Re: Observation of Reply Behaviour of Some List Members


On Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 04:22 AM, Tyler Wood wrote:
Why mail clients are still, in 2019 not honoring the threaded view and starting an entire new one is beyond me - is there anything specific that would cause such a thing?
Yes, it depends entirely on what a given e-mail client uses to build threads.  Most use a combination of actual subject along with any one of several other e-mail header fields that most of us don't ever see because we don't display e-mail headers in full.

One big problem that occurs far more frequently on some of the blind technology related lists is that subjects accidentally get changed, causing a topic split when none was intended.  All it takes is adding a space or deleting one in a Subject: field and, bang, new topic.  When I actually see this occurring on the archive I immediately merge the "stray" back into the original and just pray that whoever follows up might not follow-up directly to the stray.  We also see this happen when folks use e-mail classification programs that intentionally alter the Subject: field by adding text to it, e.g., [spam] or something similar.

Most threading algorithms these days pay a lot of attention to the content of Subject:.  It has, in fact, become common to make that the primary determinant in deciding, "What is a thread/conversation?"    It's presumed that if someone is deliberately altering the Subject: field in an ongoing topic it's because they're intentionally trying to spin-off a different topic.   So the best thing one can do to avoid accidental topic/thread/conversation splits is to leave the Subject: field unchanged.  The second thing is to avoid using just altering the subject as a "new thread creation" technique.  Starting a new topic via the posting address absolutely guarantees that a new thread/conversation/topic is going to be created even if it were to have exactly the same title as an existing one (which, I'd have to believe everyone knows, is a very bad idea).

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 1809, Build 17763  

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

           ~ Edward Abbey



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