[Mailman-Users] Automatic subscription based on e-mail subject

Richard Damon Richard at Damon-Family.org
Thu Jan 31 23:57:23 EST 2019

On 1/31/19 12:58 PM, R. Diez via Mailman-Users wrote:
> > [...]
>> I think you are talking here about a web forum, where you can
>> "subscribe"
>> to information posted to a certain thread. I never saw this in a real
>> mailing list.
>> I Cc: this reply to you to make sure you see it - but I wonοΏ½t do
>> this for
>> every message I write to any mailing list normally.
> > [...]
> This is a serious shortcoming in Mailman. I am surprised that such a
> basic human communication issue has not been properly addressed.
> See here what kind of effect that can have. From the message below, a
> long discussion follows on this subject:
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-users/2018-July/294510.html
> I would like to specifically mention the following page, which
> accurate describes the problem:
> http://david.woodhou.se/reply-to-list.html
> All that would not be necessary if Mailman were smart enough. It
> already knows how to group e-mails by subject. It could make sure the
> participants are all kept in the loop.
> Regards,
>   rdiez 

Mailman really CAN'T be smart enough, as email isn't that sort of media.
The reader of the message reads the message, and decides where to send
the reply to. THEY decide whether to copy you or not as an explicit
destination, and likely different people will choose different choices.
Mailman when it gets the message knows enough to be able to distribute
it to subscribers in their chosen way.

Email doesn't really have the concept of a 'Topic' like a forum, the
closest email has is the In-Reply-To and References headers, but if the
list is sort of busy (which would be the only real reason to want to
limit what you get from the list) then it is actually a lot of work to
track, as for every message the list would need to check for every
subscriber if they have 'followed' ANY of the messages that this message
is a reply to, and if so add this message to the list. The problem is
that while on a forum, all messages posted in a topic, will be connected
to THAT topic, an email message doesn't necessarily keep track of all
the messages, or even the original message that it is a reply to, by the
standard, it is supposed to at a minimum refer to the message it is a
direct reply, and possible some number or previous messages in the chain.

The sort by subject is a very different thing, as that doesn't need to
know about individual subscribers, and if the 'topic' gets broken
because someone edited the subject slightly it isn't an issue, as the
data is still all there, will if you tried to keep a list of subjects
that a subscriber was interested in, they won't get messages where some
small change was made in the subject. Small changes can sometimes happen
just by slightly mis-configured software, doing things like adding
additional re: prefixes

I will ask you how much you are willing to talk to a person who
basically interrupts, says they aren't really interested in the general
conversation, so isn't really listening, but if you go out of your way
to answer in a special way they will hear you. (Which is one way to
describe what you are doing),

Richard Damon

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