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From Rick Hillegas <Richard.Hille...@Sun.COM>
Subject Re: Naming individuals in the subject line of posts
Date Sat, 11 Feb 2006 00:15:56 GMT
Hi Jean,

I think that sometimes there's is no substitute for a response from a 
particular individual, perhaps because of their expertise or keenness 
for some issue. Somehow you have to cut through the blizzard of Derby 
mail which buries all of our mailboxes. I don't see the point in being 
coy about whose feedback you're seeking. To my way of thinking, naming 
someone in the subject line is preferable to back-channel communication 
and also to losing your query through the cracks. I have seen this 
technique work on other large mailing lists. Sometimes you get a 
response from a colleague telling you that the person you're trying to 
reach is on vacation or otherwise unreachable. That's useful to know.

I understand your concern about people feeling cornered, but I think 
that's part of the price you pay for being an expert. Personally, I 
don't feel put off by these direct pages and I don't feel excluded from 
responding if I have something to say. Also, I am not a big fan of 
addressing people in the third person or through other indirection.

Both approaches (direct paging and indirect fishing) can be off-putting 
in their own ways. I don't know how to fine-tune this, particularly 
given all the warmth and emotional cues we lose by communicating through 


Jean T. Anderson wrote:

>derby-dev seems to have developed a curious habit of sometimes naming
>specific individuals in the subject line of posts. I find it a bit
>jarring and suggest that we stop doing this. --Feel free to disagree and
>post so we can discuss.
>Naming somebody directly in the subject might inhibit others from
>contributing, thinking that somehow the named individual "owns" that
>topic. Even if that individual *does* own some aspect of that topic, for
>example is a known subject matter expert or has assigned him or herself
>to a Jira issue, then it might make that individual feel cornered.
>Instead, think up a really snappy Subject line that is sure to get the
>attention of all the "right" parties.
>Don't forget that these posts live in the Apache mail archives forever
>and also get mirrored at www.nabble.com, news.gmane.org, and who knows
>wherever else.
> -jean

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