Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 1999)

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Subject: Re: Subject Prefix
From: "David W. Tamkin" <dattier @ Mcs . Net>
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 11:37:18 -0500 (CDT)
To: rasmus @ raleigh . ibm . com (Rasmus Lerdorf)
Cc: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <Pine . WNT . 4 . 10 . 9907060942380 . 184-100000 @ rasmus> from "Rasmus Lerdorf" at Jul 6, 99 09:49:16 am

Rasmus Lerdorf explained further.

| For instance:
|  1  .........  [Bug] Core dump problem in imap module
|  2  .........  [Dev] How should we fix it?
|  3  .........  [Patch] Fix core-dump in imap module
|  4  .........  [CVS] imap patch committed
| That would be a typical sequence of posts on 4 different mailing lists all
| dealing with the same software package.  Different people are able to post
| to each one, and the cvs one is just for the cvs program to post to.  ...
| And you gain the ability to visually scan for messages that are related. 
| This scan would be pretty much impossible to do automatically.  ...

Ah, what you have there are not independent lists on the same topic but ra-
ther lists from a single constellation.  Your illustration brings out what
seems to be the real point here: a single thread can move from one list to
another within the set, and your reason for having them in the same folder
is to follow a thread without searching for which folder holds the immedi-
ately consequent post.  The tag you add to the subject notifies you not just
of the subdistribution that sent you the post but also (and perhaps more im-
portantly) of the type of content the post will have.

| I find short subject prefixes very useful in this case.

Granted, understood, agreed ... but still ironic.  If you filtered all posts
from the various lists in that constellation to a single folder without tag-
ging the subjects, and you saw which were related to which just by looking at
the subject lines, but without the tags you didn't know until you read them
which were bug reports, development discussion, or patch proposals, and the
only way you'd spot a CVS announcement before reading its body were by notic-
ing that the cvs account posted it, you could still follow the threads.

| As long as ... the mailing list software is intelligent enough not to put
| multiple instances in the subject line ....

We all agree on not accumulating tags, but what do you mean "the mailing list
software"?  The discussion was about the subscriber's using his/her own fil-
tering capability to add his/her own tags to mail from an untagged list.  Has
anyone here (certainly not I) advocated trying to talk a list manager who
tags out of tagging?  If these lists come to you with their subjects already
tagged, then you and I have been comparing apples to oranges, and what you
are doing is not the act that I have been calling ironic.

| then the only thing you lose is about 5 chars in the subject line.

"[Patch] " is eight characters long.  If pushing part of the real subject out
of view on the index screen is a factor, you could shorten the tags to one
letter plus a hyphen or a space and they'll be even briefer.  The original
faction on my list who wanted tags suggested an eleven-character monstrosity,
which I did not particularly want in the subjects of their follow-ups when,
invariably, they would not edit it out.  I talked them into a four-character

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