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Replying in Digest Mode

2021 Note: These instructions are out of date but left in place for anyone who might enjoy a throwback to early days of the internet. :)

Most subscribers receive every post as a separate email message and replying is just a matter of clicking on the Reply button. But if your subscription is in DIGEST mode, your replies have to be done in a slightly different way so that others will know what topic you're writing about. (Only one topic per post is allowed; however, you may combine multiple replies into one post IF they are all in response to the same Subject.)

If you use the "Reply" feature of your e-mail software, it will generate a new email with the correct address ("CONTINUUM@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU") but the "Subject" field will be incorrect, something like...

Re: CONTINUUM Digest - 14 Feb 1998 - Special issue (#1998-16)

So you should edit the Subject field and make sure it reads...

Re: WhateverTheTopicReallyIs

It should be EXACTLY the same as the subject of the post you are replying to. Email programs can group (or "thread") messages with identical Subject fields. Subscribers who don't have time to read every post can use this feature to read them selectively. Even minor differences like changes in capitalization can "break the thread" of the topic.

Generally, the best way to make sure the Subject field of your reply is correct is to...

  1. use your computer's mouse to select the Subject of the message within the digest to which you are replying,
  2. copy it using the "Copy" command,
  3. invoke the "Reply" command to generate a new email with the correct address,
  4. use the mouse to select the text in the Subject field and then delete it with the delete key, and
  5. put the correct subject into the Subject field using the "Paste" command.
  6. Unless you are starting a new topic, the Subject should begin with "Re: " (That's "R", "e", colon, and ONE space).

DO NOT use the "Quote Original Message" function as it will quote the entire digest! You can still quote portions of the original message by using the Copy and Paste functions. Some email programs let you copy some text and then "Paste As Quote". This prefixes each line of the quote with ">" and a space, which is standard, Internet-style quoting. Be sure to put the real name of the person you are quoting before the quote. For example...

   Jane Doe wrote...
   > I finished reading The Continuum Concept as
   > my baby's head was crowning -- just in time
   > for the in-arms phase to begin!

If you have questions or need technical assistance, please contact the listowner.

See also:

Updated March, 1998