Can long topic prefixes in forum e-mails be omitted?


in the user preferences of the Django Forum, I’ve enabled mailing list mode in order to be able to read the forum messages in my email program, where I have a filter enabled to move all emails whose List-ID header begins with “Django Forum” into a custom subdirectory. This is what I do with all mailing lists that I have subscribed to and it works very well.

However, the subject lines for emails from the Django Forum are prefixed with very long topic indicators of varying length. This makes scanning the list of posts very difficult.

For example, please consider how neatly messages are arranged from the django-developers mailing list:

And compare that to the messages from the Django Forum:

Note how easy it is to read the posts of django-developers and how difficult it is to read the post of the Django Forum – and this is even a good case, because there happen to be four posts with [Django Forum] [Using Django] directly below each other.

Making the screen or the subjects column wider unfortunately doesn’t help, because it is the varying length of the category prefix, resulting in a varying left alignment, that causes the visual clutter.

I’ve not been able to find a user setting that would omit the subject line prefixes.

Would it be possible to turn these prefixes entirely off? (And also the postfix “via Django Forum” to the user names?)


would it please be possible to make this change, that is, configure the forum to not use overly long prefixes in email subject lines and and postfixes in sender names?

This would be a huge help with following the forum posts in an email program.

Just to follow-up - I have raised this issue in the “Staff” area of the forum, where it should be more visible to the admins.

Hi Ken, thank you! :grinning:

Hi! While we are able to change that formatting, any change would affect all users of the site, and for one I really like having the topic prefixes as they let me know at a glance where things are - we don’t have two different from addresses for Using Django and Django Internals unlike the mailing lists, so without those, it would not be possible for me to tell what’s what.

Now, we likely could drop the [Django Forum] prefix - I don’t know if that’s doing quite as much work, and I think that it’s implied by any of the main topic names when they sit beside them (and it’s part of the from name part, too)

Hi Andrew,

thanks for your reply!

My motivation with this request is that I would like to continue to follow the discussions around Django, including those that are not in my immediate, daily interest. They are way to many messages to follow them all, so it is important to be able to scan new topics and new replies quickly.
Subscribing to mailing lists and filtering them in email software allows for a workflow that is very effective even if you’re using several distinct devices every day (home, office, laptop, mobile). This is what I have done with the mailing lists django-users and django-developers for more than 10 years. However, the switch to the forum makes this increasingly difficult.

This is how my forum screen looks today:

Only 15 subject lines at maximum screen height and a „last visit“ line of which I’m still not sure how it behaves across several, simultaneously open browser tabs or when I quit in the office, use the tablet in between and continue at home. And then there are only pale blue dots indicating new replies. The forum is fancy and maybe I’m just too old fashioned to grasp how it is effectively used, but I constantly find myself reading some messages twice and some not at all.

Using the forum’s mailing list mode helps with all that.

Dropping the leading [Django Forum] prefix would help in that it makes the subject lines shorter.
Unfortunately, it does not help with the fluttering left margin which is caused by the category prefixes of varying length. This is my main concern however, because as shown in the screenshot in my previous post, it significantly reduces the ability to grasp the actual topic subjects easily.

Please consider this excerpt of an email header from an email from the forum:

X-Discourse-Post-Id: 69453
X-Discourse-Topic-Id: 24787
X-Discourse-Category: Using Django/Forms & APIs
List-ID: Django Forum | Using Django Forms & APIs

In essence, it has all the information that is needed to know where the post belongs to, especially it’s category.

So you would be able to know where each message belongs to even if the categories were off in the subject lines. But. Hmmmm. I just realize that this is true for me, too. :innocent: I could use this to filter all emails further into subfolders, one per category. It would be a big set of filtering rules, but it would help with the fluttering left margin as all category prefixes would be the same in each subfolder.

So I can probably almost solve my problem myself. However, the leading [Django Forum] would then really be redundant so this approach would be very facilitated if it was removed.

I would still like to maintain my request to remove the category prefix as well, this would in my opinion be the best solution, but if, as you indicated, this is not acceptable, I would be very grateful if the [Django Forum] prefix was removed.

Ah, I didn’t realise Discourse had email headers for the topics! I should have expected that, to be fair.

I get your point about the variable-length prefixes, but the usefulness of having sub-topics/sub-forums is incredibly high, so I really don’t want to drop those; I think dropping the “Django Forum” prefix should be fine, though, so I will go and do that.

If your email host supports the Sieve editheaders extension, by the way (I use Fastmail, which does), you can manually rewrite the subject lines to do whatever you want with them, which may solve your remaining issue.

Hi Andrew,

thank you! :grinning: