Clickable hyperlinks

Deborah Swanson python at
Tue Jan 3 10:15:52 EST 2017

Steve D'Aprano wrote, on January 04, 2017 2:09 AM
> 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

Clickable hyperlinks
+- RE: Clickable hyperlinks
ü  +- Re: RE: Clickable hyperlinks
ü  L- RE: Clickable hyperlinks
ü     L- Threading [was Re: Clickable hyperlinks]
ü        L- Re: Threading
+- RE: Clickable hyperlinks
L- 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.

"Cheer up," they said, "things could be worse." So I cheered up, and sure 
enough, things got worse.

Interesting history lesson. I actually wouldn't know which came first, since 
I've only been online since 1992 (offline computing since 1972). I do know that 
I've been on a lot of mailing lists like this one since 1992 (remember 
Fidonet?), some with actively posting members in the thousands. And I have 
never heard anyone whine and complain about threading issues that had anything 
to do with the message title until yesterday.

So it goes. I'll repeat again that I'll comply with the rules of this group 
that are brand spanking new to me, and I've been around a corner or two.

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