[Design] Re: email thread handling and summarization
bryanwpendleton at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 31 13:05:39 PST 2003
I've been finding the Design-list discussions fascinating; hope you don't
mind me jumping in here with an opinion.
> > > Here's a reference to some stuff being done at Microsoft on
> > > conversations in e-mail.
I looked through both the Microsoft work, and also the IBM ReMail work that
somebody else pointed out, and they were very interesting.
Still, I can't shake the feeling that this is fundamentally the wrong way to go.
No matter how hard you try, you're not going to be able to turn a collection
of decentralized email clients into a threaded, collaborative, interactive discussion.
Consider, for example, the section in the IBM research where they talk about all
the patches and bailing wire they've had to put into their algorithms to handle the
fact that each email client sees a different, partial, and inconsistent view of the
global shared discussion. Their techniques for inferring semantics from chronology,
mail headers, etc are interesting, but, as they note, this sort of post-hoc analysis
has a huge basic hurdle to overcome.
And it all seems so "last century". In the real world, people who want to have
decentralized, threaded, community discussions have moved far, far beyond email.
They're now using commented weblogs with track-back referral analysis, or
Slashdot-style filtered and categorized discussion forums, or LiveJournal or MetaFilter
systems, or Kuroshin-style reputation engines, etc.
Instead of trying to put a lot of effort into trying to wrestle with email's fundamental
deficiencies, I'd much rather see Chandler put that effort into integrating some of
these more recent technologies.
Make sure Chandler has a killer RSS reader in it, as well as a powerful integrated
web browser, a simple content management system, and lots of basic support for
integrating the Internet into my personal information world.
Over the next 5 years, of all my Personal Information Management needs, the
need that I feel the most keenly is the one which helps me manage my "Internet life".
Thanks for listening, and Happy New Year.
More information about the Design