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    Re: Starting new threads
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2009 Jun 30, 22:06 -0700

    Gary, you wrote:
    "Might I suggest if you wish to reply to a post that takes you  into a 
    different territory, that you start a new topic, cut and paste the relevant 
    portion of the post you want to reply to with a reference as to where the cut 
    came from, and then complete your post. This will also make searches of the 
    archive easier as one can then just read the list of topics rather than 
    searching inside each posting for relevant information."
    
    I agree. [wearing my NavList manager hat for a moment]
    
    In general, this is a good idea. Could I ask everyone to make an effort to 
    follow these guidelines on subject lines in posts:
    1) Feel free to change the subject as often as you deem appropriate. Make the 
    subject line useful, succinct, and directly descriptive of the content [also 
    see (5) below].
    2) Please avoid all upper-case subject lines. 
    3) Try to avoid starting a new thread by replying to an old one. If you want 
    to start a genuinely new topic, use that function at fer3.com/arc or send a 
    fresh email to the posting address NavList[-at-]googlegroups.com.
    4) Since most NavList messages sent by email and posted online include 
    threading reference info, it is not necessary to include a "was" tag in the 
    subject line. So if you're replying to, e.g., a message with subject "Re: 
    Plath sextants" and you've decided to start talking about SNO-T sextants, 
    change the subject to "SNO-T sextants" rather than "SNO-T sextants; was Re: 
    Plath sextants". ["was" tags were useful a few years back but less so now]
    5) Try to include some general word in the subject that helps people decide 
    whether this post is relevant to them. For example, some people are 
    interested in lunars; some couldn't care less. So if you have a post that's 
    mostly about lunars, try to include that word or some equivalent in the 
    subject line. For example, I am composing a post about some old tables known 
    as "The Slaver Tables". When I post on them, the subject will be "Lunars: the 
    Slaver Tables". That way those people who prefer to skip over lunarian trivia 
    will be able to do so. 
    6) Don't change subjects just to annoy another NavList member. Use normal 
    etiquette in deciding whether it's appropriate for you to close out someone 
    else's chosen topic description.
    7) If an off-topic side-thread develops, please do change the subject and also 
    consider adding "OT" or "(off-topic)" or something equivalent in the new 
    subject line so that other members know that the thread has drifted. By the 
    way, in general, if you're one step removed from the main topic of NavList, 
    it's probably fine (most readers won't mind), but if an off-topic thread 
    itself drifts into another topic, now two steps removed, then please take it 
    off-list.
    
    NOTE: these are guidelines which should help to keep the subjects a little 
    more sensible. They're not rules. If you don't want to follow these 
    guidelines, you don't have to.
    
    Next, for Gary specifically, I have a few thoughts regarding this general 
    business of subject lines versus replies:
    1) Partly some of the recent cross-thread posting resulted from a blanket post 
    by Douglas Denny re-capping his contributions on Bygrave issues, Sun 
    brightness, and star-star sights. He's new here so I assume he will not do 
    this on a regular basis. Douglas, please reply to separate topics in separate 
    posts in the appropriate thread.
    2) You are seeing more of this threading confusion, Gary, because (I believe) 
    you follow the threads using the google message boards. As I have said, there 
    are a number of problems with those boards so I recommend them only as a 
    secondary resource. ONE of the problems is that those boards respect 
    "threading by reference" before "threading by subject". This is a specific 
    choice made in their software. It's not how most of us would do it. Most of 
    us assume that if we change the subject, the topic is moved to a new thread. 
    In fact, it would be best to have both options. May I ask you, Gary, and any 
    others who have this preference, why you prefer posting/reading via the 
    google-based message boards rather than the message boards at fer3.com/arc? 
    Is there some feature or functionality there that I could add that would make 
    fer3.com/arc more useful to you? I have no ability or tools to modify the 
    behavior of the google-based boards but of course I can do anything we want, 
    within reason, to the boards at fer3.com/arc.
    3) Within the next couple of days, I'm going to add a "de-thread" option for 
    replies made from fer3.com/arc. That should let users there make a more 
    appropriate choice.
    4) Be aware that people who follow NavList by email usually experience none of 
    these threading and subject-changing issues that you're talking about, and 
    they will be scratching their heads over this whole discussion. Some email 
    programs can be adjusted to display topics in threads based on the standard 
    "subject" header and/or based on "references" and "in-reply-to" headers in 
    the email, but most just display them in order received.
    
    -FER
    
    
    
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