changing Subject header in thread [was Re: Ill-considered complaints [was: RE: early networking (was Re: G4 cube (was Re: 68K Macs with MacOS 7.5 still in production use...))]]

Eric Smith spacewar at
Wed Sep 14 18:32:01 CDT 2016

Rich Alderson wrote:
> Actually, Mr. Cook, the standard for the last 35 years or so has been to
> change the subject line, with the old subject in SQUARE BRACKETS with the
> characters "was: " prepended.  Any decent newsreader or threading mail
> reader knows how to deal with that, and threading is unbroken.  What was
> broken in the messages about which you complain is the substitution of
> parentheses () for brackets [].

I had no idea that there was a standard. Is it in an RFC or something?

I've commonly seen either parenthesis or square brackets used, and
I've normally used parenthesis myself, but if there's a documented
standard, I'll consider switching.

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