1993-03-03 - Re: META: Support for prefixes

Header Data

From: Tony Kidson <tony@morgan.demon.co.uk>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 79927fe36e0b42c34023044af78ffd1d5be6193a86f3204c6e48fc9e2145c612
Message ID: <3098@morgan.demon.co.uk>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-03 16:09:56 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 3 Mar 93 08:09:56 PST

Raw message

From: Tony Kidson <tony@morgan.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 93 08:09:56 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: META: Support for prefixes
Message-ID: <3098@morgan.demon.co.uk>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

In message <m0nTiSl-0001y6C@rmsdell.ftl.fl.us> you write:
> > is problem: break the current list into topic areas.
> A similar situation occurred a while ago on the Extropians list.  Many
> people were complaining about excess volume, people were
> unsubscribing, and there was talk of splitting the list into many
> sublists.  There are some problems with sublists.  Many people would
> subscribe to all the lists, or many of them.  List management chores
> ((un)subscriptions, bounces, address changes, etc) would increase.
> Many messages would get "cross-posted" to several or all lists, and
> thus would appear many times in everyone's mail box, thus even
> increasing the number of messages to sift through.  There are other
> problems, which I will not mention now.
> I proposed a simple solution which is in use now, and has greatly
> increased the quality of the list, makes it easy for everyone to only
> read the messages they want, and does not require deployment of any
> new software.  The actual volume has not decreased, probably it even
> increased.  But the information flow is so much more manageable.
> The solution is the use of prefixes in Subject: lines.  When you post,
> prefix your Subject: line with a short "tag" such as "ANON:",
> "DCNET:", "PGP:", "DCASH:", or others.  For example, you would see
> subjects like
> PGP: new version available
> ANON: an new idea for anonymous replies
> etcetera.  When reading your mail, just have your mailer sort the mail
> by Subject: line (if your mailer can't do that, get a new mailer), and
> all messages about PGP will come together, all messages about
> anonymous remailers will be in one area, etc.  Then it's easy to
> delete them all without reading, to save them to a file for future
> reference, or to read them if that is a topic you are interested in.
> The beauty of this system is it's anarchistic nature.  There is no
> need for people to maintain an official list of prefixes, or to vote
> on new ones (as is done with newsgroups), or to ask someone to create
> one (as would be necessary for mailing sublists).  There's no need for
> the group as a whole to agree on anything.  Just start using them.
> Try to find a logical prefix for each message that matches its subject
> area.
> Most likely people posting on the same topic will choose same or similar
> prefix.  After some initial fluctuation, different prefixes for the same
> topic will converge to one that will become customary for that topic.
> New prefixes will pop up every once in a while, and the ones not used
> will fade from the group memory.  This is a flexible, dynamic system.
> As a starting point I will make up a prefix for each of the sublists 
> you proposed (if you don't like my prefix, use a different one!):
>    ANON:    anon/pseudo_cpunks   Anoymity/Pseudonymity
>    REMAIL:  remailers_cpunks     Remailer Technology
>    DCNET:   dining_cpunks        DC Nets
>    RANDOM:  random-cpunks        Random Generators
>    DCASH:   digimoney_cpunks     Digital Banking
>    PGP:     pgp_cpunks           PGP App/Current Info 
>    FLAME:-) ziplips_cpunks       Crypto-Censorship
>    WHISTLE: fweee_cpunks         Whistleblowers (The "Keith Peterson Area"?)
>    MEET:    physmtgs_cpunks      Physical Meetings/Conferences  
> Here are some more:  META: discussions on the list about the list
> itself, such as this post, or the post I am replying to which suggested
> splitting the list.  Complaints about high volume, messages saying something
> does or does not belong on the list, etc, would use this prefix.
> ANNOUNCE: important messages that everyone may be interested in.
> FRIV: for jokes, parodies, other frivolous posts.
> If a post fits in more than one subject area, the main prefix should
> be put first, for sorting purposes.  The other prefix(es) would follow,
> separated by slashes.  For example "PGP/ANNOUNCE: new version available"
> or "RANDOM/FRIV: why not just flip coins?".  This is in no way mandatory,
> it's just a convention that developed on Extropians, and it may be
> advantageous to use it, to ease further processing.
> Some other ideas:
> You can use procmail, elm filter, slocal, or any other mail processing
> tool to handle messages with different prefixes.
> For example if you are a very busy person, or are reading your mail
> over a low-speed link, you may want to save all REMAIL/ANNOUNCE
> messages in a "remailers" file, delete all FRIV, META, and FLAME
> messages, and for each other prefix, save the message to an
> appropriate folder for reading later.
> If you were not interested in discussion, but wanted to keep up 
> on what's going on, you would have the filter delete all the messages
> from the mailin list that do not have an ANNOUNCE: prefix.
> Or, if you have enough time and/or are using a high-speed connection,
> you may just sort all the messages by Subject: thereby lumping all the 
> messages on a subject together.  Then you can decide which you are going
> to read first, which ones you want to delete, etc.
> If this idea takes off, and most people will start using prefixes, further
> evolution of the concept is possible.  For example a group of extropians
> are developing some software on the list host machine that will let people
> customise their subscription, for example choosing not to receive messages
> with a certain prefix, not to receive messages that don't have a prefix,
> or choosing to receive only some selected prefixes, plus any new prefixes
> that come to use.
> All this is sometime in the future.  Right now, let's start by just
> prefixing each subject line with an appropriate prefix.
> --
> Yanek Martinson
> yanek@novavax.nova.edu
I fully support this call for prefixes by subject class.

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