[nSLUG] Please do not use Reply for new topics - Because subject lines should be able to evolve with the conversation.

Joshua B. juggins at gmail.com
Fri Oct 9 20:01:40 ADT 2009


On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 7:10 PM, Daniel Morrison <draker at gmail.com> wrote:
> What is it that bothers you so much? Can you give an example of the
> problem you have?

If you are using subject-based "gmail" threading. This message should
provide just such an example.

> The only thing I've understood from the discussion so far is that:
>
> - with Gmail, if the subject line of reply changes, a new thread is
> started. This is good if a user is mindlessly just 'replying' to a
> message, but starting new topic, and less than optimal if the email is
> sent to a mailing list AND the subject has been updated due to
> conversation drift
>
> - with RFC 2822 compliant threading systems, if the subject line of a
> reply changes, it continues to thread. This is good if the email is
> sent to a mailing list AND the subject has been updated due to
> conversation drift, but bad if a user is just mindlessly just
> 'replying' to a message, but starting a new topic.

My complaint is that gmail has designed a client that encourages this
sort of mindlessness. It is within their power to offer a client that
provides a richer email experience to all users AND enlightens them at
the same time.

However I am not advocating that gmail impose the "enlightened" way on
all users. If header-based threading was an option, people could
choose to view their mailboxes this way and encourage other members of
lists like this one to do the same.  I frequently follow the
discussions on the Tokyo Linux users group where threading is the norm
not the exception. Users who mindlessly mash "reply" in order to start
a new topic are gently chastised (as are top posters). They aren't out
to change the whole internet but they are trying to preserve a
standard of contribution within their own community.

> I believe that if you keep in mind that:
> - email and your inbox is NOT usenet or a forum, so threading is
> better applied to personal messages than group forums, and
> - since it's YOUR mailbox, you have the choice of email client to use,
> to suit your threading style
Certainly I'm constantly making that choice. I could find another
client --- which has proven difficult; I could put up with this lack
of a desirable feature --- which makes me sad; or I can hold out hope
that Gmail developers will "some day get around" to implementing it
--- which they once said they would in an FAQ on  this topic. But I
can't find it any more so I'm probably going to have to accept defeat
and move on.

> I would totally support the addition of an option, to allow users who
> preferred the other style to switch...
 Well thank you!  That is exactly what I asked for. Now please follow
through with this offer of total support and join me in requesting
such an option.



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