Rich Freeman on 18 Sep 2016 00:46:30 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Top-posting (was: Replacement mailing list idea)

On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 3:06 AM, Steve Litt <> wrote:
> On Sat, 17 Sep 2016 22:59:22 -0400
> Rich Freeman <> wrote:
>> On Sat, Sep 17, 2016 at 10:16 PM, Christopher Barry
>> <> wrote:
>> >
>> > All webmail clients suck. Some may suck less than others, but in the
>> > end, they all still suck.
>> True, but there aren't many better solutions when you don't favor any
>> particular desktop for checking your mail, and don't want to leave
>> copies of your mail on some of the desktops you use.
> So you *do* have the capability of bottom or interleave posting. Why
> not just do what you did in this email?

I do that all the time.  How many top-posted emails do you find from
me in this mailing list?  I mentioned that GMail didn't make it hard
to bottom-post in my first email which brought it up.  It just tends
to encourage top-posting by default.

>> Sure, there is
>> IMAP, but then you need to find good MUAs that support IMAP on
>> Windows
> Eudora, Thunderbird, Outlook.
>> , Linux,
> Mutt (Mutt supports IMAP), Claws, Thunderbird, Eudora, probably others.

None of those support tag-based sorting of email as far as I'm aware.
For that matter, neither does IMAP

>> and Android (with push notifications for the latter so
>> that it doesn't kill your battery).
> Just how much of a road warrior do you want to be?

I probably read about as much of this list on Android as on any of the
other platforms.

> And on your Android,
> if there's no facility for bottom/interleave posting there, is it
> necessary to respond, on your Android, *right now* to a mailing list
> post? Couldn't it wait until you get home to a desktop?

I never reply to lists on Android, because GMail tends to be buggy
with multiple identities on Android.  It does have push notifications
though, and supports tags/etc.

The bar isn't actually that high for a better MUA.

> Gmail's got an IMAP. Couldn't you use its IMAP with Claws on
> Linux and Eudora on Windows, and then use the Gmail client only on your
> Android, and not use that for mailing lists?

None of those really support tagging all that well.  Plus keeping
contacts synced across all those platforms would be a PITA, because
IMAP doesn't support contact syncing.

>> Oh, and it has to support
>> synchronized contacts as well across all those platforms,
> Git?

I want an application that simply works.  I don't want to walk up to a
PC to check my email, and have to install an MUA, git, sync some
repositories, and have some way to do all of that using two-factor or
disposable passwords so that a keylogger can't compromise all my

Some of this just reflects gaps in the protocols.  Other than Exchange
there aren't really protocols out there that actually take care of all
this stuff.

>> and with my
>> Google contacts (unless you also want to propose an alternative for my
>> Google Contacts app on my phone as well as Hangouts, and Google
>> Calendar/Docs).
> Far be it from being my business to tell someone not to use proprietary
> stuff, but your use of Google everything is putting you in a position
> where it's tough not to cause confusion, to others, during threads on
> mailing lists.

You're the first to suggest that you find my posts on the lists
confusing.  :)  I've written quite a few of them over the years...

> How far do you want to go down the Google path, and how
> far do you think you'll get before you begin to resent that Google
> dictates your workflow and your priorities?

Before I started down that path I was using almost entirely FOSS for
this stuff.  Mostly kontact in its various forms, or thunderbird.
But, at some point I got my Android G1 and later a Cr-48 and the FOSS
stuff just wasn't cutting it.  In order to work seamlessly across many
computers (including ChromeOS) I'd need a hodge-podge of different
applications and middleware to sort-of keep it all in sync.  That
tends not to go well because you end up with 14 versions of the truth
and you end up with syncing issues.  Oh, and then you need to maintain
backups of all those configurations because heaven help you if a drive
fails and you need to set it all up again.  Of course, you'll still be
doing that because some software update is going to break one of those

If somebody came out with something that does what the Google stuff
actually does in a browser I'd probably snap it up in a heartbeat.  It
would be trivial for me to get it running in a container and just use
it.  But, the FOSS stuff tends to focus on X11 as if we're still in
2005.  I want a solution that is cloud-based.  It doesn't require any
local install to use, and its settings are always safe somewhere, and
as long as the server is properly maintained and backed up I don't
have to worry about anything else.

>> And if one of those desktops is a Chromebook your options are even
>> fewer; just webmail or ncurses.
> So couldn't you just not respond to mailing list threads on your
> Chromebook? Problem solved.

Ok, when travelling I am without email for a week?  That doesn't seem
very practical.  Plus the solutions on the other platforms aren't that

>> > I wholeheartedly second trying claws-mail.
>> I'm pretty sure I've used it in the distant past.  I don't think it or
>> any of the IMAP clients I've used really support tag-based email
>> sorting either, which is a Gmail feature I find indispensible.
> Would you find it as indispensible if you tried something else? It was
> tough for me to switch from Windows to Linux, not being able to write
> my books in MSWord, but after a while I got used to LyX. People adapt.
> Often, after hating the new way, people come to like the new way more.

Uh, I was using that stuff before I moved to GMail...  I'm sure you'll
find a nice 10-year block of time where all my emails to public lists
were nicely gpg-signed and such.  I've been using traditional MUAs
since I got my first SLIP connection, probably around 1995 or so on

> I'm not sure what tag based sorting is, and Duck Duck Go provided no
> guidance, but it sounds like the kind of thing that would be rendered
> almost moot by a good folder system plus a good
> date/subject/status/word sort algorithm like that of Claws-Mail.

Instead of using folders, emails are assigned tags.  The inbox is just
a tag.  What look like folders are just queries for all emails that
have the tag.  So, these emails are all tagged with PLUG, and also
Inbox.  Some of my other mailing lists aren't tagged with the inbox,
because I don't read them as part of my general mail.  When I archive
a message it just removes the inbox tag, while retaining any other
tags it has.  Mail also gets tagged based on what email address it
comes in on.

Essentially it is like folders except an email can be in more than one
folder at a time.

IMAP doesn't really support that.  GMail will just make the message
appear in multiple folders, but most email clients will just duplicate
the email.

GMail also has very good search functionality, so beyond initial
filtering I tend not to do much more with folders/tags/etc.  However,
that is something that I've found also tends to lag with most email
clients and IMAP.  When you have multiple GB of email search tends not
to be very fast.

>> Honestly, I've struggled to find even desktop clients that are as
>> useful for going through mail.  GMail gives you a one-button shortcut
>> to archive messages.
> I want to make sure I have this right: Doesn't Gmail give you the
> option to create filters to automatically place mailing list posts in
> folders for their respective mailing lists, so that your inbox just
> contains one-off type stuff and business correspondence (in which
> top-posting is prefereable)? Why not just let your mailing list posts
> accumulate in their folders and wait til you're at a desktop to
> respond to them?

That limits you to just read/unread status, and that isn't really a
good indicator of whether you're done with a thread, but just whether
you've read it.

For lists where I tend to systematically look at everything I tag them
with the inbox as well as any list tags.  I don't read plug using the
plug tag typically, unless I'm going back and looking at old messages.

>> So, I end up using GMail.  Sure, it is annoying to occasionally have
>> to run text through par-format because it clobbers the quoting, but it
>> usually gets it right.  I'm sure it makes eyes bleed for anybody else
>> who uses a threaded MUA (maybe not, GMail certainly doesn't make use
>> of references but it might set them unlike Outlook).
>> But, if somebody could come up with a better alternative I'd be all
>> for it.
> The question is: Better for whom? Obviously you've found something
> convenient to you. But at what cost to those following long and
> technical threads?

Well, necessity is the mother of invention I suppose.  :)

If my posts bother you that much you're welcome to come up with a
better protocol than IMAP, or a better web-based MUA.  :)  Or you can
feel free to just filter my posts to /dev/null.

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