View Full Version : Email gateway, threading, and reply addresses

Daniel Widdis
June 4th, 2005, 07:15 PM
(Message posted by Dan Widdis on tapcis.com)

Since there appears to be some confusion over the issue of "guests" and return email addresses I thought I might clarify the way the mirroring system works so we can all try to help those who choose different ways of interacting with the mailing list.

PART ONE: tapcis.com --> email.

When a message is posted in "The Parlor" on the tapcis.com website, a copy is immediately sent to the coryphaeus mailing list. The software does the following "helpful" things:

1. Does some substitutions with the formatting codes for quotebacks, text formatting, replacing the @ in email addresses, etc.

2. Makes the message to the mailing list appear as if it is being sent from the tapcis.com user's email address. If that email address is registered as a member of the coryphaeus group, the message hits the boards immediately. If that address is not a member of the group, the message goes into a "pending" queue where a moderator must review and approve it. A few of the moderators have taken to helpfully adding those email addresses as members of the group to preclude future moderation queue delays.

3. Appends the tapcis.com user's registered forum name to the end of the email as a signature, even if there is no signature set on the tapcis.com site.

4. Posts the message on the boards and makes an internal note not to post the "backroute" copy that the mailing list will eventually spit back to the forum.

For those reading the list via email, this is almost transparent to them. Other than the formatting/signature line, the message could have been sent by the user's email client.

PART TWO: email --> tapcis.com

There is a tapcis.com email address subscribed to the coryphaeus mailing list, collecting posts as they come through. Periodically (currently hourly at XX:15) the software reads this email address and processes the contents thereof. For each message found in this in box, if the message didn't originate on tapcis.com, it is posted to the site with appropriate formatting substitutions. However, note the following:

1. If theading information has been maintained in the internet headers (as is done by gmail, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Eudora, and probably several other modern email clients) it is inserted in the appropriate threaded spot on the forum. The threading, however, "breaks" for clients which do not preserve the header information, notably TAPCIS. (Most "new threads" are being posted by Dodi and Guerri, both of whom use TAPCIS.) Unfortunately, I don't think there's any way to fix that -- perhaps Judy can investigate to see if "subject line threading" can be turned on.

2. The message is posted on tapcis.com from a "Guest" account, even if the person posting it is a member of tapcis.com. There is, therefore, no return email address. The sender's name (as pulled from the "From:" line) is posted at the top of the message, but there is no mechanism to know from which email address the message was sent. Accordingly, dealers posting the "New Word" via email *MUST* include an email address in the text of the message so that users playing the game at tapcis.com will know where to send their definitions.

In summary, here are some key points to remember:

1. Emails sent to the list hide the sender's email address, and if they are sent from clients which do not track header/reply information, they break threading.

2. Emails sent to the list can take up to a few hours to appear at tapcis.com, because of (1) email delays for outgoing yahoo emails, and (2) the hourly polling frequency. On the other hand, emails posted at tapcis.com appear on the list immediately. Dealers checking for votes at or near the deadline should visit the coryphaeus website at yahoo groups to find the most up-to-date status of messages. (Or, alternately, allow a few hours of "slop" time.)

3. Emails from tapcis.com posts are automatically signed. Emails sent directly to the list are not.