Changing the subject.
Sat, 07 Jun 2008 16:12:23 PDT
On 7 Jun 08, at 10:31, James Waddick wrote:

>  We may be beating the proverbial D. H.

Not really.
>  But all this confusion might be cleared by the addition of one
> word. : "NOW" I just sent a note to PB labelled "WAS xyz; NOW  
> abc'. 
>  Still using two species names might raise eyebrows such as 
> "Was Allium A, Now Allium B" and the reader might still think this was
> a species name change, not just a subject change.

Unfortunately, that flies in the face of long-established convention. 
It is better in these matters to accept that the ancients knew what 
they were doing, and even if the practices and conventions they 
settled on after great travail are not as widely known as they should 
be, let's adhere to them.


Original message:

Subject: Blah blah blah

First reply:

Subject: Re: Blah blah blah

Second reply to original message:

Subject: Eeek eeek eeek, was Blah blah blah

Reply to first reply

Subject: Meow meow meow, was Re: Blah blah blah.

Note the use of commas.

Also, for those who mistakenly interpreted the subject line as a 
declarative statement, please don't. Unless a subject line has a verb 
in it, it's not declarative.

If you want your subject to make a statement, as opposing to simply 
naming the subject of the message, write, for example:

Subject: Ornithogalum dubium is the same as Notholirion thompsonianum.

To which a reply might be

Subject: No it ain't, was Ornithogalum same as Notholirion 

But it's probably better to restrict your statements to the body of 
the message; otherwise we'll jointly and severally chase ourselves up 
a tree labelled "utter confusion."

I'm not entirely sure, but I think there are RFC's (internet 
standards) that prescribe these things.

For the benefit of those not overly familiar with mailing lists, a 
reminder that an accurate Subject: line is important. Many of us 
receive a great many emails from many sources, and simply scan down a 
list of subject lines to select the messages we will read. If one of 
them is vague, or confusing, or ambiguous, or too cute for words, we 
simply skip over it.

Be especially careful that you don't accidentally write a subject 
line that looks like it's spam.

Moral: keep your subject lines short, to the point, and accurate if 
you want everyone to read what you have written.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

More information about the pbs mailing list