View Full Version : Subject lines on replies

Chuck Gramling
03-06-2003, 6:55 PM
When I look at posts here using the Text Only format (aka "lurker" format), I notice how many replies have blank subject lines.

I can't help but think that over time, searching through archives will be much less efficient as a result.

I seem to remember some discussion on the pond with regard to subject lines - as to whether it was better for people to change subject lines in replies to have more content value as to the reply, as opposed to repeating the subject line from the original post - I beleive to preserve some prima facie link between the two.

Maybe someone else better remembers the exact issue that was addressed at BP. I personally prefer subject lines that clarify the nature of the post or reply. Any comments ?

Keith/Aaron - mightl blank subject lines be a problem later on in the archives?


Aaron Koehl
03-06-2003, 7:10 PM

Subject lines are most important (and required) for
thread topics. The search function of the board will
also search within the actual posts-- However, subject
lines on posts are certainly useful and encouraged.


Dr. Zack Jennings
03-06-2003, 7:39 PM
Custom Subject Lines When I read a thread my eye is not drawn to the Subject Line. Is the font actually smaller? If I want to customize the subject on my reply, I make it bold and red to draw the readers attn. and place it in the body of the text frame.

Can the font be made 1 size larger? And, red or blue to draw your attn.? Just a thought.

Stan Smith
03-06-2003, 7:52 PM
You are correct. I remember the issue of subject lines coming up also. I believe the problem was that the actual subject was not being made. For example someone might use the subject line of "Shop Equip. Question" and then ask about which table saw to buy. I personally look at the subject lines for items of interest. If it's left blank or doesn't mention what I'm interested in at the time, it doesn't get read by me. I probably miss some stuff but I don't have time to wade through all the stuff.

Joe Suelter
03-06-2003, 10:52 PM
The post subject line is way too small. I never read them, and rarely have used them. If we could make them more pronounced, maybe twice the size they are now, people might start using them more often.

Tim Spickler
03-07-2003, 6:38 AM
I agree with Stan. I look at the subject lines to determine if I want to read that thread. I'm probably guilty of not putting a descriptive statment in my subjects. I will try and do better.

Mark Mazzo
03-07-2003, 9:58 AM
I would agree that the font used in the subject line is very small. Even though it is bold, it is hard to see tucked way up at the top of the post with the font size currently used.

Sometimes people will write posts that use the subject text to start their response and then they continue in the message body. When this is done I notice that I missed the subject text and then go up and purposely look for the subject to put the rest of the message in proper context.

Some of this is a hold over from the format of the Pond messages where the subject was very prominant in browsing the message list. Also whenever you posted a message at the Pond, the subject would automatically be set to "Re:..." where the original subject was inserted after the ":", that way every message had a subject. I think that a good compromise would be to simply increase the font size of the subject for SMC. We may even find out that the style of the software here (with the increased font size for the subject) is even nicer than the style used at the Pond because the subjects will more easily be seen. Kind of a mix of the good things of this style and the old style.

Anyway, that's just my perspective. Keith and company, you guys are doing a great job...keep up the good work!


Jim Izat
03-07-2003, 12:13 PM
I think part of the problem is that some folks use the threaded lists and many others don't. I've really grown to like the non-threaded display because you can scroll through all the posts and their associated replies with out having to click over and over and over.
For those who use the non-threaded listing there's no reason to input a subject line for a reply,and I for one very rarely do.
Unless the beta vs. vhs issue is decided one way or the other, subject lines on replies will probably only be used religiously by those who prefer the threaded display.

On a semi-related note, it does not appear to be possible to edit the subject line once you have posted a new thread on a forum. That would be handy indeed.

Jim Izat

03-07-2003, 1:05 PM
Subject line should be mandatory for the starter post. I think that pretty much everyone does that now. On replies the subject line is pretty much useless, because most people restate it in the first sentence anyway. That said, I almost always insert a subject.

Chuck Gramling
03-07-2003, 5:27 PM
Hey Aaron - just a thought - what about the feasability of having the subject line on replies be mandatory and have it default to the BP style "RE:" + the orig subject line ? That way no one has to exert effort on it if they don't want to, but every post has a subject ?

Matthew Curley
03-07-2003, 6:30 PM
Originally posted by Chuck Gramling
have it default to the BP style "RE:" + the orig subject line ?

in reading the responses to the original post, I started playing with how to reply, and found by hitting "quote" instead of "post response", the subject line does default for you. The other confusing thing to me is that the Subject line doesn't show up when you preview your post.