[Mailman-Users] archive - ergonomics of date

Tyrus Maynard rustym at main.nc.us
Fri Jul 18 16:36:33 CEST 2003

Tyrus Maynard wrote:

 > I have questions about the way that index listings of postings is 
displayed in Mailman for all sorted listing ...sorted by 
Date,Subject/Thread or Author. This is not about search tools, only the 
sorted lists offered for browsing.
 >  1. Why is date not shown for all sorted posting lists in Mailman ?
 >     (Why is date not shown for ANY sorted posting lists  )
 > 1a  Why is date not provided/shown for  a list by DATE sorting?
 >    Now WHY would I want an index sorted by DATE that scrolls over 
more than a screenfull  WITHOUT having the Date provided on each entry.
 > How many clicks do I want to execute to find the "sweet spot" in a 
long list  that  approximates  April 15,2002  ...Mailman archiving 
forces the opening of multiple irrelevant postings just to find an 
approximate date to begin browsing for old content.
 >   It is unthinkable to me to provide a SORTED list without the 
content of the SORT FIELD being displayed  ...if you don't believe me 
try the same for a subject sort or an author sort.  I really don't do 
games on computers ....except at a Mailman Date archive, where I can 
play hit the  "pinnata" with multiple blind mouse clicks.
 > 1b  Why is date not shown for a listing by Thread/Subject?
 >   Let me propose that the date of a message is also important to 
evaluating its  significance. For threads that are familiar (whether 
followed or particpating poster) I retain a rough chronology of the 
conversation.  Also,when I visit a new thread, I know that sometimes an 
important post is an OUTLIER .... separated in time from the starting 
post. Outliers often provide thoughtful informative followup  (on an 
active list an outlier may be hours old compared to minutes old).   I 
don't claim that  outliers are always significant, but the TIME SEQUENCE 
of a SUBJECT THREAD gives important clues to the conversation.   Also it 
is important to revisiting a thread  which is well remembered, because 
the basic FLOW of CONVERSATION may also be recalled on a revisit.  Date 
is an important clue in a sorted listing  by subject.
 > 1c  Why is date not shown for listing by Author ?
 >  Do lists have dominant Authors posting important stuff? Yes.
 > The way I remember an old post is this:
 >  "That important security issue, that I can't remember the name of 
(and which probably doesn't have "security" as a search term)"
 >   Posted by  "Guru Joe"   (who knows alot about security on this list)
 >   Posted in  "January or February of 2002"
 > Naturally I would like to browse the Author listing of Guru Joe and 
find the  region around Jan Feb 2002  ....not much fun in a Mailman 
archive ...unless you enjoy !
 >   Interestingly solving 1a,1b,1c does not require any new algorithm, 
...just piping the existing data into the display ... the existing 
spacing of  sorted list display  has available whitespace.
 >  (Now at the end of my sermon, please tell me it was a wasted appeal, 
and that there is already an overlooked  toggle setting to display date 
somewhere in the admin interface)
 >  This link to a long thread on "Future of Pipermail" is old
 >   This is a clue to me that the future is NOW and the archiver is 
languishing from developer interest ...to any developer on this user 
list,please post this DATE issue into the developer-list.
 >  I hope my pitch for DATE DISPLAY is well received by developers who 
follow this userlist and provocative enough to earn a short thread and 
priority in the next version.
 > Thanks
 > Tyrus Maynard
   In the hopes that this proposal for a simple change in the display of 
the pipermail archive  will be  perceived as a contribution to the 
mailman cause and  receive further comment on this thread I am placing 
copy ABOVE  extra comment.
   Some may wish to categorize my lengthy post with a reference to some 
historical past pipermail discussion on the developer list as an 
accident, but there it is, free, and reasoned by one user.
    If anyone wishes to wait for me to offer code,  then one would not 
really be interested in correcting deficiency that I have described any 
time in the near future even for a simple fix. (If I am not qualified to 
add the code for even this simple fix should I still post to the 
     My understanding of the role of this user-list is to develop 
dialogue that identifies mandates for those that do develop code. I have 
placed my initial content at the top of this post hoping that it will 
receive attention and comments on its merits.
  Is this  a suggestion  worthy of Mailman?  Please add your view on the 
  merits along with  additional pointed critique. Maybe there are 
reasons to leave Mailman the way it is in this simple matter of display 
of date.

Tyrus Maynard

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