For whatever reason, out of the blue it occurred to me that threads in this forum place the most recent post at the bottom of the thread. This is how Gmail works as well. Yet, I have always set my default in Apple Mail for the newest message to be at the top of the conversation thread.
I’m curious, what is your preference for emails; the most current message at the top or the bottom of the conversation and why that preference?
Sounds like the “big issue” debate about top or bottom in email held in the 1980’s when people got all worked up about it. Waste of time then.
It seems now decades later, as 2022 ends, new entries at top has won and I support that. Mainly because I do not want to waste time wading down the through the old stuff. Nor do I expect others to waste their time.
That being said, I rarely these days reply with any trailing thread items. I snip then all out with a message at bottom “[snipped remaining thread items]”
I quote relevant bits of text if required (not unlike here).
sometimes there is information or email in the thread not written by me and could be sensitive or embarrassing to others if inadvertently released.
i did not write all the items in the thread so why do I include in something I did not write?
full threads probably not read anyway.
i assume most email apps can display emails “by conversation” or some other descriptive word. so why is it necessary? and if someone has an email app that does not have the option to display by conversation, then threaded email not important to them anyway.
snipping cuts down on bloat
some people dig out old emails from someone to initiate a brand new topic unrelated to the topic of the email they hijacked to get the “to” and “cc” addresses. Very bad form.
Probably more reasons but that’s all I can think of right now.
Newest at the bottom. If I see there are a lot of emails in the thread, I will often go to the bottom first, but my threads are usually not that long, so I’d rather read in chronological order because that is what makes sense.
I work in a large corporation that uses Outlook on the desktop. The default from Microsoft is that newest message is on the top and nobody actually wants to learn anything about computer software, so that is what we all use. I have gotten used to it, but I suspect it contributes to the problem I see where lots of people’s replies are out of context because they finished the first message on the top and then stopped without reading further down to see the context.
For emails overall, I prefer oldest at the top as I generally deal with them oldest to newest. As for the individual email thread, I prefer newest reply on top. I deal with a pretty high volume of emails, and more often than not I don’t need to read the entire thread to reply. I don’t want to waste any more time in email that I have to. If I need to go further down the thread for more background/context, it’s there.
I will add it may also depend where the email comes from. For example, my direct reports and others in my department are all aware that if you CC me, I have a rule that puts them in a low priority folder. CC = informational. You don’t need action from me, you’re keeping me in the loop and I’ll get to it when I get to it. They also know to just give me the BLUF (bottom line up front) if they need something. If I need more detail, I’ll read down the thread or ask for more info. That may sound a little harsh, but as a team we’ve had open discussions on how we all like to be communicated with.
Now if my CEO or external stakeholder emails me, I may very well read the entire thread so I’m getting the full context. It just depends, but having the newest reply on top saves me some scrolling and reading until I decide I need to.