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Re: Lack of prefix in public-semweb-lifesci Subject line makes it difficult to recognize origin

From: Simon J. Hernandez <simon@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 08:05:05 -0500 (EST)
To: Dave DeCaprio <daved@broad.mit.edu>
Cc: Bob Futrelle <bob.futrelle@gmail.com>, hclsig-pub <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>, sysreq@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.55.0601310741140.17375@ubzre.j3.bet>

[Please post future responses to the systems aspects of this topic to

Hi Dave.

On Tue, 31 Jan 2006, Dave DeCaprio wrote:

> This sort of approach to problem solving is what causes so many of the
> disconnects between computer science people and biologists and health
> care workers.

I don't sense this issue is appraoch particular to any specific audience.
There are existing guidelines for the processing of mail, as there are for
many types of processes across disciplines.  The issue to be resolved here
was not just applicable to your list, but ultimately, to all lists at W3C.
It would be imprudent to take an approach that did not take into account
community-accepted guidelines, and only considered desired practices.

> I find the choice of the word practical in the email below to be most
> unusual.  'Principled' seems a more apt word to use.

Thanks for pointing out the contrast.  As a list manager, this is not just
a matter of principles, it is a matter of practice, thus practical was
appropriate here.  I sense using 'principled' might have infused a sense
of "our-approach-is-better-than-yours-ness" that was not intended.

> Simon J. Hernandez wrote:
> >
> >On Sat, 28 Jan 2006, Bob Futrelle wrote:


>>Point being that the  points I made below resulted in about 20 emails
>>in the public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org list. Many of the notes discussed
>>changing settings on their email clients to allow them to distinguish
>>mail from public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org from other incoming mail.  But
>>a number did agree that having the list administrator set a prefix for
>>the subject line would work in every single client, since they all
>>show the leading portion of the subject line in their summaries.


> >Our Postmaster, Gerald Oskoboiny, has now documented our position[1] on
> >this matter, which has strong consensus in the W3C Systems Team.
> >
> >
> >>Essentially all the discussion of this issue in this list so far has
> >>focused on the client side.  I think that a number of us would like to
> >>see a solution from the mailing list server side, the list management
> >>side.  A short prefix such as [pub-sw-lifesci] sounds reasonable.  If
> >>such could automatically be added to all outgoing list mail then we
> >>would be able to identify mail from "unknown parties" who turn out to
> >>be people  addressing the list. Personally, in this day and age, I
> >>have to be suspicious of email I get from people I don't know, with
> >>perhaps a subject that doesn't make it clear that it's from this list.
> >> A prefix would also help me make a quick decision as to whether I
> >>want to open the mail now or later as I scan my bulging inbox.
> >
> >....
> >
> >I apologize if this is not the outcome you hoped for, but we feel using
> >the existing RFCs and placing the burden of such functionality on the
> >vendors of mail clients, is the more practical of the possible outcomes.


> >1.  http://www.w3.org/Mail/subject-tagging


Simon J. Hernandez    |    http://people.w3.org/simon/
Received on Tuesday, 31 January 2006 13:34:08 UTC

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