On Wednesday 28 May 2008 04:50:07 Francis Burton wrote:
> In article <4D92FD57-DCB3-4067-BF24-62A7A46211A3 / mwilden.com>,
> Mark Wilden  <mark / mwilden.com> wrote:

> >Agreed. Things have changed since 1995. Just because one person issued  
> >a request for comment 13 years ago does not make careve it carve it in  
> >stone.
> 
> I'd be interested to hear exactly what has changed since 1995 that
> invalidates the original reasoning.

I'm not sure how much has been said so far (archives don't seem to be keeping 
up), but Gmail does a few things to make top-posting liveable, almost 
preferred. It's about the only client I know that does this, though.

First, it's pretty thoroughly threaded. Even if my inbox is empty, when a new 
mail comes in, it'll show it as a whole conversation.

Second, quotes are often hidden by default. They turn into a little JavaScript 
link that says "Show quoted text" or something similar.

The result of those two is that it's usually more convenient to drill down in 
the "conversation" -- meaning looking at actual, previous messages -- than to 
look at a quote. This is because the actual messages will preserve formatting 
(links, images, etc), and will also have the widgets associated with 
metadata -- I can reply to that particular message, or push a "chat" button 
to open an IM window with the person who wrote it, etc etc.

However, having the entire conversation in every message, even if they're all 
hidden, has the nice side effect that I can be included in a conversation at 
any point and have the entire history of it readily available. This is mostly 
useful for business -- someone asks my boss about doing something, he replies 
with comments and adds me to the CC list. I have the full context because of 
that quote, with no additional effort from anyone.

In communities centered around gmail (Google Groups), and in places I don't 
know of a convention, I'll usually top-post in cases like this -- where 
there's not a huge amount of correlation between what I say and what's been 
said, but it might be useful to have that history. It's also useful in 
replies to individuals -- why should I read through everything I just wrote 
in order to get to the actual message?

But in cases where it's appropriate (and in communities where it's requested), 
I'll bottom-post and, occasionally, middle-post.

Of course, I probably lose any etiquette points for beating a dead horse...