Message threading and subject lines — NNTP, e-mail client and archive views
A personal habit: I tend to be very specific in subject lines, especially within topics that are broad or potentially confusing. As discussions progress: things often spin off, up and around in ways that are unpredictable.
Benefits of a focused subject line are demonstrated below.
Benefits of a focused subject line
Consider the screen shots below. For newcomers, for future readers of archives, it's particularly easy to pinpoint one message of greatest interest without
ploughing through, opening, every message in a thread.
Focused subject lines also increase relevancy in Google and other search results.
Benefits of using Nabble
All messages posted through Nabble express an invitation, with hyperlink:
- View this message in context: … (example)
— presenting the message in context, so the reader need never be lost:
- the thread is a single click away
Screen shots of a thread with thirteen messages and five subjects
A Nabble view
A MarkMail? view
A Gmane view
An OSAF archive view
A Mailman view
NNTP: an MT-NewsWatcher view
I prefer brief subject lines, but sometimes a long line is helpful.
The topic above begins with a very long and broad-ranging subject line (4th January), nears conclusion with something much shorter (10th January).
A change of subject line should never break a thread. The screen shots above prove a multi-message multi-subject thread unbroken in six different situations
Occasionally, mail or NNTP software will have difficulty presenting a threaded view of a thread. If you find yourself in this situation:
- contact your software developers, they should be willing to make any necessary improvement
- if you like, send me an e-mail … but allow me a few days, or weeks, I rarely respond immediately! Ahead of what I enjoy: there's always a backlog, and a Grand Canyon overflowing with junk mail. Still, subject to free time, I'm usually happy to help test and troubleshoot.
Google Mail (Gmail) Beta
Broken conversations/threads are a problem for users of the web interface to Google Mail (Gmail) Beta
- 11 Jan 2009