Changing the default subject template for outgoing email?

So, right now we’re using the default template for outgoing email subjects, which is:

[%{site_name}] %{optional_pm}%{optional_cat}%{topic_title}

This works well for sites like Pixls, where you get subjects like:

Subject: [px][Software/RawTherapee] Film Simulation: new link not working …

but for Fedora, because I picked a longer, more descriptive site name (I didn’t want it to just be “Fedora”), and because we have categories and subcategories also with long names, a subject like “The future of real-time (chat) discussion for the Fedora council” ends up looking like:

Subject: [Fedora Discussion] [Project Conversations/Council Discussion] The…
Subject: [Fedora Discussion] [Project Conversations/Council Discussion] The …
Subject: [Fedora Discussion] [Project Conversations/Council Discussion] The…

in a lot of mail clients, which is less than ideal. But this is customizable. The different options are described here, and of course we can just hard-code ‘Fedora’. Unfortunately from that thread there seems to be no way to just get the subcategory, which I think would be most ideal. So my suggestion is

    [Fedora] %{optional_pm}%{topic_title} %{optional_cat}

so it’s shortened from “[Fedora Discussion]” to just “Fedora” and the subject comes before the category. (Leaving PM first if that happens to be what this email is for.)

What do you think? I could certainly be persuaded to leave off [Fedora] entirely.

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This is an excerpt of the mail headers from discourse, where ideally the metadata on where the post resides in discourse would live so it doesn’t have to sit on the subj line:

Message-ID: topic/25297/
In-Reply-To: topic/25297/
References: topic/ topic/25297/
Subject: [Fedora Discussion] [Special Interest Groups/RPM Packaging] Dnf show .spec for a package

Looks like “Fedora Discussion” or “Special Interest Groups” may be 25297 and ”Special Interest Groups" or “RPM packaging” may be 38340.

That’s not really usable (also doesn’t appear stable or sustainable) to address the issue via mail filters. But we don’t need “Fedora Discussion” on every single email so I would suggest dropping that completely.

I’m also wondering if it’d make sense to move the meta stuff to after the subject line so you can still filter by it but it doesn’t obscure what the thread is

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Yeah my suggested change would put the category at the end but leave [Fedora] at the beginning. But I’m also fine with making it something like:

%{topic_title} [Fedora] %{optional_pm}%{optional_cat}

which would put all of the labels at the end.

Anyone else have an opinion?

For what it’s worth, I notice that Discourse does set

List-ID: Fedora Discussion | Project Conversations Council Discussion <>

in the headers, which is helpful for filtering on clients which allow you to filter on arbitrary headers.

Looks like no one else has an opinion, so I’ve gone and changed it to “metadata after”. We can always change it again if this turns out to be bad.


How about we remove the categories from subjects completely?

List-ID seems to be a good enough way to organize mails on the client side. And long phrases in brackets don’t really benefit anyone. Especially when it is a second level category.

I would rather have nothing and add my tags via client filters to the “naked” subject like
CoreOS pxeboot: coreos-installer can't format /dev/vda or /dev/sda

then see this every time I open the inbox:

CoreOS pxeboot: coreos-installer can't format /dev/vda or /dev/sda [Fedora] [Server, Cloud, and IoT/CoreOS]

Other options could be

  1. if Category had a readable name but also a short alias which we could use in mail templates. Like “Fedora Project discussions” → discuss, or “Server, Cloud, and IoT/CoreOS” → iot.

  2. Just stop using generic phrases in the category names. Put them in the description of the category, not in the name. Leave category to play the same role as mailing lists id.

Actually I am now thinking that i like option 2) more, as it also simplifies the Web UI.

I need to read the phrase “Server, Cloud, and IoT/CoreOS” only once, not every time i open the new conversation. One-word low-case category names should generally be enough for navigation. What do you think?

I am okay with with removing the [label things] entirely if that’s what people want.

Change the categories is also doable, but a little harder. Not sure of a good single-word that encompasses Server, Cloud, IoT, and CoreOS though. Note that that category is meant to be an empty top-level – the lower ones have short names. (Same as “Project Discussions”.) But the macros for labels don’t let me leave off the top level.

I prefer to keep it in the subject field. Many mail clients do not support filtering on arbitrary filters (mine included). :slightly_smiling_face: I am in a messy process of migrating emails and migrating filters over, and having the categories in the subjects makes it easier for me to organize and keep tabs on the discussions.

Perhaps we have a good feature request to carry upstream here.