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Re: Intent to revive "expires" header from draft-ietf-mailext-new-fields-15

2008-07-27 05:09:29

On 7/26/08 at 9:49 PM +0100, Paul Smith wrote:

Hector Santos wrote:

Well, it shouldn't be called "Expires" then. Call it something else. I like "Color-me-Gray-Date:" <g>

A 'color-me-grey-date:' header (or 'only relevant before' or 'pointless after' or whatever) would be much more acceptable to me than 'expires' - the word 'expires' suggests that it means that the message *expires* after that date. When it has expired, it is no longer, it is bereft of life, gone to meet its maker etc etc.That's different from 'colored grey' (or Norwegian Blue, if that's more acceptable). If you mean 'expires' use 'expires'. If you mean 'less relevant after' then call the header 'less-relevant-after'.

Don't use the wrong header name just because someone else used it ages ago for something slightly different and then deprecated it and you want to un-deprecate it. Use the right header name, or don't use anything.

I'm sorry, but I'm not at all convinced by this. To repeat Frank, the "Expires:" header field *in use today* in news is defined as follows:

   The Expires header field specifies a date and time when the poster
   deems the article to be no longer relevant and could usefully be
   removed ("expired").

That's almost precisely what we've been talking about: A field to indicate the date after which the *sender* thinks you could delete this message. Do you have to delete it? No. Can you color it polka-dotted? Of course. But the sender is indicating that, for all he cares, you can delete it after this date.

Is there a potential that some bastard e-mail server will take this to mean that it should delete the message behind your back without your permission? Absolutely. But those same servers do exactly that with Date: fields that are too old, or Received: fields they don't like, or From: fields that make them unhappy, or.... Suffice it to say, servers will do bad things. This isn't helping them to do bad things. (Of course, if it turns out that lots of servers start doing bad things, senders won't use Expires: in fear of bad things happening. Such is life.)

Pete Resnick <>
Qualcomm Incorporated - Direct phone: (858)651-4478, Fax: (858)651-1102

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