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

From   Richard Williams <>
Subject   Re: st: RE: Correct Way to Respond to Posts when Email is Turned Off
Date   Fri, 29 Jul 2011 16:44:59 -0500

At 03:16 PM 7/29/2011, Phil Schumm wrote:
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.

This is also why it is a bad idea to start a new topic by replying to an old message. Even if you zap all the old text and put a new subject in, the In-Reply-To header remains and you wind up getting included with the old thread. (Of course, even worse is when you reply to an old thread and don't delete the old text or change the subject!) If you want to start a new thread, then break down and send a totally new message and do not use reply.

Richard Williams, Notre Dame Dept of Sociology
OFFICE: (574)631-6668, (574)631-6463
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EMAIL:  Richard.A.Williams.5@ND.Edu

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