Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(September 1996)

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Subject: Headers needed for threading: passing through MLM software
From: "Adam H. Kerman" <ahk @ chinet . chinet . com>
Date: Sun, 1 Sep 1996 00:51:31 -0500 (CDT)
To: list-managers <list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM>

I subscribe to several mailing lists that are gated to Usenet. As you 
know, the "References: " header cites the message IDs of earlier articles 
the poster is quoting. This allows newsreaders like trn to present news 
articles to the user with true threading.

As a courtesy to other Usenet readers, when I post a followup article 
through the mail-to-news gateway, I manually add "References: " message IDs.

However, when I see my article propogated through Usenet or the mailing 
list, the header has been stripped. trn has no way to properly thread the 

Is this a "feature"? The mailing lists are managed on ListProc, ListServ, 
and Majordomo. I assume this happens at the MLM level, since I don't see 
the header on messages from the list. I don't know how the gateway is 
managed; I suppose it could happen at that level.

I have yet to come across a MUA that threads e-mail messages. The 
"In-Reply-To: " header, where it exists, could be used to thread.

My MUA, pine, adds this header to my replies. However, some MLMs delete 
it. I have noticed that this header is preserved with Majordomo, but is not 
passed through by ListProc.

Is either header mandatory, either within Usenet or mail? Are there 
mandatory rules on the use of gateways, such that headers needed by one 
side are supplied by the other? Could an "In-Reply-To: " header be 
converted to a "References: " header, or vice versa?

Is an "In-Reply-To: " header allowed to cite more than one message ID?

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