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message-identifiers vs. "new message" in draft-crocker-email-arch-04.txt

2005-04-01 07:07:06

The email architecture draft discusses"new" messages and message-ids in
several places.  Some of that discussion contradicts the core email RFCs
(822, 2822) and may cause confusion.

Here's what RFC 2822 has to say:

   The "Message-ID:" field provides a unique message identifier that
   refers to a particular version of a particular message.  The
   uniqueness of the message identifier is guaranteed by the host that
   generates it (see below).  This message identifier is intended to be
   machine readable and not necessarily meaningful to humans.  A message
   identifier pertains to exactly one instantiation of a particular
   message; subsequent revisions to the message each receive new message

   Note: There are many instances when messages are "changed", but those
   changes do not constitute a new instantiation of that message, and
   therefore the message would not get a new message identifier.  For
   example, when messages are introduced into the transport system, they
   are often prepended with additional header fields such as trace
   fields (described in section 3.6.7) and resent fields (described in
   section 3.6.6).  The addition of such header fields does not change
   the identity of the message and therefore the original "Message-ID:"
   field is retained.  In all cases, it is the meaning that the sender
   of the message wishes to convey (i.e., whether this is the same
   message or a different message) that determines whether or not the
   "Message-ID:" field changes, not any particular syntactic difference
   that appears (or does not appear) in the message.

Draft section 2.1.3 refers to a "new message" several times, and states
that list expanders provide an example.  But list expanders do not
generally elide/replace message-ids, and therefore -- using standard
terminology from the core email RFCs -- there is in fact no "new
message"; a list expander redistributes the *same* message (with
unchanged message-id).  The section also states that a list expander
originates messages, which in general is not the case; a list expander
redistributes existing messages.

Section 3.3 discusses message identifiers, but fails to note that the
Message-ID message header field is optional.  It also alludes to
multiple identifiers, but does not note that Received fields may
incorporate a msg-id in the optional "id" component.

Section 5.3 also mentions "new message" in the context of mailing list
expansion; as noted above, there is in fact no "new message".