[nSLUG] Please do not use Reply for new topics

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Fri Oct 9 15:52:38 ADT 2009

2009/10/9 Mike Spencer <mspencer at tallships.ca>:
> Daniel Morrison wrote:
>> Still, while I'm dreaming away... it would be nice for email clients
>> to have a 'reset/purge references' button,....

> Button?  What is this "button" of which you speak?

Well, in Gmail it would be a button in a pop-up window. In Pine it
would be a prompt. You knew what I meant.

> If you were using Emacs to do your email, those headers would appear
> visibly in your reply.  I routinely originate a new
> conversation/exchange using "reply" with a new subject line but I
> manually delete the References: and In-Reply-To: headers. Couple of
> key strokes.

<begin $religious_war mode>

What a pain, to have to page through three screens of headers just to
compose a reply. Worse yet, to have to pay attention to all those
headers. I may be less elite because I use pine & vim, but I'm
practical, and it's easy and powerful... all I need.

<end  $religious_war mode>

>> Try telling my parent's generation that "you're doing it wrong" when
>> as far as they know it's been working just fine all this time...
> Yarn time:

Fun yarns. Not sure what the point was, except to contrast with your
"modern times" description...

> Am I old enough to be of your parents' generation?

Perhaps... my grandparents were born turn of last century, or a bit after.

> The present generation --
> late 20th c. -- has been the target of highly developed marketing,
> media mindf**k, intentional ambiguation and obfuscation and a gradual
> slide toward feel-good education. Something that works will be
> replaced next week, or at least next year, by a cool, trendy,
> mass-marketed and different thing.  You will be told that it is better
> by highly paid epistemological engineers.

Agreed, but it is also highly individualistic and selfish. Telling
someone to change their email habits when their method "works just
fine" is like talking to a wall. They will only change if those highly
paid people you speak of tell them change in a way that makes it sound
like a win for them, rather than for everyone else in the world.

> So MMT is bad?  Yeah, yeah, okay.  Why is it bad?  Their eyes
> glaze over at the mere mention of methyl cyclo-pentaidieneyl manganese
> tricarbonyl.

Never heard of it. (the name or the acronym).

All I wanted to say was this:
- people routinely start new messages by replying to old ones
- the software is here to serve people
- therefore, it is the software that is wrong, not the people

Now, there are some areas in which it is impossible to "just change
the software". Obviously no simple change can make the problem of a 25
MB attachment sent out by the front office to 500 people just
"disappear", so instead we have to lobby people to change what they're
doing by instead putting the file on a web page and sending out a URL.
But in the threading case, it's clearly possible to create a highly
successful threading system based on both the References and the
Subject, and that's what Google is doing. RFC 822 is 25 years old. It
- dated and possibly obsolete
- a request for comment. My comment is: we need a new system

Whether that new system is to ignore the RFC and proceed like Gmail
does, or write a new RFC so that email clients give more control to
the user (instead of less), I don't know. I feel that at least I am
throwing out ideas and generating discussion, while most of the
replies have been getting are of the tone that I should not be
questioning the authority of the RFCs. This disturbs me.


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