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st: Re: how to reply on Statalist
On Nov 25, 2008, at 2:23 PM, Polis, Chelsea B. wrote:
Thanks very much for this response, Nick. I'm not sure if you are
saying that the paragraph below is the entirety of what you plan to
add to the FAQ, but I'm not sure that it fully answers my particular
question, which is: What is the best way for a digest subscriber to
respond to a response within an already existing thread? Is it
enough to simply copy the title of the post you wish to respond to,
put "RE:" in front of it, and send a new email to email@example.com
When I tried this above, it appears to have generated "<Possible
follow-ups>" above my response, which seems atypical. Does this
have to do with the fact that I didn't copy any of the text in the
message body into the body of my response, or something else? I've
tried the same method again with this post (putting "RE:" in front
of the title of the post I wish to respond to), but I've also copied
the body of your post to see if that changes anything.
To answer your question directly, there is no good way to respond to
individual messages if you are subscribed in digest mode. I'm not
trying to be glib here, but threading is based mainly on special
headers that your email client (should) add when you hit "Reply" to a
message (in particular, the "In-Reply-To" and "References" headers).
Secondarily, some clients (and archivers) will attempt to fall back on
the Subject header when these other headers are unavailable, but that
is always a hack (at best), and can cause unwanted side effects.
Personally, my feeling is that if people want to participate in the
conversation, they should subscribe in the regular manner (and should
follow good practice when replying to and/or starting new threads). I
don't believe this should be a "rule", and I don't get upset when
people don't follow this -- I'm just much less likely to read their
If you are trying to respond to a message and don't have the original
(e.g., if you are subscribed in digest mode or if you deleted the
original from your client), your best option is to start a fresh
message (i.e., don't use the reply function) and to copy the subject
header exactly as it appears in another reply to the original post.
At best, your message will get lumped together with the thread in
people's mailers (though probably at the end), but that's no
guarantee. I have no idea how the online archiver hosted by StataCorp
will handle this.
P.S. Threading has nothing to do with the body of the message.
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