Email subject line formatting

Magnus Ihse Bursie magnus.ihse.bursie at
Tue Apr 14 08:18:20 UTC 2020

On 2020-04-14 09:58, Magnus Ihse Bursie wrote:
> 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.
I also realise that on projects where a commit can be pushed without a 
review, the commit message is sent out as "FYI: Bug description...". 
This has also confused me, since it sounded like someone wanted to 
inform me about something, and not an auto-generated commit mail. Using 
"Integrated: Bug description..." would be beneficial here as well, I think.

> /Magnus
>> 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

More information about the skara-dev mailing list