Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(December 1992)

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Subject: Re: Listserv vs News
From: chk @ alias . com (C. Harald Koch)
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1992 10:15:13 -0500
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <8989 . 723259999 @ lyon . eiffel . com> from "Raphael Manfredi" at Dec 1, 92 08:33:19 pm

> It is much more difficult to follow a conversation via a mailing list, as
> opposed to news. I don't know of any user agent which let you organize threads
> based on the 'In-Reply-To' headers the way a newsreader threads articles via
> the Reference line.

threaded newsreaders have been around for less than two years; before that
we all had to follow conversations the hard way, just like we do in mail now.

Threaded mail reading would be an easy modification. A simple way to do it
would be to save all messages to a mailbox and then have a program sort that
mailbox by In-Reply-To: header information. It would (probably) be easy to
add internal sorting to Elm; it already sorts mail about 8 different ways.

> But even if you feed a local newsgroups and manage to thread articles, you
> still loose the flexibility of a normal newsgroups where a single article can
> raise a huge tree of replies.

This is a negative aspect of newsgroups, IMHO. If you (accidentally) ask a
simple question, you get several hundred replies over the course of the next
two weeks, because of the delays in news distribution. We're considered
"close" to the news backbone, yet it takes two days for one of my outgoing
postings to reach most of the people who would reply.

Mailing lists have a much lower latency. Articles to this list, for example,
end up back in my mailbox in a couple of hours.

This reduces the amount of redundant information that travels around; if I
don't read mail for a couple of hours, it's likely that I'll see both query
and response in the same session, and I won't bother duplicating someone
else's reply. For this to work in news, I have to wait days between

Main's Law: For every       | C. Harald Koch  Alias Research, Inc. Toronto, ON
action, there is an equal   | chk @
 alias .
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and opposite goverment      | chk @
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 utcs .
 utoronto .
 ca     (permanent address)
program.                    | VE3TLA @
 VE3OY .
 #SCON .
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From: "Michael H. Morse" <mmorse @ z . nsf . gov>
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From: psrc @ pegasus . att . com (Paul S R Chisholm)
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From: Raphael Manfredi <ram @ eiffel . com>
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