OFFTOPIC Re: [Mailman-Users] Archive URL in postings (2.1b3)
Chuq Von Rospach
chuqui at plaidworks.com
Tue Oct 29 21:08:28 CET 2002
On Tuesday, October 29, 2002, at 11:35 AM, Jay Sekora wrote:
>> well, To: is who the email is sent to. CC: are other interested
> And who gets to decide that - the actual creator of the content who
> understands what the message is about, or a piece of infrastructure
> software that treats all messages it receives the same way?
Now we start getting into heavy philosophical issues about all this.
Which means there are likely no "right" answers in an objective sense.
I say that up front, just in case. I want folks to know I'm not arguing
"I'm right", but "this is how I think it ought to be". Maybe a minor
semantical shift, but a key one, IMHO.
> I don't mind the subject-munging that mailman does if the list owner
> adds an identifying tag because that's added to the existing header
> the composer typed; the original information is still there.
OTOH, I *really* hate subject munging. here's why: my research shows
that the subject line is the A-number-1 determinator of whether a user
opens a piece of email or not. That's THE key item of information for
whether it gets deleted out of the summary listing unread or not.
The subject line is ALREADY seriously challenged as an information
source -- effectively, it's limited to about 50 characters by most mail
clients, in some cases, that can be as low as 35 characters in some
So when you tell me that the original author only has 50 characters to
convince someone to open their piece of email, but you think it's okay
for the MLM to take 10-15% of that space, and the 10-15% PRIME space at
the front of the line, to install a flag that already exists elsewhere
in the headers (list-id, sender, etc), I have problems with that.
You've effectively kicked the user out of a good chunk of his own space
advertising why someone should read that message, and stuffed in the
equivalent of a pop-up ad into that space for the mailing list.
I consider that a horrible tradeoff. I won't go so far as to call it an
abuse of the subject line, but I think it's really hurting the intent
of the user, which is to give them the ability to convince someone to
read that message.
To me, that's a much bigger sin than regularizing how the To and CC are
presented, because if nothing else, that's an attempt to make it easier
to use that information without depending on how the original user
presented it. After all, you're dependin on them doing the to: list,
CC: you, and while that might be true, it's not guaranteed true. And
MLMs have played with it as well. This is just a new take on how to
> Do you think it would make sense, on most lists, to *replace* the
> subject with (eg) "Subject: Mail from $sender to $listname on $date"?
> That's the same sort of thing.
No. I argue the opposite, that subject line is one of the headers taht
I consider MOST untouchable.
> I'm assuming that the person who typed in the message put the list
> address where s/he thought it belonged. I want to *know* where that
> person thought it belonged.
then why don't you care what the person put in the subject line?
addresses are -- addresses. The subject line is the author's own
thought on the piece of email. But it's okay to play with that, but not
standardize the look of the addresses? To/cc/bcc is really an
artificial construct in the email world, anyway, a hangover from the
paper days. The subject line is the author's knock on your front door.
Chuq Von Rospach, Architech
chuqui at plaidworks.com -- http://www.plaidworks.com/chuqui/blog/
IMHO: Jargon. Acronym for In My Humble Opinion. Used to flag as an
something that is clearly from context an opinion to everyone except the
mentally dense. Opinions flagged by IMHO are actually rarely humble.
(source: third unabridged dictionary of chuqui-isms).
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