W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org > January 2006

[pub-sw-lifesci] [sic] Re: Lack of prefix in public-semweb-lifesci Subject line makes it difficult to recognize origin

From: Bob Futrelle <bob.futrelle@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 09:13:38 -0500
Message-ID: <71d02ff70601310613k16a4d223i2cbb0956e0af62a0@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Simon J. Hernandez" <simon@w3.org>
Cc: hclsig-pub <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>

I would still like to see some workarounds for the ten year interval
between now and when vendors respond to:

"If your mail client software does not provide these features, please
file a bug report with your software vendor."

I'm not sure how much luck the Internet Society will have persuading
Microsoft, Google, Eudora, Yahoo, and the unix Pine and Elm authors to
become the ideal citizens that they and the W3C would like them to be.
Not to mention, educating the users of the clients to understand how
to deal with the List-Id.  There are zillions of email users out
there, who simply want to see right in front of them, the information
that describes what they're reading, rather than asking them to step
up a level in their clients and their understanding of their client's
settings and operations.  How about email to cell phones and PDAs? 
The list of problems goes on and on.

In the meantime, I personally will continue to manage my own various
GNU Mailman lists that have a built-in ability to include a prefix
automatically.  And I will continue to add prefixes to my mail,
[pub-sw-lifesci] , unless the W3C feels it's an egregious violation of
the spirit of the RFC.

I find that it's particularly important to have a meaningful prefix
for a person who receives their *first* mail from a particular list,
which they might not otherwise recognize.

The RFC is asking a lot of the vendors, and that was 5 years ago now
(!). RFC documents don't solve problems, they just set standards that
they *hope* will come about.  I think the US, for example, has
officially adopted the metric system, the whole nine yards.  The
practice hasn't caught up yet.

How many more years do we have to wait for Email Utopia?

 - Bob Futrelle

On 1/31/06, Simon J. Hernandez <simon@w3.org> wrote:
> Hi Bob.
> On Sat, 28 Jan 2006, Bob Futrelle wrote:
> > This note is for Simon J. Hernandez who handles mailing lists at W3C,
> > among many other things.
> >
> > 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.
> Interestingly, our discussion has been focused on how to get vendors to
> fix their brokenness and use existent RFCs.
> 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.
> ...
> As discussed in the above noted document, there is a standard,
> RFC-documented method to accomplish the same thing.
> We are always open to discussing systems issues, and we try to come to
> some mutually agreed upon solution to address most problems.  In this
> instance, your request prodded us to focus and and document our dirrection
> on this topic.
> 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.
> Cheers.
> Simon
> 1.  http://www.w3.org/Mail/subject-tagging
> --
> Simon J. Hernandez    |    http://people.w3.org/simon/

Robert P. Futrelle
    Associate Professor
Biological Knowledge Laboratory
College of Computer and Information Science
Northeastern University MS WVH202
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115

Office: (617)-373-4239
Fax:    (617)-373-5121
Received on Tuesday, 31 January 2006 14:13:54 UTC

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