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    Cord Walter Aug. 8, 2008, 12:24 p.m. (Message 53346)

    Campbell Tyler schrieb:
    > Cord Walter wrote:
    >> Campbell Tyler schrieb:
    >> I have just hit the 200 programme mark, so time to publish an update.
    >> Maybe I am a bit picky here, but I would appreciate that if someone 
    >> starts a new topic he/she also starts a new thread instead of reusing an 
    >> old thread [1] and just change the subject?
    >> I made a screenshot to illustrate the point:
    >> http://home.snafu.de/cord.walter/misc/new-thread.jpg
    >> Just makes reading/organising the posts easier...
    > 
    > As the guilty party in this instance, all I can say is sorry but it is in
    > total ignorance that I do that.  When the email leaves me, it has a totally
    > new subject line with no reference to any earlier one, and I reply to an
    > existing old email to ensure I get the address line right, avoiding typing
    > errors.   Also when I get replies to my "new" thread they only reflect my
    
    I guess that replying to an *old* email makes my mail program sorting it 
    with the mails of the thread you "replied" to. But I guess Anselm is 
    more firm with the respective RFCs to explain why this happens...
    
    > 
    > It does raise a general point in my mind.  I would very much like Anselm to
    > provide a potted "Using Strathspey List 101" tutorial to cover points like
    > this (my favourite hobby horse is getting people to sign their emails in
    > full and where they are located - does that strike a Cord, Walter?? :-),
    
    I'll give it a try ;)
    
    > another being people contributing without indicating which email they are
    > answering).  So, for instance, why do the people who have been on Strathspey
    > longer than me, when changing threads always say "was....." and for how long
    > should that stay?
    
    In this case: I replied to your mail, to "connect" it to your post. But 
    I changed the subject to indicate that I was not replying to the 
    contents of your post...
    
    I think it is a good rule to change the subject (with the (was: ...) 
    addition when the discussion disgressed from the original thread to a 
    related but different topic (e.g. from  discussing a dance in general to 
    a discussion of intricate detail of passing left or right shoulder in 
    certain formations ;) ). As for how long to keep the (was: ) - as short 
    as possible I'd say :)
    
    >  And when should a thread be changed?  
    
    When starting a completely different/new subject (in my opinion)..
    
    > In other words, the
    > general etiquette that governs using Strathspey.  Or does it already exist?
    
    I'm not aware of any clay tablets that these rules might be etched in ;) 
    Apparently there are several unwritten rules (eg regarding the posting 
    of dance instructions), and some rules that are part of "net culture" 
    (eg. TOFU-Quoting etc.) which strathspeyers might or might not know, 
    depending on their net usage (and if they ever came in contact with the 
    scary thing called "Usenet" ;) ).
    
    But I don't think we should bring in too much bureaucracy into 
    Strathspey... I just wanted to raise a bit of concern regarding the 
    "thread"-issue since I had posts popping up in "unexpected" threads 
    since some time...
    
    Anyway, in no way should anyone be distracted from posting to strathspey 
    by technical or bereaucratic issues ;)
    
    Bye,
    
    Cord Walter
    52"08'30.08N 9"57'32.89E :)
    -- 
    Cord Walter
    email: xxxx.xxxxxx@xxx.xx
    Public PGP-Key available on request
    
    Weil es niemanden etwas angeht, dass ich nichts zu verbergen habe:
    http://www.gnupg.org/
    http://www.truecrypt.org/
    ...und überhaupt: http://www.FreiheitstattAngst.de
  • ...

    francoscot@telefonica.net Aug. 8, 2008, 1:24 p.m. (Message 53347, in reply to message 53346)

    This is the first time I have heard of threads being anything but 
    meesages with a common subject line.
     None of the e-mail readers I have used sort the messages except by 
    date (or subject or sender, depending on my own choice).    Which means 
    that changing a subject line is, as far as I can tell the same thing as 
    starting a new thread, the "was : " convention  being a possible way of 
    connecting up with what had gone before.
    
    > Anyway, in no way should anyone be distracted from posting to 
    strathspey 
    by technical or bureaucratic issues ;)
    
    Well, that's a relief. 
    ;-)
    Martin
  • ...

    Steve Wyrick Aug. 8, 2008, 5:14 p.m. (Message 53350, in reply to message 53347)

    I think that most posters here won't see Cord's problem.  It's
    apparently of concern only if you use an e-mail client that groups
    threads using ID fields in the header and not by subject (and you have
    threaded sort turned on, of course).  For example this behavior occurs
    in Apple Mail but not in Thunderbird.  I also don't have this issue in
    the Gmail web client, and I don't think you'd see it in the Strathspey
    archives, but haven't checked for myself. -Steve
  • ...

    Steve Johnson Aug. 8, 2008, 6:29 p.m. (Message 53351, in reply to message 53350)

    Steve Wyrick wrote:
    
    > I think that most posters here won't see Cord's problem.  It's apparently
    of concern only if you use an e-mail > client that groups threads using ID
    fields in the header and not by subject (and you have threaded sort turned >
    on, of course).  For example this behaviour occurs in Apple Mail but not in
    Thunderbird. 
    
    Grouping messages by message ID when threading is standard behaviour - the
    subject line is only there for courtesy to human readers, not as a field to
    be processed.  The ID fields in the header (usually not displayed to human
    readers) are there in the standard precisely so that automated threading can
    take place.
    
    On my PC at least, Thunderbird 2.0.0.26 displays the 'problem' if you have
    'threaded' checked in view | sort-by.  Microsoft Outlook 2003 also displays
    the 'problem' if you have view | arrange by | conversation selected.  I'd
    agree that in neither of these mail-readers is threading the 'default' sort
    behaviour - it's one you have to select by choice - but it's one that makes
    a deal of sense (to me at least) in following how list postings relate to
    each other.
    
    On my copy of Outlook, I have a rule set to automatically move all
    Strathspey postings into a specific folder, and that folder is set to
    display as threaded.  If a significant number of people are using threaded
    readers (did anyone say 'Usenet'?) I can see the benefits of asking posters
    to please start a new message if they're starting a new subject, rather than
    replying to an old one.
    
    But as the man himself said:
    
    >> Anyway, in no way should anyone be distracted from posting to Strathspey
    >> by technical or bureaucratic issues ;)
    
    Best regards
    --
    Steve
    xx@xxxxx.xxxxx.xx.xx
  • ...

    Anselm Lingnau Aug. 11, 2008, 4:34 p.m. (Message 53366, in reply to message 53347)

    xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx schrieb:
    
    > This is the first time I have heard of threads being anything but
    > meesages with a common subject line.
    
    As Steve Johnson mentioned, the subject line has nothing to do 
    with »threading« (although there are mail programs around that will take the 
    easy shortcut of sorting messages according to subject line and will call 
    that »threading«).
    
    If done correctly, threading is performed according to the »Message-ID« 
    and »In-Reply-To« (or »References«) headers. Every message is supposed to 
    contain a unique »Message-ID« header that exists only once in the history of 
    the world. For example, in the header of Martin's message I'm replying to 
    there is a line saying
    
      Message-ID: <xxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxx.xxxx@xxxxx>
    
    If a message is a reply to another message, this message is then supposed to 
    contain
    
      In-Reply-To: <xxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxx.xxxx@xxxxx>
    
    or
    
      References: <xxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxx.xxxx@xxxxx>
    
    A well-written mail reader can use these lines to construct a tree reflecting 
    the flow of answers without actually looking at the subject lines. (The 
    difference between »In-Reply-To« and »References« is that »References« can 
    actually list a (technically) arbitrary number of preceding messages, i.e., 
    follow the »branch« this message is the tip of possibly all the way up to its 
    root -- the first message posted in the thread. This makes it easy to 
    construct the tree even in the face of missing messages.) This is 
    incidentally what the Strathspey Archive does when collecting messages into 
    threads.
    
    In practice, the problem is that the authors of many mail readers do not 
    bother to get the »Message-ID« and »In-Reply-To«/»References« headers right, 
    so header-based threading doesn't always work, and one does have to resort to 
    looking at subject and date lines to figure out what belongs where. What the 
    Strathspey Archive *really* does is use a method called the »Jamie Zawinski 
    algorithm«, which does exactly that. We do have a slight advantage in that 
    the order that my server processes incoming messages in imposes a strict 
    ordering on the messages in the Archive, so every answer to a message must 
    have been processed later than the message itself -- unlike the general case 
    where questions and answers can cross each other all over the place. Hence 
    the thread reconstruction in the Archive does work quite well (I'm happy to 
    say); most glitches are due to terminally dumb client programs that won't put 
    the headers in that they should.
    
    >  None of the e-mail readers I have used sort the messages except by
    > date (or subject or sender, depending on my own choice).    Which means
    > that changing a subject line is, as far as I can tell the same thing as
    > starting a new thread, the "was : " convention  being a possible way of
    > connecting up with what had gone before.
    
    That may be the case for you but, as I said, with properly-written software, 
    subject lines are only looked at as a last resort.
    
    Right, everybody, nutshell summary:
    
      - Please don't start an unrelated topic by replying to a message that is
        part of an existing thread. Even if you change the subject line it is
        going to mess up the archive. And »xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx« really
        ought to be reasonably easy to remember (if not to type, but that's what
        your address book is for). If you have a really good mail program it
        should offer a »post to mailing list« function that will start a new
        thread given an existing message from a mailing list.
    
      - Please keep the subject line reasonably close to what is actually being
        discussed. The policy to do this is like so: Consider the subject line:
    
          Subject: Re: Words for "Donald Where's Your Troosers"
    
        (thank you, Malcolm). Suppose that the discussion has, after a few dozen
        messages, drifted over to the perennial topic on which shoulder one should
        take in Mairi's Wedding. The way to adjust the subject line is to put
    
          Subject: Shoulder in Mairi's Wedding (was: Words for "Donald Where's
              Your Troosers")
    
        (line broken -- in the approved fashion) for readability. That is, you get
        rid of any »Re:«'s in front of the actual subject text and put that in
        parentheses with an added »was: « in front.
    
    Incidentally, it is supposed to be »Re:« (not »RE:« or foreign abominations 
    such as »AW:«) and there should be only one of those in a subject line. 
    Hence, subject lines like
    
        Subject: RE: Re: AW: Re: Shoulder in Mairi's Wedding
    
    are an indication of terminally brain-damaged client software.
    
    Anyway, I have to go up to University Hall for my big shopping spree, so this 
    concludes today's lesson on e-mail arcana and etiquette.
    
    Anselm
    
    PS. I swear that the quote below was randomly selected.
    -- 
    Anselm Lingnau, Friedberg, Germany ..................... xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    There are no significant bugs in our released software that any significant
    number of users want fixed.                                      -- Bill Gates

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