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moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

 

In case this is of any interest, the two members whose posts 100% of the time start a new thread are using yahoo email addresses.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. Especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

 

Brian,

Which is one of the reasons I'd love to have the introduction of some
sort of "Do you really mean to start an entirely new topic, or is
this actually a reply to . . .?" mechanism that the user must respond
to.
I've used a couple of suggestion boards with a really nice approach to this issue. They did dynamic matching as you typed your subject line, and provided a list of potential matches as a list below the type-in box. Very much similar to how most auto-completion or search-suggestion fields work: if you see what you want in the list below you can select it instead of starting anew.

Alas, for this problem we're concerned with third-party email interfaces; but that idea could still be nice for those who use the Groups.io interface.

Shal
https://groups.io/g/Group_Help
https://groups.io/g/GroupManagersForum


moderated Re: Signatures for Web Posting suddenly not working on multiple groups

 

I find many (but not all) messages I receive from this group have no group
footers. This one from you is an example. In some cases, such as all recent
ones from Brian, the sender's personal footers are also missing.

Jim Fisher

On 6 Jan 2017 at 21:14, Mark Fletcher wrote:

J,

On Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 7:37 PM, J_Catlady <j.olivia.catlady@gmail.com>
wrote:

I'd answered that I'm using safari, that the behavior was totally flaky
(disappearing sigs for a few minutes, then suddenly back), etc. - but that all
seemed fine today. And it was, until approximately five minutes ago when my
signature disappeared from a post on my own group and now, in this group, on
this very message.
What do you mean by disappearing sigs? Is this when posting a new topic or
a reply? In the editor, are you seeing the sig and then it disappears?

I have not yet been able to reproduce any of these issues, so any and all
information is appreciated.

Thanks,
Mark
--
http://jimellame.tumblr.com - My thoughts on freedom
http://jimella.wordpress.com - political snippets, especially economic policy
http://jimella.livejournal.com - misc. snippets, some political, some not
Forget Google! I search with https://duckduckgo.com which doesn't spy on you


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

 

On 6 Jan 2017 at 14:07, Brian Vogel wrote:

 It astounds me just how many e-mail clients are out
there and just how many people will cling to clients that have not been
officially supported for a decade or more.

Brian
Why should they not be still in use? An email client is something, as I see it,
to download and install just once, then carry on using indefinitely so long as
it continues to do what I want. I neither know nor care if the one I use is
still "officially supported" or not, because no support is necessary.

Most users neither know nor care about headers other than those standard ones
that are normally displayed. I only rarely bother to look at the more detailed
ones because I don't normally need to know that level of detail, and even then
of course I see the headings on messages received, not on replies I send.

Jim Fisher--
http://jimellame.tumblr.com - My thoughts on freedom
http://jimella.wordpress.com - political snippets, especially economic policy
http://jimella.livejournal.com - misc. snippets, some political, some not
Forget Google! I search with https://duckduckgo.com which doesn't spy on you


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

 

Ronaldo,

So if someone replies and intentionally CHANGES the subjectline, it
still gets placed in the original thread? I'd disagree with that
No, the current mechanism requires that a message with citation also have a Subject field matching the prior message ("AND logic"). The matching algorithm ignores leading Re:, and maybe other common prefixes of that form (other languages?).

This differs from Yahoo Groups, which ignores the subject field if there is citation ("OR logic").

For me it's perfectly normal to announce an event months in advance,
and then send additional details a month or more later. Sometimes, in
the beginning of July, I even request that people postpone certain
discussions to september, because a lot of people go on holidays...
You are (at least here) using Groups.io's user interface to reply - and that does provide citation to the prior message - and such messages are not subject to the time limit. This discussion is primarily about coping with those users who are using a deficient email user interface (which does not cite the original in a reply).

I think you're feeling responsible for some else's faults here, when
you shouldn't.
That's sort-of my feeling about deficient email interfaces.

Paraphrasing your comment:
"If people don't bother to use proper email interfaces, THAT's the
problem. I don't think we should encourage/enable that kind of
behaviour, no matter how common it has become. THEY have to learn to
choose a better interface if they don't want their replies to get
lost as a new, unrelated, thread."

I'm not in favor of warping Groups.io's algorithms too badly just to accommodate this minority. Hence my clarification above.

The difficulty is that deficient email interfaces may be a growing minority instead of a dying one. If so it makes sense to hone Groups.io's algorithms to cope with them as best we can.

I'm not sure what you mean by "remove the Re: restriction"
Groups.io's current work-around for the deficient email interfaces (those that do not provide citation of the prior message) is to look at the Subject field, and if it begins with Re: look for a match of the rest of it to a prior message.

The proposal was to remove the requirement that the incoming message's Subject begin with Re:, and look for a match regardless.

Shal
https://groups.io/g/Group_Help
https://groups.io/g/GroupManagersForum


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

 

None of the above. And it is the identical behavior as occurs with the other member. Both are simply replying via email. They are not internet-savvy. (We had it happen with a former member, who is much more internet savvy. But Mark fixed that one with some tweeks to the algorithm. It was an offlist conversation through support about a year ago and I don't remember the details.)

J

On Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 12:52 PM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

J,

           A serious response to your rant:   Do you have any idea what might be triggering this?   Is it something obvious like the members changing subject lines willy-nilly, removing "Re:", or anything else obvious?

           This kind of multiplication suggests to me that if none of the above are true then we have a problem e-mail client meeting a threading algorithm that is not prepared to deal with the ambiguities it introduces.

Brian



--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. Especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

J,

           A serious response to your rant:   Do you have any idea what might be triggering this?   Is it something obvious like the members changing subject lines willy-nilly, removing "Re:", or anything else obvious?

           This kind of multiplication suggests to me that if none of the above are true then we have a problem e-mail client meeting a threading algorithm that is not prepared to deal with the ambiguities it introduces.

Brian


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

 

This is basically a rant, but I have merged about 15 threads this morning from a second member whose email is evidently not working correctly. He is posting prolifically and the threads are multiplying and multiplying. We now definitely have at least two of these problem members.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. Especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

Duane,

       God love ya!!  Would that more did what you're doing.

       The reason I have given up is a number of folks who are now originating groups have no concept, none, of netiquette because they're not old enough to have participated in web forums, Usenet, and e-mail lists when "netiquette" originated because it was necessary to maintain order and sanity.  I honestly don't think that they value "order and sanity" as I do.

         I'm all about freewheeling discussion of topics, but those discussions should coherently thread as one, and that includes the almost certain side loops and thread drift.  Right now it's all too often like trying to grab random tufts of lint and trying to weave a tapestry out of those - next to impossible.

Brian


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

Duane
 

On Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 12:29 pm, Brian Vogel wrote:


I've thrown my hands up about ever getting what used to be commonly known and
accepted "netiquette" with regard to e-mail lists
I've been tempted, but haven't given up yet. The Guidelines for my groups have links to some "old style" netiquette pages. Folks that don't follow them get put back on moderation (after NuM expires) until they follow them. The first 2 or 3 posts are returned with a reminder. After that they get deleted, never to be seen.

Duane


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

On Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 12:13 pm, Shal Farley wrote:
they provided no time limit for the Subject match, so it is not that uncommon to have a new topic (not created nor intended as a reply) resurrect a thread from years past. There's also no means to split a thread.

Which is one of the reasons I'd love to have the introduction of some sort of "Do you really mean to start an entirely new topic, or is this actually a reply to . . .?" mechanism that the user must respond to.

I know what I've been seeing, again and again, and I don't honestly think that there is a way even that "fuzzy logic" could be applied these days to disambiguate an actual intention to start a new thread when changing the Subject in an e-mail reply rather than using the "correct" way of creating a brand new e-mail message to the group address, with cut and pasted material from an existing thread if one is launching a new thread as a spin-off.

I've thrown my hands up about ever getting what used to be commonly known and accepted "netiquette" with regard to e-mail lists and online forums into common circulation and usage again.  I know when I'm outnumbered by "those young whipper snappers!!" and when any hope for imposing order will likely come from the software, not the user.

Brian


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

 

JohnF,

Here's a possible compromise:

If an incoming message contains the proper lines in its header, it's
added to the thread no matter how old it is.
This is already true, with the requirement that the Subject line must match also. Were you intending to remove that requirement?

The rest seems to differ only in having different time limits for Subject fields with and without a leading Re:

Optionally, if the message was created as a new thread in the
Groups.io web interface, then it's a new thread, even if the title
matches a recent existing thread. I'm not sure if that's a good idea
or not, ...
I think it is a good idea.

Yahoo Groups failed at this because they didn't add anything to the message to mark it as having been specifically created as a new topic. Messages created on site were subsequently handled as ordinary email traffic, meaning that that these site-originated messages were subject to the same Subject matching as those originated via email.

Shal
https://groups.io/g/Group_Help
https://groups.io/g/GroupManagersForum


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

 

Brian,

So far as I'm concerned I'd almost be willing to go for "over
threading" in that if someone is making a direct response with
"reply" and the message has the headers to thread, that I don't give
a flying rat's patootie what the user might have elected to reset the
subject to.
That is true on Yahoo Groups, where the threading logic is the OR of having a citation header field or a matching Subject field. Alas, they provided no time limit for the Subject match, so it is not that uncommon to have a new topic (not created nor intended as a reply) resurrect a thread from years past. There's also no means to split a thread.

It is a little unfortunate that the RFC does not supply a way to affirmatively state that a given message is NOT a reply. It could have been as simple as the assertion that an In-Reply-To field with null value signifies a new topic. Oh well.

Shal
https://groups.io/g/Group_Help
https://groups.io/g/GroupManagersForum


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

ro-esp
 

On Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 09:48 am, Mark Fletcher wrote:


I've traced things and figured out what happened. The system worked as
designed, but perhaps the algorithm needs a tweak. We do threading two
ways. One is by looking for the threading headers in the message
(In-Reply-To and References), and use those to figure out which thread a
message belongs to. These are standard headers that all mail clients should
use, but alas some don't.
So if someone replies and intentionally CHANGES the subjectline, it still gets placed in the original thread?
I'd disagree with that


If a message does not have those headers, we then look for a message with
the same subject within the last week. If there is one, we assume this is a
reply to that message and thread it.
Just one week? Yeah, someone giving a workshop about intercultural communication told me you americans are focused on the short term...
For me it's perfectly normal to announce an event months in advance, and then send additional details a month or more later. Sometimes, in the beginning of July, I even request that people postpone certain discussions to september, because a lot of people go on holidays...


Now, here's the rub. We only look for matching subjects when the incoming
message subject starts with 'Re:'. Because we don't want to accidentally
thread messages that should be in different threads.
I think you're feeling responsible for some else's faults here, when you shouldn't. If people don't bother to use proper subjectlines or start a new thread, THAT's the problem. I don't think we should encourage/enable that kind of behaviour, no matter how common it has become. THEY have to learn to add a new subject if they don't want their message to get buried in an unrelated thread.


In your thread's case,
one message came through without threading headers and without a subject
that started with 'Re:', which caused a new thread to start.
So, should we remove the 'Re:' restriction?
I'm not sure what you mean by "remove the Re: restriction"

I could make the argument that the person that sent the reply message, without any threading headers and
with a subject line that did not start with 'Re:' needs to upgrade his email client, because that's severely broken behavior.
Why are you blaming the software? I think it's more likely that the user removed the "Re:" from the subjectline, or that there was an equivalent of that abbreviation in another language instead. [never mind that last bit. I see you already answered it "microsoft, sigh"]


groetjes, Ronaldo


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

John,

         If someone elects to use "New Topic" in the web interface I have to believe that they are doing so by intention, even if they stupidly choose the same topic title as a very recent existing one.  When that happens, if the offering is clearly an addition to the existing topic, the moderator should merge it in and send a friendly reminder that one never uses "New Topic" to add a reply to an existing thread.

         The trying to get around locking is a moderation issue as well, and those who do that get one stern warning and if they do not cease and desist in ever doing so again they should be banned, period.  There has to be latitude for "one mistake" but that's all.

         I'll add to my own "bounce it back and ask" note in my last message that part of that message should also be a friendly reminder that if the intention was not to start an actual new topic that the user should refrain from changing the "Subject:" on a message in any way when a reply to a topic that is to be a part of that topic is being made.

Brian


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

On Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 10:01 am, JohnF wrote:
If an incoming message contains the proper lines in its header, it's added to the thread no matter how old it is.

If it starts with "Re:" with no header lines, and there is a matching thread with activity in past month (or 30 days if that's easier), consider it part of that thread.

If it does not start with "Re:", has no header lines, and there is a matching thread with activity in the past two or three days, consider it part of that thread.

Otherwise, create a new thread.

John,

             I think your first statement is now true and will remain true.  'Twas ever thus.

             The rest makes perfect sense to me, though I'd change the "two or three" to "five to seven."

             Using your above described algorithm would solve the vast majority of problems.  The only thing I might add is that if something comes in with a new subject, but contains headers that would automatically thread, that one of two things happens:

              1.  The headers take precedence.

              2.  The message is somehow "bounced back" to the originator asking whether a new thread should be triggered or if the message should be added to the ongoing topic, preferably noting the title of that ongoing topic.  It seems to me that there is a huge amount of accidental thread splitting on certain groups because users don't understand that changing anything in the "Subject:" line of a reply e-mail triggers a separate topic/thread.  They seem to think that changing the "Subject:" on a reply is just like adding the next message in the message body, when it isn't.

Brian


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

 

Here's a possible compromise:

If an incoming message contains the proper lines in its header, it's added to the thread no matter how old it is.

If it starts with "Re:" with no header lines, and there is a matching thread with activity in past month (or 30 days if that's easier), consider it part of that thread.

If it does not start with "Re:", has no header lines, and there is a matching thread with activity in the past two or three days, consider it part of that thread.

Otherwise, create a new thread.

Optionally, if the message was created as a new thread in the Groups.io web interface, then it's a new thread, even if the title matches a recent existing thread. I'm not sure if that's a good idea or not, but it means someone went out of their way to start one rather than just hit Reply to the existing one. The biggest argument against it would be preventing someone from getting around a locked/moderated thread by starting a new one, but that could be accomplished anyway by changing the subject line.

JohnF


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

On Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 01:48 am, Nightowl >8# wrote:
Yes, in my opinion, because many users, including me, have busier lives than others, and can't always keep up daily. And if it's a holiday month, or someone goes on vacation or something, it's even more likely.

And those are only an issue when the user's e-mail program isn't including the necessary header information to thread correctly.  I could add to a year old thread, and have, and if things are working as they should the threading will be preserved.

We're discussing how to handle exception cases where either an e-mail program doesn't supply the necessary headers, a user removes an "Re:" in a subject, and the like.

And, while I understand entirely that some have far busier lives than others, that doesn't mean that it should be, or would be, the norm that one should think they can drop in months later and just pick up on something that was long settled.  "You snooze, you lose" does apply particularly on forums such as beta when issues such as this one are being discussed.  Whatever the outcome happens to be, it would be ridiculous for someone to think they could just drop in to this thread long after it's over and believe that everything should be reopened because they missed it when it was a current topic.  It doesn't, and shouldn't, work that way.

Brian


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

 

On Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 08:42 am, Brian Vogel wrote:
I'd almost be willing to go for "over threading"

So would I.

The cases in my group of "under-threading" also usually occur very quickly. The posting frequency has usually been on the order of minutes or hours, not days or weeks. That said, the same particular person whose posts always split threads tends to post a lot in the beginning of the thread, and then tapers down to days or weeks later as the cat gets better (this is typical). So I would want to preserve threads for at least a couple of weeks.

There is at least the one poster now whose responses create problems, but there used to be more. I recall when there were three or four of them, and I recall Mark working on them offlist via support and fixing them one by one. We now have possibly just this one straggler. I have not figured out what she's doing differently from everyone else. 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. Especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Re: How on earth does Groups.io thread a topic?

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

On Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 09:18 pm, J_Catlady wrote:
No, but maybe 2 or 3 weeks. Can we have at least 2 weeks?

I could live with that.  That being said, Shal has clarified that the time limits apply only in the case of an incoming e-mail message that does not have the necessary header information to preserve threading.

Virtually none of the problems I'm encountering are with what I'll call "languid threads" where responses are coming in slowly over the course of days or weeks, but are occurring on the same day.  The worst one I've seen was what was clearly a single thread being split into four separate ones.

So far as I'm concerned I'd almost be willing to go for "over threading" in that if someone is making a direct response with "reply" and the message has the headers to thread, that I don't give a flying rat's patootie what the user might have elected to reset the subject to.   I have seen far too many users willing to change the "Subject:" not because the actual subject/topic has changed, but because they seem to think that the "Subject:" field is a direct extension of the message field.  Tons of threads get split because some user decided to append something like ";-)" or "- Good for You" or similar on an existing "Subject:" rather than leaving the thing alone like anyone who's ever used an e-mail group for more than 5 days should know that you must if you don't want to break a thread.

I am as frustrated by the fact that simple netiquette does not seem to be conveyed (usually by some "stern enforcement" at the outset for newbies) anymore.  I regret that, with the last paragraph I find myself doing something I personally despise: suggesting that software be changed to work around "idiot users" rather than making them get with the program as it's existed for decades.

Brian

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