Proposal: WIT over USENET or Mail

Daniel W. Connolly (
Thu, 09 Jun 1994 12:58:13 -0500

Message-Id: <>
To: Dave Raggett -- HTML+ Spec Editor <>,
Subject: Proposal: WIT over USENET or Mail
Date: Thu, 09 Jun 1994 12:58:13 -0500
From: "Daniel W. Connolly" <>

I have an urgent need for the kind of services provided by the WIT
system (see,
but I believe that we should deploy this application on top of
existing collaborative applications: USENET news and Internet Mail.

For the purpose of the HTML 2.0 review, I suggest we use the www-html
list and a hypermail archive (I got wind that one is in the works).

	*** To the www-html maintainers: can the list processor
	be changed to stop repeating headers? Especially MIME
	related headers. In the future, I'd like to be able to
	process an archive of html documents sent to www-html,
	but witht the current list set-up, they get munged.
	This is better than when they got deleted, but... ***

Alternatively, if somebody wants to set up a special list just
for the HTML 2.0 discussion (with a hypermail archive, of course)
I'd be happy to use that in stead.

I would like to be able to create WIT-style views of the archive of
this discussion, so we should adopt some convention for expressing the
topic/proposal/argument structure in RFC822 headers. See below for

Why not just use WIT over HTTP? WIT over HTTP has no privisions for
scalability. Even under the current load, it is unresponsive and

Here are the features I think we need, and how they map to
the HTTP, internet-mail, and USENET mechanisms:

Feature		HTTP			Mail		News

Subscribe	POST (authenticated	subscription	edit .newsrc
		transaction with	request
		the server)		message

Add a topic	POST			start a mailing	create a newsgroup

Add a proposal	POST			send a message	post an article
					to the list	with a novel
					with a novel	Subject:

Change a	???			use Supercedes:	header

Add an argument	POST			use In-Reply-To: and References:
					!need "link type" info!
					[I propose In-Support-Of:,
					In-Opposition-To: headers, or
					perhaps Reply-Disposition: ...]

Include a link	HTML anchors		HTML anchors (use MIME to tag
in the body of				the body as HTML)
a document

Include an	Copy and paste,		traditional USENET excerpt markup
excerpt in the	perhaps with a link	for plain text.
body...		to the original

Sign a message	Secure HTTP		PEM techniques	PEM techniques
		(not widely deployed)

Browse all	GET topics list		!need archive!	!need archive!

Browse all	follow link from	!need archive!	!need archive!
proposals	topics list
on a topic

Browse recent	???			read new mail	NEWNEWS

Browse recent	???			read new mail	NEWNEWS

Browse argument	GET propsal doc		scan headers of scan headers of
summary					relavent*	relevant articles,
					messages	as in threaded
							news readders