Clickable hyperlinks

Steve D'Aprano steve+python at
Wed Jan 4 04:08:52 EST 2017

On Wed, 4 Jan 2017 08:00 pm, Deborah Swanson wrote:

[speaking of threading emails]

> I suppose. Times change of course, which always suits some and not
> others. Personally, I think putting messages that have different titles
> all in one thread is a bad design, but as I've said a couple of times
> now I intend to comply with the new rules. But compliance doesn't imply
> agreement. I prefer the old system, which ordered threads by titles, but
> there's obviously no pleasing everyone on this issue.

Indeed :-)

However, as far as I am aware, the use of threading by following the 
In-Reply-To and References header lines goes back to at least 1982, which makes 
them pretty old, and certainly pre-dates Gmail and Outlook by many years. 
They're also official standards which ALL email programs are supposed to 
follow, so if Gmail and Outlook fail to follow the standard, well, I wouldn't 
be surprised. I don't absolutely know for a fact that threading in this way is 
older than threading by subject line, but I'm fairly confident that what you 
are calling the "new rules" are actually the much older rules.

Are there any old-timers here who were using email prior to 1982 that would 
care to comment?

Here's a discussion by Jamie Zawinski, who wrote Netscape Navigator, before it 
became Mozila and Firefox, so he knows what he's talking about:

The concept here is not so much that people start a new topic and change the 
subject, but that sometimes the topic just naturally evolves to the point that 
a change in subject is sensible. Take this thread for example: the topic has 
drifted from "Clickable hyperlinks" to talking about email threading. I should 
be able to change the subject without breaking the thread:

Clickable hyperlinks
âö£âö  RE: Clickable hyperlinks
âöé  âö£âö  Re: RE: Clickable hyperlinks
âöé  âööâö  RE: Clickable hyperlinks
âöé     âööâö  Threading [was Re: Clickable hyperlinks]
âöé        âööâö  Re: Threading
âö£âö  RE: Clickable hyperlinks
âööâö  Re: Clickable hyperlinks

Adding a "Re:" or "RE" to the subject doesn't change the thread, and neither 
does changing the subject line in a more substantial way.

Of course, I can always *choose* to sort by subject line, or date. Personally I 
hardly ever sort by thread, so it is no skin off my nose what you do. But when 
you hit "Reply" to a message, you inherit the "Reference" and "In-Reply-To" 
headers from the previous message, so at least some people will see it threaded 
in an existing thread rather than starting a brand new one.

â £Cheer up,â Ø they said, â £things could be worse.â Ø So I cheered up, and
enough, things got worse.

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