Medieval Mailing List Software in the Web Age

I'm surprised that I haven't seen any widely deployed mailing list service list permalinks in their mail bodies. All the big players in this field add links to all mail on the list, to a lesser or greater extent, and they all keep a permanent record of all mails on the web. What is more, on almost all mailing lists, at least in the technical field, posters frequently have plenty reason to refer to prior discussions.

But none of them list permalinks. Not one! Whyever is that?

Actually, to be fair, Yahoo! Groups sort of does. One of the nineteen (19) links they spray every message with, four of which are mailto: links, one terms of service, and the other fourteen, unshaven filthy gobs of base64 encoded data identifying you, starting at 150 characters long and moving on up to 216 (in my sample -- a number which incidentally rings familiar as the largest length of a URL supported by some archaic mac or windows browser, if I'm not mistaken), the first of which, after an HTTP redirect (registering your click and washing away all the junk again) actually drops you off at a permalink.

Google Groups has three links; the address you mail your posts to, the address you mail to unsubscribe, and a link to the web interface for the list, where the really ambitious helpful kind of person can, you guessed it, search for a thread to find its permalink. Points for minimum cruft, but somewhat behind the times, I think.

Jeremy Dunck recently blessed the Greasemonkey list (and indeed any Google Group) with a user script hijacking the GMail interface to provide a shortcut search link to the thread you're reading, in Gmail - Find Thread in Google Groups.

That brings Google on par with Yahoo after some community support plastic padding for those who hang around the right bars and are in on the right buzz and use the right tools and services.

But nowhere on the web are mailing lists with permalinks. In 2007. I find that kind of fascinating.
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