Email subject line formatting

Magnus Ihse Bursie magnus.ihse.bursie at
Tue Apr 14 07:58:15 UTC 2020

On 2020-04-07 01:21, David Holmes wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> Erik asked me to raise this here to see if anyone else is bothered by 
> this ...
> When an integration email is sent the subject line of the RFR thread 
> is augmented with [integrated] and also adorned with "Re:" as if a 
> reply to the RFR thread e.g.
> Re: [Integrated] [foreign-abi] RFR: Revert "JDK-8242127: reorganize 
> ABI-dependent layout constants"
> My objection to this is that once the subject has been augmented with 
> [Integrated] it is not appropriate to treat that as a "reply" and use 
> the "Re:". If I see:
> [Integrated] [foreign-abi] RFR: Revert "JDK-8242127: reorganize 
> ABI-dependent layout constants"
> I know its a changeset notification email and I can ignore it. Just as 
> I can ignore:
> git: openjdk/panama-foreign: foreign-jextract: 2 new changesets
> or
> hg: jdk/jdk: 8242217: Shenandoah: Enable GC mode to be 
> diagnostic/experimental and have a name
> but when I see the "Re:" I think "oh someone is commenting on that 
> push, there must be an issue and I should read the email" - which is 
> the case with current hg notification emails!

I agree, I react the same way. I think the problem is two-fold. First of 
all, the traditional way of adding "Re:" assumes that the subject 
following "Re:" is untouched. If you rewrite the subject, you are 
supposed to not add "Re:". (And if you rewrite the subject, it is polite 
to keep the old one as "was:" instead.)

Secondly, with the hg reports, wwe have been conditioned to be on the 
lookout for "Re: hg: ..." mails, since they indicated that someone had 
commented on a checkin, and that you should just not skip it. I've found 
myself over and over again clicking on those mails, thinking that they 
include something important.

While the latter one is perhaps mostly about habits and processes we are 
used to, I still think the current subjects are odd, and that we can 
probably find something better, that does not go against netiquette and 
old-time OpenJDKers habits. :-)

Perhaps Jon is onto something that we should be more aggressive in how 
the subject line is rewritten. When a change is actually integrated, it 
is technically no longer a "RFR", so maybe rewrite to "Integrate: Bug 
description ..." instead? As long as the In-Reply-To mail header is 
correct, mail software should get the threading right regardless of subject.

> This would be less of an issue if the sender of the integration email 
> was a bot account but it isn't, it is the committer.
> So I'd like to suggest that the "Re:" be dropped from the subject line 
> of these automatically generated integration emails.
> Cheers,
> David

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