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Re: Revisiting RFC 2822 grammar (Subject field)

2004-01-17 07:36:24

Pete Resnick wrote:

On 1/15/04 at 7:09 PM +0100, Arnt Gulbrandsen wrote:

6. I don't like Bruce's changes to subject. They mix in RFC 1036 syntax, which IMO does not belong in 2822.

I agree. These should be removed.

IMO, Subject should be unstructured, period. Unfortunately, RFC 1036 introduced two
1. "Re: " (which it got wrong!), which *requires* certain actions when encountered, i.e. it is
   effectively part of the syntax.  See RFC 1036 sections 2.1.4, 2.2.5.
2. "cmsg", which *requires* certain actions when encountered. See RFC 1035 sections 2.2.6
   and 3 (including subsections).

This is the same "Subject" field described in RFCs 822 and 2822.

Now, if an RFC 2822 successor were to repudiate those requirements spelled out in RFC 1036,
that would be fine.

As things stand now, it is necessary to recognize the "re: " and "cmsg" hacks in order to comply with RFC 1036, and there is at least one draft nearing RFC status that would add "Auto: " to the
list of Subject field hacks.

RFC 2822 currently has verbiage (section 3.6.5) which falls short of a requirement, however it
does nothing to remove the RFC 1036 requirements.  The verbiage also:
1. implies that presence of "Re: " indicates that a message is a reply, which is incorrect (I daily receive several spam messages having Subject fields beginning with "Re: " which are not replies). 2. seems wholly unnecessary. It might as well state that when not used in a reply, Subject MAY begin with "Re: ", when used in a reply, Subject MAY begin with "Qwerty%$@&^%#:_",
   when not used in a reply, Subject MAY begin with "Qwerty%$@&^%#:_", etc.

If an RFC 2822 successor were to repudiate the RFC 1036 Subject hack requirements, then
subject = "Subject:" unstructured CRLF
would be accurate (provided no other hacks are introduced in the interim).