The losing battle of TOFU

Adam Dinwoodie
Fri Nov 2 16:55:00 GMT 2012

Christopher Faylor wrote:
> This isn't really Cygwin-related but I wonder if the battle against TOFU is
> well and truly lost.  Very few people that I know use it.  It's not even on
> anyone's radar as something that should be done.  Many email readers default
> to it.

Personally, I love the fact that the Cygwin list still (attempts to) enforce
interleaving.  It feels like the last bastion of readability and common sense
over laziness.

> At NetApp, it's basically the wild west when it comes to quoting style.  Some
> people use the tried-and-true, "just forward it back along with email
> headers".

Which is more-or-less fine for things that aren't going to go on a crawlable
website, and a nightmare for things that are.

> Some people invent their own style, like bracketing replies with their name.

That's a standard Microsoft Outlook option.  You can fairly easily set it up to
add those brackets automatically when you add a comment interleaved in a reply.
Not sure if Microsoft came up with the idea, but I strongly suspect that's one
of the reasons it caught on so.

(I have to use Outlook, but I have a practiced technique involving Cygwin vim
and /dev/clipboard for writing nicely quoted emails.)

> No one puts the quotes first and their replies after and hardly anyone
> (besides me) ever trims anything.

It's still the case that bottom-posting is normal for each message in threading
clients.  If you look at Gmail or Facebook, for example, they both put the more
recent replies below the older, and they both surpress the context (in Gmail,
there's a button to expand the quoted context; Facebook just doesn't include it
in replies at all, since it's always included the full context of previous

I think some form of quoting is still useful when you need to reply to
individual points, but I think that's fairly rare.  Now increasing numbers of
people use clients that thread conversations, I suspect we're just going to see
folk stopping quoting entirely except when they explicitly want to reply
separately to separate points.

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