Mom, If you are Reading This

Posted on 20 January 2010

For the past several years whenever my mom replied to an email that I sent her, the reply was always at the bottom of the thread.  It was sort of annoying, yet I just always accepted it as my mom’s weird way of replying to emails.  Today I discovered that it’s not actually my mom’s fault for such strange behavior, she likely must be using the guidance of default settings and Thunderbird as her email client (email clients aren’t a topic of discussion at my parents when I am home for a weekend).

Being involved in a startup, sometimes you need tools that are “just good enough”.  There is no reason to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on software licences so that you can be like the corporate guys – there is an open source alternative for almost every tool you might need out there.  Here is a great reference (open source alternatives) for searching for said tools.

So, Mom, if you are reading this there are two default settings changes that I want you to make to Thunderbird so that it performs in a manner similar to the accepted norm.

First, I want you to make the following change so that  when you reply to a thread, it places your reply at the top of the thread as opposed to the bottom:

Thunderbird Reply Above Quote

Thunderbird Reply Above Quote

Step 1. Open Thunderbird and select “Tools”

Step 2. Select “Account Settings…”

Step 3. Under your email account select “Composition & Addressing”

Step 4. Under composition, make sure that “automatically quote the original message when replying ” is selected

Step 5. Most importantly, below that, change the drop down so that – Then, “start my reply above the quote” is selected.

Step 6. Click “Ok”.

While we are at it, we are going to fix another pet peeve that Thunderbird does by default which is forwarding messages as attachments instead of inline text – as a default behavior.  To make this change:

Step1. With Thunderbird open select “Tools”

Step 2. Select “Options…”

Step 3. Select “Composition”

Step 4. Change the drop down for Forward messages: to “Inline”.

Step 5. Click “Ok”.

Thunderbird Forward Messages Inline

Thunderbird Forward Messages Inline

I love you mom.


2 responses to Mom, If you are Reading This

  • Brandon West says:

    I believe this is a remnant of usenet/newsgroup netiquette, where top-posting (replying above the quoted text) is considered bad form and most people bottom-post. The Mozilla folks that wrote Thunderbird must be old-school geeks.

    • Travis Todd says:

      That’s funny, when I first complained of this behavior to Dan, that was his first comment, it’s got to be a holdover from newsgroup. I don’t remember or didn’t use it…

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