[ic] Mailing List vs. Message Board

Doug Alcorn doug at lathi.net
Fri Nov 5 11:11:33 EST 2004

Gary Norton <gnorton at broadgap.com> writes:

> Perhaps I am missing something I could be doing. How do you best view 
> the thread of a message  from a mail list? The threading capabilities of 
> Thunderbird still miss categorize messages in a thread, and the thread 
> view link from the Mailing List archives is not very accurate either.

This definitely sounds like a mail client issue.  I know other clients
are also bad at handling mail message threading.  For instance, Mac's
Mail.app is lousy at it.  I suspect Outlook in its various
incarnations are also bad.  I've never used Thunderbird's mail.  My
wife uses good old Mozilla mail, but doesn't really follow anything
with threads.

The flip side is that "good" mail clients handle threading well.  The
two best mail clients I know of is mutt and Gnus in Emacs.  I know
there are other good ones as well and don't really want to start
anything.   The point is that there are clients that properly handle
threading.  Many people find the way gmail handles threading to be

One caveot is that (particularly) on this list people tend to "hijack
threads".  The main avenue for identifying threads is the "References"
mail header.  Hijacking is When someone does a reply or a follow up to
an existing thread and then changes the subject.  What this is does is
maintain the list of references.  So, proper mail clients that thread
based on the References see this new subject inside the existing
thread.  That's why I suspect Outlook does nothing to display
threading based on references because outlook users seem to be the
worst at hijacking threads.

>>>This is the only site that continues to use mailing lists.
>>Uhm, quite the opposite.
> I realize there are other mailings lists around. Perhaps you missed the 
> context of the comment. The sentence you quoted on was actually part of 
> the paragraph snippet you commented on above. It is the only site I use 
> for my research  that uses mailing lists.

I'll concur with the other poster.  All the projects I work with use
mailing lists.  I tend to avoid web forums.  Having everything in my
mail client (and a good mail client) is much easier than having to
remember to visit a list of web sites one a daily basis to keep up.

Remember, the smart people who answer questions are often involved in
many communities and not just this one.  We want it to be as easy as
possible for them to track what the current problems are and deal with
them.  Web forums make it harder for people to track multiple
communities on a regular basis.
doug at lathi.net

More information about the interchange-users mailing list