[OS X TeX] My Soap Box

Adam M. Goldstein z_californianus-dated-1297833392.bef767 at shiftingbalance.org
Fri Feb 11 00:16:29 EST 2011

On Feb 10, 2011, at 5:37 PM, Richard Koch wrote:

> Folks,
> Every few weeks we run into the "start a new thread" discussion. In my opinion
> this is not the fault of the people posting, but instead the fault of the software
> designers. It is entirely reasonable to assume that threads are "defined" by the
> title of the message, with or without a "Re:" It is completely baffling that they are
> instead defined by a hidden field in the header --- hidden at least to those of us
> who use OS X's Mail program with default values.
> A completely natural way to write a note for OS X TeX is to find an old message in
> the list, click "Reply" to get a message with the address already filled in, and
> then change the "Subject" field.
> The history of email is perhaps against fixing this problem, but we need to be gentle
> with those who do the reasonable thing and then get bitten. 

Keyloggers, a centralized database with each user's history of thread-hijacking, use the built-in camera to track the user's eye movements and facial expressions to determine whether he or she is about to hit "reply" rather than "new", semantically-enable indexing of the user's mail messages as they are being composed, to determine whether a new thread is being started. All this, together with a script that plays a video of Dick kindly instructing the user what to do and politely apologizing on behalf of all the email application writers---this should do it. For repeat offenders, the script shows a disappointed looking Don Knuth shaking his head as one of the user's LaTeX files is opened in MS Word, then saved as a .doc file for Word 5.1. The original is deleted, and so are all of its revisions in Time Machine databases.

Adam M. Goldstein PhD, MSLIS
z_californianus at shiftingbalance.org
Associate Editor
Reviews Editor
Evolution: Education & Outreach
Spellman 205
(914) 637-2717 (msg)
Dept of Philosophy
Iona College
715 North Avenue
New Rochelle NY 10801

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