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Re: st: RE: Correct Way to Respond to Posts when Email is Turned Off

From   Phil Schumm <>
Subject   Re: st: RE: Correct Way to Respond to Posts when Email is Turned Off
Date   Fri, 29 Jul 2011 15:16:33 -0500

On Jul 29, 2011, at 9:33 AM, Ben Hoen wrote:
> My question was more about the syntax of the reply to a post.  For example do you use:
> "st: RE: <post title>" or "RE: st: RE: <post title>".  The goal here would be to have a response to a particular post inside a thread line up correctly.  

Different email clients (or web-interfaces) handle threading differently, but in general, the most important piece of information is the In-Reply-To header (typically containing the message ID of the message to which you are replying); effectively, this means that there is no substitute for receiving the list in regular (i.e., non-digest) form, and using your mailer's "Reply" function to reply to the specific message under which you want your message to be threaded.

Some mailers will fall back on the Subject header if the In-Reply-To header is missing, or try to use some combination of the two.  *If* implemented properly, crud at the beginning (e.g., "st:", "Re:", etc.) should be irrelevant here.  Thus, using exactly the same subject under which you want your message threaded may succeed in getting your message to thread properly, but there's no guarantee, and the precise behavior may differ depending on which mail client (or archiver) is being used on the other end.

> Similarly, do you scrub the bottom of the email (of, for instance, the post to which you are replying), and only include your reply, OR, do you include the text from the post, below you reply.

I'm not exactly sure what you're describing here, since (unless I'm mistaken) the body of the message shouldn't affect threading (though perhaps some mail clients now take it into account).  I realize that some may feel differently, but since you asked, you should know that in many corners of the web, "top posting" (as you describe) is strongly discouraged.  Instead, the proper way to reply to a message is to quote only as much of the previous message(s) as is necessary (for context), and then reply below the quote.

-- Phil

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