[OS X TeX] "Hijacking" a thread

David Watson dewatson at me.com
Tue Nov 4 10:09:40 CET 2008

On Nov 4, 2008, at 1:04 AM, Christopher Menzel wrote:

> Joseph C. Slater wrote:
>> Seriously. Stop using this thread. Start a new one. Sent an email  
>> to macosx-tex at email.esm.psu.edu to start one. I'll even start it  
>> for you.
> Well, maybe I'm more clueless than most, but I didn't have even an  
> inkling that Joseph Slater's curt message was targeting me until he  
> made an example of me (and also falsely accused me of top-posting --  
> the

For your acknowledgement and thoughtful response, consider yourself  

> ignominy!).  On the off chance that others might be equally  
> clueless, and as penance for my transgressions, let me use my breach  
> of netiquette as a "teaching moment" instead of a mere object of  
> scorn: To "hijack" a thread is to start what you *think* is a new  
> thread by *replying* to a message in an existing thread and changing  
> the Subject header instead of beginning a new message that you  
> explicitly address to the list yourself.  You might think (as I did)  
> that these are two paths to the same end, but the problem is that,  
> when you reply to a message in an existing thread, an identifier is  
> preserved in your message (in the usually hidden "In-Reply-To"  
> header) that points to the replied-to message, and this identifier  
> is used by mail clients capable of subject threading (as most are)  
> to reconstruct threads.  Hence, if you try to start a new thread by  
> replying to a message in an existing thread, even if you supply a  
> new Subject header, you succeed only in super-gluing your completely  
> irrelevant message, and all followups to that message, to the  
> existing thread -- the thread has been hijacked.  Note this also  
> affects the list archives, as the In-Reply-To headers are used to  
> construct threads for the archives as well.
> I hope that's helpful to some folks.
> Chris Menzel

Now let us move on to comment cruft. If people refuse to delete the  
automatically generated comment at the bottom of the message, it tends  
to build up and clog the interweb. Just look at what happened to the  
message I am writing to you.

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