Re: [R] Responding to a posting in the digest

From: Ted Harding <>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 09:54:04 +0100 (BST)

On 14-Jun-07 07:26:26, Moshe Olshansky wrote:
> Is there a convenient way to respond to a particular
> posting which is a part of the digest?
> I mean something that will automatically quote the
> original message, subject, etc.
> Thank you!
> Moshe Olshansky

This will depend on two things.

  1. Whether the mail software you use has the capability;
  2. Whether the digest format would permit it anyway.

Regarding (2), if you are receiving R-help in "traditional" digest format (all the messages, each with its principal headers, as one single long message-body), then the only way to respond to a particular message is to start to compose a new message and copy what you need from the digest.

While I've never reveived R-help in digest format myself, according to Martin Maechler:

  Please open the URL at the end of every message   go to the bottom and "log in" -- clicking the   [Unsubscribe or Edit Options] field. You need your   mailing list password sooner or later. The one you   get sent every 1st of the month; or you can have it   sent to you again.

  Then you are in a page entitled

     "R-help Membership Configuration for <foo>@<bar"   Scroll down to the section

     "Your R-help Subscription"
  where the 3rd entry is entitled

     "Get MIME or Plain Text Digests?"
  and now you want MIME.

In MIME digest format, each message with its own main headers is a separate MIME attachment, and suitable mail software can bring any message up on its own, You can then reply in the normal way.

However (and here is where I'm ignorant as a result of never having received R-help as digest), your reply may not continue the thread -- since this depends on message-identifier headers being present which allow threading software to trace which messages are replies to which message. The JISCMAIL MIME digest for the AllStat mailing list only includes a Message-ID for the digest as a whole, i.e. the ID for the entire digest message. Message-IDs for the individual messages in the digest (as would be seen by people who received them singly) are absent: you only get the likes of

  Date: DoW, DD Mon YYYY HH:MM:SS TZ
  From: Sender (person who sent the message to the list)   Subject: Subject of individual message   MIME-Version: 1.0
  Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1   Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

and no Message ID for the original message from "Sender". So any reply to this component message is not identifiable as belonging to its thread.

I don't know whether R-help's 'mailman' provides such headers (Martin??). If it does, then your reply could include an "In-Reply-To:" which identifies the thread. Otherwise it can't.

As to (1), you will probably get several suggestions for suitable mail software. My own (see below) opens an AllStat digest in a window with "attachment" tags displayed, one for "Tablf of Contents", one for each message. Clicking on one of these opens a new window with the message attached to that tag displayed, and now the usual reply/forward etc mail sunctions can be applied to that message. But it will reply only to the address given in the "From:" header (i.e. the original sender, as above), not to the AllStat list (so you have to enter that address by hand, if you want to reply to the list).

In principle, mailer software could also identify the address of the list from which the digest has been sent, as well as the sender of the original message, so you could get the option to reply to either or both. But my XFMail does not, and only offers the original sender. Whether other mailer software can do this is for others to comment on!

Hoping this helps,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 14-Jun-07                                       Time: 09:53:58
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