At 00:16 2007-02-14 -0500, Eric Wood wrote:
I've actually done this before and got railed about it. But is sounds
like email clients should default to clearing those extra thread headers
whenever a users modifies a subject line. Maybe a good suggestion for
Refer to Ruud's reply about change of subject syntax.
It would be BAD for a mail client to discard thread headers just because
the subject line changes - a subject line change is commonly performed on a
thread where the author is taking a tangent on the existing discussion:
someone posts about something and mentions another issue, and the current
reply ends up running with that other issue, not the primary
one. Eventually, someone decides to change the subject so that the two
discussions can be tracked individually (say, because the secondary
discussion isn't topical to list purists). Every reply to THAT message may
have the other subject heading and threading to it, but other replies to
the original thread separate from the subject line change would still refer
to the original references, not to the subject changed one. There's also
nothing stopping more than one person from creating offshoot subject lines
near simultaniously - all referring to the original discussion, and in
fact, being related to one another despite different subject headings.
Barring everything else, the references should point to the message which
was being replied to (for instance, I clipped out a bunch of prior content
from your message when I replied to it), and people should be able to refer
back to the message I'm replying to. But if I'm some lazy individual who
isn't actually replying to your message, just using it to address a new
message to the list, that backreference is improper.
On some lists, people (or automated systems) insert additional elements
into the subject line. [SCANNED] and [listid] and the like. Subjects
alone can't be relied upon to keep a thread together.
IMO, the appropriate thing would be for lazy people not to use an existing
message to START A COMPLETELY UNRELATED DISCUSSION. That's what "compose a
new message" or whatever in your email client is for. REPLY is for
contributing to an existing discussion.
I suspect that the biggest reason threading isn't more prominent in many
mail clients is because there's so many turkeys out there that can't manage
to use email correctly.
Sean B. Straw / Professional Software Engineering
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