Re: Subject Lines #general


In a message dated 2/6/2003 10:45:43 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

<< A recent posting mentioned that a subject line should
accurately reflect the topic discussed: the subject
line read 'the name Ida' and the reader was thrilled
to find the discussion was actually about the name

However, the original posting discussed was making a
point about names in general and Ida in
particular-that any name can be used as a secular name
with any other name in another language. So Ida could
call herself that regardless of what Hebrew or Yiddish
name she originally had. Phoebus was only an example
of a name which some had said was not a Jewish name,
but was used by a Jew.

This underlines the point that you may find something
of interest in a posting on another topic-something
about the "Katzes of Lublin" might turn out to be of
interest to someone who has nobody surnamed Katz nor
any family near Lublin. So don't be too fast deleting
or skipping postings! >>

Again, I must agree with Sally. One never knows what one may find. It's
known as serendipity. In fact, in accidentally opening Sally's "Ida"
posting (in which I was not at all interested) I happened to come across
an erroneous comment which cites a source that Phoebus is not a name used
by Jews, and I was able to correct that misstatement, explaining the
rather entertaining history of that name, which does help us understand
something about how names may occasionally totally change through the
centuries, being "translated" and "restranslated." I hope genners were
both entertained and educated by my posting.

However, I do not agree with Sally that it's OK to run just any subject
line that has a tenuous connection with a tenuous connection to another
tenuous connection to a subject that has been discussed. (If, as is
claimed, Phoebus was mentioned as an illustration of pagan names used by
Jews and even rabbis, "Non-Jewish names in Jewish use" for instance, would
have been a better choice.)

It's not a matter of pride or principle, and we have enough puzzles within
our own research not to need puzzling subject lines and unexpected

Let me reword my suggestion:

If you're discussing Ida, put that name clearly into your subject line.
That will alert everyone to the fact that you're asking about, or
commenting on Ida. And, surprise! you may get a response about an Ida
which you didn't know (e.g. that Ida Kaminska was wrongly named and that
her real name was Idalina)

If you're discussing Phoebus put that in your subject line and you won't
surprise anyone who wanted to learn about, say, Ida.

If you like puzzling people, write "entertaining puzzle" in the subject line.

If you don't really care who reads your posting put nothing in your
subject line; those who want to read it anyway and don't care about the
topic will open it and may be in for a great surprise that would be denied
to them if they knew the

It's unfortunate that occasionally people post misleading information;
that can't be helped. But there is no reason to use subject lines that do
not relate to the contents of the posting.topic beforehand.

Again, common sense (and a lot of messages of appreciation I have already
received >from genners and >from various moderators) suggests that using a
meaningful subject line is probably a good idea.

Michael Bernet,
New York

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