[MlMt] Modal two pane layout?

Benny Kjær Nielsen mailinglist at freron.com
Wed Apr 4 19:41:38 UTC 2012

On 4 Apr 2012, at 20:49, Baron Fujimoto wrote:

>> I understand the historical usage, but I believe it was/is a bad 
>> solution to
>> the problem of keeping track of extended conversations. The receiving 
>> email
>> application should be in charge of how a message is displayed. In 
>> MailMate,
>> vertical bars and colored text is used (by default), but other email 
>> clients
>> could use a mix of `:` and `>` if preferred. Just my personal opinion 
>> (which
>> makes it the opinion of MailMate as well) :-)
> Emory's got it as to the use of alternate quote indicator chars.  
> Convention
> has made the use of ">" a de facto standard, but this is the first 
> time I've
> ever really had anyone raise it as a problem.  As Emory also noted, 
> the use of
> alternate quote chars is useful for distinguishing respondents in 
> deeply
> nested threads.

I guess it would only work if the respondents all use unique quote 
indicators. I guess that's an argument for quote indicators in the style 
of `"BN>"`. It would look horrible and make hard-wrapping problems even 
worse, but it is interesting to note that, in theory, an email client 
should be able to derive who wrote what if it knows all the messages 
(and their threading). It would make for an interesting feature if that 
information was put in the HTML generated and displayed nicely using 
CSS. Maybe only shown when hovering the mouse (showing the full name).

Reflowing paragraphs, by the way, is yet another example where the 
receiving email client needs to be able to correctly parse quote levels.

MailMate also supports 
[`format=flowed`](http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3676) and the RFC for 
that is also based on the assumption that quote levels are defined by 
the number of prefixed `>`s.

> I understand that some of these choices hail from an earlier era 
> though when
> the user interface was generally monochromatic text.  I also get your 
> points
> on how the use of the alternate quote indicator may break assumptions 
> made by
> an MUA and features that rely on them.  The only thing I might quibble 
> with a
> bit though is that while the receiving application is responsible for 
> displaying
> the message, if it's substituting vertical bars for the conventional 
> quote
> indicators, then it's making a choice here to actually change the 
> message
> content and treat them as a quasi-markup language. I don't necessarily 
> have
> an issue with that though, and as you say, you're opinion, and by 
> extension
> MailMate's as well if you desire.

I need to clarify then. MailMate does not substitute vertical bars. If 
it cannot parse the prefix then it leaves it as it is and MailMate can 
only parse the use of `>` (allowing them to be mixed with spaces).

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