Quoting entire messages (top posting) and HTML attachments are evil

A radical solution to get rid of them


Introduction Download Operation Updates

Introduction

I was really fed up of receiving mail messages which contain the same text once as plain text and once as HTML (I have just discovered that somebody sends message which even contain an attachment of "multipart/alternative" type, which contains two sub-attachments of which one is HTML ... there is no end to perversion). I was even more fed up of those guys who reply to a message of mine quoting my entire message at the end, instead of snipping only the parts they are really replying to (what is called top posting on Usenet, and heavily and rightfully criticized, and also against netiquette) :
bad mannergood manner
Dear Lucio,
with reference to your message I have to say what follows.

On 29 February 2000 Lucio Chiappetti wrote :
> pinco panco blagulon exarzur otzhaxwq sobaka
> pallino vitelli Bremsstrahlung notwithstanding

On this I fully agree while I disagree on the rest

>txet emas eht niatnoc hcihw segassem liam
>gniviecer fo pu def yllaer saw
>ohw syug esoht fo pu def erom neve saw I
>LMTH sa ecno dna txet nialp sa ecno
>and so on and so forth ...
>... for lines unnumbered
>fo daetsni ,dne eht ta egassem eritne
>ym gnitouq enim fo egassem a ot ylper

Dear Lucio,
with reference to your message I have to say what follows.

On 29 February 2000 Lucio Chiappetti wrote :
> pinco panco blagulon exarzur otzhaxwq sobaka
> pallino vitelli Bremsstrahlung notwithstanding

On this I fully agree while I disagree on the rest

And therefore I do not quote it.

In particular a message in top-posting style reproducing my original message is a pain and a waste when archiving ... I have no need to archive again my original message which is already in my folder (and anyhow the message with the appendage is less legible). In the rare case I'd need to distribute the entire correspondence to others, a MIME digest is a much more efficient solution,

Some people use this signature to show how top-posting is silly:

--
Answer: Because it makes conversations flow in a nonsensical order.
Question: Why is top-posting wrong?

Therefore, after some attempts of dealing with this while archiving the mail message to a folder (I use pine), or using procmail, I finally devised this system (based on awk and integrated within my procmail rules.).

Annoying behaviour by Outlook

I found that some correspondents using Outlook Express generate (in a way they are apparently unaware of) replies in a curious (and annoying way). I.e. the reply is not part of the normal body, but is disguised as a forwarded message (in turn, to make things trickier, it can be identified by ----- Original Message ----- or -----Original Message----- and the quote can or cannot be prefixed by the standard quotation character) !

Therefore I was compelled (in v1.3) to disable the pre-existing protection for forwarded messages in the particular case of replies generated by Outlook Express.


Download and installation

Since the above can be of general use I make available, with no guarantee or liability, what I have done according to the GNU GPL.

Please follow these steps for installation :


Principles of operation


Update history

S/w V1.0 and web page established on 30 Oct 2006
S/w V1.1 (support to nested multipart attachments) on 06 Nov 2006
S/w V1.2 (support to Mac multipart attachments; boundaries not enclosed in quotes and content-type not immediately following boundary) on 19 Jan 2009
S/w V1.3 (handle top posting disguised as forward by Outlook) on 26 Aug 2010
S/w V1.4 (support to Mac multiline content-type) on 21 Jan 2011
S/w V1.5 (support to quoted-printable when removing top posting) on 25 Jan 2011
S/w V1.6 (allow attachment with no Content-Type and no space after colon in Content-Type, causing infinite loop) on 20 Aug 2014
Web page last updated on 20 Aug 14 16:32

Bugs

I suspect this software may not work well if the e-mail being filtered is encoded as "Quoted-Printable".
Possible improvements in customizing replacement messages (turning them off ?)
Possible improvements in supporting other quotation strings, and/or other kind of "bad attachments".

Contacts

I have no time to actively mantain this software other than for my own use. However I will be glad to receive communication of problems (or improvements) to it at my e-mail address lucio in domain lambrate.inaf.it.

Lucio Chiappetti - IASF Milano - INAF