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Re: New Internet Draft: draft-duerst-archived-at-00.txt

From: Graham Klyne <GK-lists@ninebynine.org>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 2004 12:11:07 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: Arnt Gulbrandsen <arnt@gulbrandsen.priv.no>
Cc: www-archive@w3.org

At 19:21 27/10/04 +0200, you wrote:
>Graham Klyne writes:
>>Utility?  That's easy!  The system described by Martin's draft is 
>>extremely useful.  It is implemented by the w3.org mailing list systems, 
>>and in my work using those mailing lists I've made frequent and 
>>much-appreciated use of the feature.
>Describe, please.

The best way to experience this is to use a W3.org mailing list.

Essentially, each message is sent from the mailing list system with an 
added header field like that described in Martin's document (actually: 
X-Archived-At) with a URI that can be clicked to retrieve the archived copy 
of the message in  a browser.  This makes it very easy to find URIs for 
archived copies of messages received in email, and hence makes it very easy 
to insert cross-references in email to ealrier messages.

For example, how often do you see, on an IETF mailing list, in response to 
a question: "we discussed that, go read the archive", or something like 
that.  In W3.org mailing lists, one is far more likely to see as response 
like "we discussed that, see this URI", which is *much* more 
helpful.  Another discussion, when proposals are being offered on a mailing 
list, it is very common to see them consistently referenced by URI in 
W3.org mailing lists, rather than a vague "so and so said this about 3 
months ago".

The practical effect of this is that it is very much easier to review 
discussions and find relevant messages than it is with mailing lists that 
don't encourage this behaviour.  The mailing list archive becomes a 
valuable resource that assists the structured and principled discussion of 
issues around a topic.

In short, it's a simple technical feature that enables very helpful social 
behaviour.  And it works.

It doesn't require anything exotic in the way of MUA support:  as long as 
the MUA displays the header field, or makes its value visible, then the 
requisite information is ready to use:  simply click (or cut-and-paste if 
your MUA doesn't recognize URIs in messages).


BTW, another w3.org feature:  I've cc'd this message to www-archive@w3.org, 
which is an archive-only mailing list, and also to myself.  This is 
implicitly permission to re-use the message in a public forum (as this 
particular archive is publicly accessible), and also provides a way to 
refer to the message without having to retype it if I want to communicate 
the same information to someone else.

Graham Klyne
For email:
Received on Thursday, 28 October 2004 12:47:02 UTC

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