Mail 8 (Yosemite): Now includes attribution at same quote level as quotation itself

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
November 27th, 2014 • 3:37 pm

Every so often (albeit with worryingly increasing frequency these days), Apple’s software engineers make changes that make you shake your head in disbelief.

Now that I have upgraded to Yosemite (a not-too-pleasant experience), I have a fresh new batch of such changes to describe.

Here’s one that has to do with the new version of Mail included in Yosemite. As far as I can tell, when Mail is set to quote the text of the original message in replies (and also to increase the quote level of the original text that is quoted), the attribution of the quote, i.e. the top line that reads “On [date] [time], XXX wrote:” is now no longer at the root level of your reply, but at the same quote level as the quoted text that follows:


This makes no sense whatsoever. Why would the attribution look like it is part of the quoted text? It is not part of the quoted text! It is something that Mail adds automatically as a way to introduce the quoted text, and the insertion of this attribution is just a way to save you time by not requiring you to type out this attribution yourself in your reply. It is meant to read like something that you wrote, not like something that the sender of the original message wrote!

I just don’t understand how this could happen. Are Apple’s software engineers becoming blind? Don’t they care about such details at all? Do they consider that the majority of OS X users don’t care about such details either?

I do realize that the lack of universal, flexible standards for quoting text in replies has created pervasive problems in email correspondence over the years. Even in my own correspondence, I still get replies from people where there is no quote level whatsoever and the respondent has manually used a different text colour (in rich text, of course) to insert his/her reply manually next to the original text, without so much as a line break between the original text and his/her reply.

But that does not mean that I don’t care about the appropriate use of quote levels, and that does not mean that Apple should add to the confusion by misusing quote levels itself in its Mail application!

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