Forum OpenACS Q&A: Where is Philip?

13: Where is Philip? (response to 1)
Posted by Jerry Asher on
I believe identifying posters is trivial, threading is simple, creating new topics is hard, and getting rid of quoted nonsense and signatures is downright difficult.

Posters are identified with their email address which is typically the same as their ACS user identifier. Threading is relatively easy by encoding the thread ID into the reply-to field.

What I think is significantly more difficult is to create a simple way to create new threads. What I fear is:

One, instead of having (relatively( nice, clean threads as we have now, sites will have threads that meander, get off topic, chase two or more topics at a time, etc., as users just hit reply and begin their new topic (as I tried to emulate by changing the subject of this posting.) (And I suspect the answer is in SF since he's supposed to be in Burlingame tomorrow morning.)

Two, how does one best handle replies? Distribution lists angle brackets, right?

> One concern I'd have is the degree to which we can capture bboard web
> input from an incoming email. Can an
> email provide an adequate interface to let users indicate whether they
> are replying to a post or its parent?

>> And what about identifying posters? One of the great things about
>> bboard is that it links all your posts to your profile. We'd want
>>> incoming emails to be reliably recognized by bboard as coming from a
>>> specific registered user. In ACES, at least, making this work required
> some thought. Basically, (as I understand it), the ACS generated a
> unique "reply-to" email address for each user receiving an email alert
> for each post. The system could reliably identify the users because
> only one user could possibly be replying to a given email
> address. Will it be possible to make something like this work with a
> third-party listserver?
Well you get the idea.

Some of this can be attacked by user education much the same way that (as jim Zamboob as been recently educated), a bit of moderation, and the creation of easy ways of doing the *right* thing.

Some can be attacked by semi-intelligent software that knows how to remove signatures, and remove quoted portions.

But I bet such a system will need some tuning. If achievable, I think it would be valuable.