Dan's Mail Format Site | Quoting

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Quoting, Replying, and Forwarding

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If all you ever do with e-mail is compose completely original messages yourself, you don't need to worry about replying, forwarding, or quoting. However, most e-mail users also respond to messages from others, and forward messages to others. Hence, some knowledge of the techniques and issues involved is handy. This section covers topics in this area, especially the controversial issue of how to quote back messages you're responding to.

  • Introduction -- Why should you include quotes from messages to which you're replying? This introductory article explains the purpose of quoting and gives a few general hints and tips.

  • Bottom Posting -- Some "newbie" users may not be familiar with it at all, but bottom (or interleaved) posting is the long-standing traditional style of quoting and replying to messages in electronic communication. Here's how it works and why its proponents think it's the most logical way to reply.

  • Top Posting -- Old-timers think of it as a barbarism, but many current-day mail programs are set up by default to arrange replies in a style completely different from the traditional Internet way. Should you use this style or not?

  • Forwarding -- A forwarded message sometimes resembles a reply with quotes, format-wise, but it has a very different purpose. Here's how to use it, and why you should sometimes think twice before you forward something.

  • Out-Of-Office Auto-Replies -- Some people like to have their mail program or server send automatic replies to those who write them while they're away. Is this a good or bad idea?

Next: If you want to send other kinds of things than plain text, such as pictures, spreadsheet files, and programs, you'll need to know about attachments; the techniques, standards, and perils of this are discussed in the next section.

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This page was first created 13 Apr 2003, and was last modified 03 Apr 2010.
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