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Make email subject required and provide no default
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Description

Ever since T66795 is fixed, the FROM address of all emails is now the same (in case of Wikimedia wikis, always {{SITENAME}} <wiki@wikimedia.org>). Therefore, if multiple emails have the same subject line they will end up in the same thread for those who use thread views in their email client (for example, if you use GMail's default web mail view).

This can get confusing when you receive emails from multiple people. The root cause is that most people are too lazy to specify a unique subject for their email, and go with the default subject line of "Wikipedia e-mail" (in case of Wikipedia, or similar for other wikis).

The solution would be to require the users to specify a subject line (not allow emails with blank subject lines), and to provide no default subject lines.

Event Timeline

Huji created this task.Jan 2 2017, 3:59 PM
Restricted Application added a subscriber: Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptJan 2 2017, 3:59 PM
Huji claimed this task.Jan 2 2017, 4:02 PM

IMHO the more you try to force people to spend time on something the more people will try to circumvent it.
I expect people to either enter a whitespace or a dot as the subject, or simply give up trying to send an email.
Hence I do not think this should be implemented.
Instead you are free to fix the incorrect threading assumptions of your email client.

Huji added a comment.Jan 2 2017, 4:44 PM

The threading assumptions are not incorrect. An email with the same sender and same subject line should belong to the same thread. The email client is not at mistake, the burden is on people who are too lazy to pick a subject line (myself included).

As for blank spaces, we can trim the subject line and then check for it being non blank. We cannot avoid dots, etc. But then again, don't we all use email on a daily basis? And aren't we also forced to pick a subject line there too? I don't think see lots of people sending emails with blank subject line or a subject line of '.' outside of Special:EmailUser so I am going to assume they won't with Special:EmailUser either.

The more you try to force people to spend time on something, the more they will circumvent it. But if you make doing the wrong thing too easy, no one will make an effort to the right thing.

For the records, RFC 2822 defines that "In-Reply-To:" and "References:" fields are used when creating a reply.
It is true that not all email clients support this. Some clients fall back to assuming that same subject line should belong to the same thread; some people may support that assumption while others (like me) don't. :)

people who are too lazy to pick a subject line (myself included).

Errm, did you just provide an explanation why your proposal won't work? :P

And aren't we also forced to pick a subject line there too?

No. (My email client offers an option to display a warning dialog though when the subject line is empty.)

Huji added a comment.EditedJan 2 2017, 6:01 PM

people who are too lazy to pick a subject line (myself included).

Errm, did you just provide an explanation why your proposal won't work? :P

Nice try! But from where do you think I came up with this proposal? From the realization that if there was no default subject line and blank wasn't allowed, I would definitely put a subject line every time (like I do with my client which like yours gives me a warning if I forget).

And aren't we also forced to pick a subject line there too?

No. (My email client offers an option to display a warning dialog though when the subject line is empty.)

And we should give a similar warning in MediaWiki too.

Huji removed Huji as the assignee of this task.Jan 7 2017, 3:01 AM