Re: Message Threads

From: Martin Duerst <>
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2004 11:19:10 +0900
Message-Id: <>

Implementing such changes in hypermail would probably not be too difficult, although scanning the body for message-ids could reduce performance.

The real problem with this proposal is to get users to include message-ids. My guess is that it just won't be possible to force users to not forget to do that.

The In-Reply-To header is already included in the URI behind the 'Respond' link on the html version of the page, at least in the setup for W3C lists ( The question may be whether this header is included by the mail software then the user clicks on that link. The answer may differ for different mailers.

Regards, Martin.

At 16:06 04/07/16 -0700, Mark Moore wrote:
>Please consider adding the ability to specify the message being replied to
>more directly by the user.
>The way Hypermail stitches together a thread is nice, but in practice, it's
>fraught with errors. Random sampling five Hypermail lists shows many cases
>of obviously incomplete threads.
>I believe a primary cause for this is that the mechanism relies (typically
>exclusively) on the In-Reply-To: header and the text of the subject line.
>Unfortunately, A) most users are unaware of email headers, B) the headers
>are inconvenient to access, and C) most email packages don't provide any
>ability to control the headers of outgoing messages.
>This leaves the user throwing away the subject line to "attempt" to attach a
>reply to the right thread if they don't have a copy of the original email.
>In case it's not obvious, this is the default case when a user wants to
>contribute a response to a mailing list they monitor through its archive
>(they don't subscribe), or when a user wants to reply to a thread that
>occurred before they subscribed.
>A simple solution would be for the user to include a copy of the
>In-Reply-To: header in the body of the reply (e.g. on a line by itself, or
>on the first line).
>Another solution might be to allow the user to specify the message ID in the
>subject. Although this could lead to ambiguous parsing since the subject is
>unstructured, with the minor exception of "Re:" and "Fwd:". In reality,
>this may not be a problem since message ID's are unique and fairly arcane.
>In addition, if no corresponding message matches the given ID, the worse
>that will happen is what currently does: a new thread would be started.
>With this enhancement, Hypermail mailing lists will be more accurate.
>Better yet, respondents can then use the subject line to summarize their
>reply instead of repeating the subject of the original post.
>Please CC me with any responses since I am not a subscriber to the hypermail
>mailing list.
>Thanks in advance.
>Mark Moore
Received on Sat 17 Jul 2004 09:37:30 AM GMT

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