[Haskell-begin] Re: New List

Benjamin L.Russell DekuDekuplex at Yahoo.com
Mon Jul 21 23:30:15 EDT 2008

On Fri, 18 Jul 2008 17:56:59 -0400, John Dorsey <haskell at colquitt.org>

>I already filter on something else.  I proposed adding the prefix for
>two reasons:  (1) I file all my haskell-related lists into the same
>box, and the prefix is handy for quickly telling which one I'm reading.
>This can make the difference between, say, suggesting unsafePerformIO
>(in the cafe) or a brief explanation of IO (on this list).  And (2) for
>conistency with [Haskell] and [Haskell-cafe].

I see your point:  You would appreciate being able to use
"[Haskell-begin] unsafePerformIO" vs. "[Haskell-cafe] unsafePerformIO"
to differentiate between a brief explanation of IO on
Haskell-Beginners vs. suggesting unsafePerformIO on Haskell-Cafe.

That actually is a valid point, and could prove useful at times.

Apart from just consistency with "[Haskell]" and "[Haskell-cafe]" in
the prefix for the subject lines of Haskell and Haskell-Cafe, it seems
that a prefix would be useful in ensuring consistency in having this
mailing list referred to as "Haskell-Beginners," and not just
"Beginners," by new members.  Otherwise, the fact that the e-mail
address is beginners at haskell.org, and not
haskell-beginners at haskell.org, could create confusion.  New members
would probably start saying "Haskell" vs. "Haskell-Cafe" vs.
"Beginners," leading to further inconsistencies in the proper names.
Eventually, most people would just start calling this list "Beginners"
because the name is shorter, and the name "Haskell-Beginners" would
become mostly forgotten.  However, if the prefix referred to the
proper name of the list in every message, this confusion could be

>It's not important to me.  Sounds like the majority are for no prefix.

Nonetheless, you had a valid point, and many users had stated that as
long as the prefix was short, the presence or absence of the prefix
did not really matter to them.  Ideally, my personal preference would
be to be completely consistent with [Haskell] and [Haskell-cafe], and
change the prefix to [Haskell-beginners], but it seems that then many
readers would believe this prefix to be too long and make the subject
line hard to read.

For the sake of argument, let's experiment:

[Haskell-begin] unsafePerformIO
[Haskell-beginners] unsafePerformIO

Now, let's try a longer example:

[Haskell-begin] beginners mailing list should be beginner's choice
[Haskell-beginners] beginners mailing list should be beginner's choice

Right now, in my Yahoo! Mail Haskell-Cafe folder, a typical truncated
long subject-line message reads as follows:

[Haskell-cafe] ghc 6.8.3 build error with __DISCARD__ linking problem,
please hel

That's 81 characters.

Right now, the longest example that I can find of a subject line in
Haskell-Beginners is the following:

[Haskell-begin] Re: [Haskell-cafe] Trouble with non-exhaustive

That's 71 characters, using "[Haskell-begin]."  If we changed
"[Haskell-begin]" to "[Haskell-beginners]," that would add 4
characters, increasing the length to 75.  That's still below 81.
Here's a comparison:

[Haskell-begin] Re: [Haskell-cafe] Trouble with non-exhaustive
[Haskell-beginners] Re: [Haskell-cafe] Trouble with non-exhaustive

Given that some mailing lists, such as plt-announce, already get by
using prefixes of similar length (in their case, "[PLT
announcement]," I think that in practice, after a few weeks, most
readers would probably unconsciously just ignore the prefix and read
the rest, and new readers would be able to read "[Haskell]" vs.
"[Haskell-cafe]" vs. "[Haskell-beginners]" for consistency (although
some users would probably complain at first).

Just for comparison, here are some examples of what is happening with
the subject lines in plt-announce:

[PLT announcement] PLT Scheme v4.0
[PLT announcement] PLT Scheme v4.0.2

Let's compare what would happen with similar typical subject lines
with "[Haskell-begin]" vs. "[Haskell-beginners]":

[Haskell-begin] Exercises for beginners and Natural Tansformations
[Haskell-beginners] Exercises for beginners and Natural Tansformations

What do you think?  Opinions, comment?  You decide.

-- Benjamin L. Russell

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