Changing the subject

Patton Echols p.echols at
Sun Feb 28 19:14:07 UTC 2010

On 02/28/2010 12:50 AM, Amedee Van Gasse wrote:
> On 28-02-10 01:38, Patton Echols wrote:
>> On 02/27/2010 04:15 PM, Amedee Van Gasse wrote:
>>> On 27-02-10 22:05, Christian Schult wrote:
>>>> That's not subject changing (in a thread), that's simply starting a _new_ thread.
>>>> If you start a new thread, there's no need to capture any old subject.
>>> If you change the subject in a thread, is it still part of the thread? I
>>> mean, apart from whatever any header says and how it is interpreted by
>>> whatever mail client.
>>> Because, if it is still part of the thread, you aren't really talking
>>> about something else, so why bother to change the subject header because
>>> you're not changing the subject at all.
>> In long threads sometimes they "fork" as the conversation goes in two
>> directions.  It is actually the same thread, but the subject change
>> makes clear which part you are talking about.  We also sometimes see a
>> poorly chosen initial subject (eg. "Re: Ubuntu help").  A reply is part
>> of the thread, but a new subject gives an idea of what the discussion
>> really is.
> I think we have a language problem here.
> "subject" = email header Subject: ...
> "subject" = describes what the conversation is about
> Sorry, I'm not a native speaker. I find this confusing.

I think you are correct, and I am a native speaker.  "subject" and 
"Subject:" should be the same thing.  

What I was trying to say is that a thread will be started with a subject 
like "Help with Foo"  As the thread goes along, one branch of the thread 
ends up being about  how to configure "foo" and another branch ends up 
being about whether that is the correct tool.  I believe it may make 
sense in those cases to change the "Subject:" to "Configuring Foo" on 
the one branch and "Alternatives to Foo" on the other branch. 

While taking that approach may be valid, I think those times should be 
rare.  Generally I agree with you that if it is important enough to 
change the "Subject:" line, then it should be a new thread

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