email client finds easiest. If you use Outlook you will naturally be a top-poster because you are modern and trendy and in thrall to Microsoft. If you use elm (or better yet telnet) to send email, you will tend to bottom-post because that is how Queen Victoria used to do it.