Hal E. Fulton (hal9000 / hypermetrics.com) wrote:
> From: Joseph McDonald <joe / vpop.net>
[Preferring replies to be located above the quoted text.]
> > It is a pain to have to scroll down through a message you have
> > already read to get to the meat of the new message, but I'm sure
> > people have their reasons for wanting it like that (for now).
> 
> Thank you, Joe. I, for one, agree completely.

For what it is worth, I do not agree. But then I think there are some
misconceptions at work here.

> In the first place, I resent having to scroll to the bottom to add my
> comments (especially when most people nowadays put the new
> material at the top).

The cursor is customarily placed at the top to give you an opportunity
to edit your posting and to trim it down to the essentials, inserting
your own comments wherever necessary. Long paragraphs can be summarized
(as I did above). In most languages, text is read from the top down,
so the cursor is placed where you start (at or near the top).

> In the second place, I have to scroll AGAIN to skip over the junk 
> I have already read.

If you have to scroll down, then the author of the posting you are
reading probably quoted too much; not always, because sometimes you have
to include quite a bit of detail to preserve necessary context. But as a
rule of thumb, the first page should already contain original text.
Quotes should only preserve context; you are not supposed to repeat the
entire posting, _neither_ at the bottom nor at the top.

This problem is unfortunately exacerbated by mailreaders that insert a
header that spans multiple lines. I really do not need to know that the
posting somebody quoted went to ruby-talk, for instance--I can deduce
that myself, should it ever become necessary to know. Most modern
mailreaders, and pretty much all newsreaders preserve the message id of
the quoted message in the rare case I need to access the quoted posting
in its entirety.

Non-original text should be included on a strict "need to know" basis.
That includes both quoted text and boilerplate material included by your
MUA. If it isn't essential, summarize, or cut, or both. Your readers
will appreciate it.

And yes, this requires additional effort. But your message is only
written once, and read a thousand times. If everybody does it this way,
any additional time spent on your part is offset many times over by
others saving _your_ time in the same fashion.

[...]

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