Web-standards advocate, Molly Holzchlag (molly.com) proposes, in a recent post, abolishing “bottom-posting.” I was disappointed to read that headline, until I realized she was not referring to blog posts about our bottom. In my case, I’ve been constipated for three days and I’ve consumed 3 bowls of cereal in the past 20 minutes hoping Mother Nature shall work her magic tomorrow morning.
Indeed, Molly may or may not be okay with us posting about our bottom or bowl movements (how about the chunks of undigested corn or the colors that result from flavored water-ice, Slurpies, Icees or snowballs?
No. Molly is talking about the style conventions for e-mails or forums, where new comments appear on the bottom.
- First, she says, we’re becoming extremely used to backward sequencing. Blogs do this automatically. Twitter does too. Second we have many tools now so as to retrieve and save threads. IMAP, for one. Gmail provides archives. All current, popular mail clients allow some sort of filtering and thread views.
- Third, bottom-posting needs to die a fast death (because of the) increasing access of email on small devices. It becomes absolutely senseless to have an entire novel sent when the message is simply “yup, I’m on the task” or what have you.
- The final reason that bottom-posting sucks is that long emails that require a user to scroll through what is sometimes pages and pages of information is physically damaging and actually very difficult to do for those of us whose wrists and fingers tire easily.
No word yet on how Molly feels about the whole toilet-paper “under” or “over” debate.