[Vote + discussion] First chat message subject

We already changed the group message subject to Re: Group name because this is less surprising than something starting with Chat: (for when people chat with someone who does not have DC) and would like to change the normal message subject, to Re: <last subject>.

Now: What should the subject be when we send the first message to a new contact?

Update: Vote here

Let’s make a poll*

  • Message from <sender name>
  • Delta Chat Message
  • Chat
  • Other (explain your idea bellow)

0 voters

*just to get an idea of what we as community think about it, this is not the final decision


I saw in the github issues that this was potentially being incorporated. Has that been decided yet? Would love to see that change.

Welcome to the DC forum!

Im not sure if I understand your question. As group message subjects do not start with Chat: anymore, I do not think that anyone will say that private chat subjects should. But we still need to decide about the first message subject, which we try to do here.

I was referring to this :arrow_down:

I voted ‘Other’ - I find the earlier idea from your PR of having the first message subject be taken from the first few words of the content. Given that a DC peer doesn’t care about the subject line, we only care how it looks to a ‘normal’ e-mail user, and a normal e-mail user wants a subject that has some bearing on the content.

e.g. Alice the DC user sends a message to Bob the e-mail user, with the text:
Meet up at the park later? Make sure you're wearing a mask, maybe let Charlie know we'll be there. 5pm is fine by me.

results in the subject
Meet up at the park later?

Which is less ‘weird’ than
Message from Alice

as it conveys information, especially to somebody who has a dozen threads in their inbox.

One further suggestion I’d like to make is that the subject should ‘time out’. If Alice the DC user is good friends with Bob the e-mail user, and Alice is often the one initiating conversations, the subject of the ‘thread’ will perpetually be the same thing, even weeks later. That also breaks the conventions of regular e-mail.

I’d suggest that DC ‘forgets’ the subject in a chat if a new message is created more than 24 hours after the last message to/from that contact. This is not perfect, but it does avoid the worst case scenario.

If s.o. else would like to vote for @rthrippleton’s idea, I suggest you vote for ‘Other’ and like his post.

I actually know people who hit ‘Reply’ even if the last email was months ago and the topic is something completely different, so I’m afraid I disagree with you here.

In this case, it would be lucky that the first words make a good subject but there would be many subjects like “Hi Alice, I would like to…” too. So I’m not sure if I agree but I’m afraid that I rather don’t.

I see your point. Bob the e-mail user e-mails Alice the DC user a few weeks later, but they’ve set a subject that’s appropriate to what they’re talking about (because that’s how an e-mail user will normally behave), and everything is fine. Alice’s reply will be Re: Subject set by Bob.

However, I’m concerned in the other edge-case, when it’s the DC user initiating a new conversation with an existing contact. They’re done with their “Meet up at the park later?” conversation, and that’s the subject stored with the conversation. Two weeks later, Alice the DC user sends

You should see this hilarious video. It's a cat with a cheeseburger - that can't be healthy for it! http:// ....

and it’s received by Bob the e-mail user with a “Re: Meet up at the park later?” subject line. Alice the DC user looks like somebody who’s bad at e-mail etiquette. It’s not totally out of the bounds of normal behaviour, but it gets worse if they’re still doing it a year later.

Yeah, that could be awkward. I’m imagining that there’d be a simple heuristic when turning the body into a subject. Keep walking the text until you have more than N words/characters, and stop on punctuation. Alice writes
Hi Bob! Has Charlie talked to you about this weekend yet? We're going to take the train to ...
which turns into a subject
Hi Bob! Has Charlie talked to you about this weekend yet?

I’m aware that I risk overcomplicating the design, but I’m fearful about DC being seen as an impolite invader into the e-mail ecosystem. Personally, I only use it for group chats with my e-mail using friends, because it appears like ‘normal’ e-mail with subjects. I avoid using it for 1-to-1 chats. I don’t see this ever changing, as DC will always be in a minority compared to all of the regular e-mail users out there, but that’s the idea with DC - take advantage of an existing communications system with a huge network.

BTW, I should also say that I’m very very in favour of your overall idea of having subject line not changing on each message, even if I’m quibbling about exactly what it should be :slight_smile:

(I don’t want to come across as 100% argumentative!)

IMHO, the short subject “message from X” is fine, and also using Re: plus last subject, but in case both users have Delta Chat I would like not to send subject header at all, actually even to classic email users I would like to send the email without subject, that is still better than Chat: blah blah blah IMHO and in case of a chat message doesn’t make much sense to have subject at all, but well maybe people find it weird, I don’t because I use to send messages without subject when I am “chatting” using a classic email, who waste the time setting a subject? :wink: