On Wed, 14 Jul 1999 02:13:03 EDT, Keith Moore said:
in general, user agent design needs to realize that there is a
difference between "continuing a discussion", and "starting a
new discussion" (even if it involves the same people).
The biggest problem is distinguishing between the two cases and their
intermediaries. A new branch could be just a bit off topic, a lot off
topic, or totally unrelated.
Also, note that quite often, it doesn't *become* a new branch when you
post the slightly-off-topic reply - it becomes one when somebody
replies to *that*. In other words, a branch or sub-branch in the tree
has to be of length at least 2 - if that branch is length 1, it's just
a reply, not a branch.
The 'gnus' Emacs package seems to Do The Right Thing at least with
netnews. When threading, it sorts all the threads into a full tree and
then allowing branch-based pruning. I presume that most other modern
newsreaders do similar threading features.
Something that *must* be remembered is that most newsreaders have
fairly full context available on backing store - the news server has
all the recent articles available. However, an E-mail MUA will
usually/often/almost-always be missing large sections of a thread (I
know I've already deleted at least half the postings on this subject).
Computer Systems Senior Engineer