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digitalmars.D - OT: Please, do not use the alternative "Web-News" interface to post

reply Oskar Linde <oskar.lindeREM OVEgmail.com> writes:
This may be a bit nitpicky, but since there is an increasing problem, I 
feel it deserves mention.

Lately, I noticed a number of posts that break threads. They all have 
the user agent string:

Web-News v.1.6.3 (by Terence Yim)

which must be the alternative interface at
http://www.digitalmars.com/webnews/newsgroups.php

Posting with this interfaces results in posts that violates at least
five de facto rules documented in mail and news related RFCs:

1. (This is the most serious, as it breaks threading) Generated replies
do not contain the required "References" and "In-Reply-To" header
fields. Thunderbird seems to fall back on some heuristic. In other
readers, the threads simply break. (Ironically, even Web-News fails
to thread it's own messages...?) (RFC1036 says '[When replying, ] the 
"References" line is required')

2. A space is placed after the quote character (>) even when the next
character is a quote, breaking quoting more than one level deep. 
(RFC3676 states that a space before a '>' at the start of a line means 
that the '>' should be treated literally as a '>' character and not as a 
quoting marker. This is called "space stuffing".)

3. Messages are posted as 8-bit without any charset specification. This 
is hardly a good practice and not within any standard.

4. More seriously, some message headers (From and Subject) are generated 
with non-ASCII characters (no charset or mime compliant encoding is 
used) (Violates RFC(2)822 and extensions)

5. Long lines are not broken at 78 characters or less. (Violates RFC3676 
and recommended practice)

The regular newsgroup interface (PHP News Reader v2.6.4) does a much
better job. It includes a correct "References" header field (but no
In-Reply-To field, which could be considered superfluous), and marks the
8bit body with a specified charset. It also breaks lines at < 78 chars, 
albeit with some problems.

The PHP News Reader succeeds at 1, 3 and 5 above (but still fails at 2 
and 4).

So, please post using the official web interface or using a proper news 
reader.

(I've become aware of the above while implementing proper Mime and 
charset handling for what became a quick and dirty nntp reader:

http://www.csc.kth.se/~ol/news/

I believe it decodes and parses most messages ok now.

I'll hopefully get some time soon to implement a posting interface that 
at least doesn't fail in any of the above ways. Shouldn't be too hard.)

/Oskar
Jan 23 2007
parent jcc7 <technocrat7 gmail.com> writes:
== Quote from Oskar Linde (oskar.lindeREM OVEgmail.com)'s article
 This may be a bit nitpicky, but since there is an increasing problem, I
 feel it deserves mention.
 Lately, I noticed a number of posts that break threads. They all have
 the user agent string:
 Web-News v.1.6.3 (by Terence Yim)
 which must be the alternative interface at
 http://www.digitalmars.com/webnews/newsgroups.php
 Posting with this interfaces results in posts that violates at least
 five de facto rules documented in mail and news related RFCs:

I don't want to spend the time reading the RFCs, so I'll assume you're right about this problem. Since Web-News is Open Source, it might be possible to fix the posting behavior. (Actually, pnews is Open Source, too, so maybe we could "borrow" tips from its posting behavior to add to Web-News.) Also, if it's really disruptive to post from the Web-News interface, perhaps it's posting function should be disabled. (Or even better have the reply button re-direct to a pnews compose window.) Just telling people not to post from Web-News won't get us 100% compliance anytime soon.
 I believe it decodes and parses most messages ok now.
 I'll hopefully get some time soon to implement a posting interface that
 at least doesn't fail in any of the above ways. Shouldn't be too hard.)
 /Oskar

Since you've already been working on this, it might be a better option than trying to fix Web-News. Are you planning to enable people to make use of the Xref? I've been using links with the Xref for years, and it's been tremendously useful when changing from using one web interface to another (especially when the old web interface broke). For example, the header of the post has: Xref: digitalmars.com digitalmars.D:47211 So the Web-News link is: http://www.digitalmars.com/webnews/newsgroups.php?art_group=digitalmars.D&article_id=47211 And the pnews link is: http://www.digitalmars.com/pnews/read.php?server=news.digitalmars.com&group=digitalmars.D&artnum=47211 With wwwnews (may it rest in peace), the link would've been: digitalmars.D/47211 In Wiki4D, a shortcut allows us to put: NG:digitalmars.D/47211 which would automatically be turned into a link to: http://www.digitalmars.com/webnews/newsgroups.php?art_group=digitalmars.D&article_id=47211 And if a better web interface comes along, the "NG:" shortcut could just be reprogrammed to point to that web interface (if the new web interface will use the Xref in the link). jcc7
Jan 23 2007