PanoTools:Newsreader

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==Preface==
 
==Preface==
 
Yahoo mailing list interface is known to be clumsy and inconvenient and many mail readers are not very good to follow a high traffic mailing list like Panotools NG. Hence NNTP usenet news feed was provided in order to use more appropriate tools - i.e. newsreaders - for that task. This page introduce a newsreader and shows how to configure it. (Please complete!)
 
Yahoo mailing list interface is known to be clumsy and inconvenient and many mail readers are not very good to follow a high traffic mailing list like Panotools NG. Hence NNTP usenet news feed was provided in order to use more appropriate tools - i.e. newsreaders - for that task. This page introduce a newsreader and shows how to configure it. (Please complete!)

Revision as of 23:11, 10 March 2007

Contents

Preface

Yahoo mailing list interface is known to be clumsy and inconvenient and many mail readers are not very good to follow a high traffic mailing list like Panotools NG. Hence NNTP usenet news feed was provided in order to use more appropriate tools - i.e. newsreaders - for that task. This page introduce a newsreader and shows how to configure it. (Please complete!)

Requirements/Advantages

Some of the many advantages of newsreaders - at the same time requirements:

  • Threaded view. You always see a discussion thread as a whole, with the possibility to expand and collaps branches at need.
  • Watching and ignoring threads. You can easily mark a thread as watched and choose a view where you only see watched threads.
  • Proper quoting. Only relevant text should be quoted, as demanded by the netiquette and the User Guidelines
  • Download headers only. Only relevant header information like subject, references, author etc. is downloaded from the server. The message body is only retrieved on request (great for slow connections). Better newsreaders allow to mark and retrieve selected bodies for offline reading.
  • Killfile (sometimes referred to as Bozo Bin). A list where you specify certain posters you don't want to read (in better newsreaders you can put someone into the killfile for a limited time).
  • Scoring. You can apply more or less elaborated rules to score messages up or down, f.e. to bring certain keywords or posters easier to your attention.
  • Flexible sorting. Good newsreaders support a threaded view with sort order based not on the thread start date but on the most recent posting in the thread. This way you can always see the threads with new postings on top of the list.


Thunderbird

Being not only a powerful and free mail client Thunderbird has a reasonably news interface as well. Even better: It can be greatly enhanced with some extensions.

Setup

Reading

If you don't already have it, get Thunderbird f.e. from http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/ and install it. A standard installation would do.

  • On a fresh install you get the Account Wizard automatically. On an already running version you choose Account Settings from the Tools menu and click Add Account.
  • In Account Wizard check "Newsgroup Account" and proceed.
  • Enter your name, proceed.
  • Enter news.panotools.org as Newsgroup Server, proceed.
  • Name the account to your liking, proceed.
  • Finish the wizard.

Now your account should show up in the left pane. Click it. In the right pane you should be presented, with some options. Choose "Manage newsgroup subscriptions". You also can right click the account name and choose Subscribe.

In the Subscribe dialog expand the newsgroups tree and check local.panotools.main which should be the only available group from this server. After you click Ok the (abbreviated to l.p.main) name of the group should show up in the left panel.

Once you click the name you are asked to download headers. Checking Download all headers will download all headers (which is subject line, sender etc. but not message body) from the server. Message bodies are downloaded on request.

Writing

Presumable you want to write and reply to messages as well. Since the newsgroup is readonly this has to be done directly to your mail server. If you don't use Thunderbird as a mail reader already you need to specify a mail account:

From the Tools menu choose Account Settings. Click Add Account. In Account Wizard

  • check Email account and proceed.
  • Enter your name under which you are already known in Panotools NG and your email address you use on the list, proceed.
  • If you don't want Thunderbird to fetch your mail you can enter "None" for Incoming Server, proceed.
  • Add your mail account user name as Outgoing User name. If you don't want Thunderbird to fetch your mail you can enter anything you want as Incoming User Name, proceed.
  • Name the account to your liking, finish.

If you don't want to use Thunderbird for incoming mail got to Tools->Account Settings again and disable automatic mail downlaod and checking. Enable "Leave messages on server". You can even delete the incoming mail account since outgoing is a different one.

You will need to use "Reply to Sender only" from the context click menu, since the "Reply" button will always try to reply to the newsgroup directly (which isn't possible). For a more convenient solution see below.

Extensions

There are a couple of extensions to make the Thunderbird a more convenient newsreader.

Reset Quote Header

Highly recommended. Implements proper quoting. Allows to select text before replying such that only the selected text is quoted in the outgoing mail. As another benefit you can edit your quote header: [1]

Reply In Group

This extension provides some useful buttons for the main toolbar, f.e. a "Reply to Sender" button (see above): [2]

QuoteColors

Allows to color quote levels with the additional benefit of altering the default blue line quoting: [3]

Right Click Watch Ignore

Adds "Watch Thread" and "Ignore Thread" to the right click menu: [4]

nntpthreads

Adds a couple of useful toolbar buttons to easily filter for watched threads. Can also color watched threads.

Tweaks

Thunderbird has some neat features to make following discussions easier.

Filter to detect own messages

A filter to automatically mark threads with own messages is easy to create: With the newsgroup selected in the left pane choose Tools->Message Filters from the menu. Click New and add name the filter to your liking. Choose "From", "contains" and add your name you use in the list. In the action pane below choose "Watch Thread".

If you like you can additionally color your own messages if you press the + button in the action pane and choose "Label Message As", "Personal".

Descending date order

I suggest to use the sort possibilities from the menu, not to click the column caption. If you click on the column title threading is switched off. In the menu you can specify a descending date order together with a threaded view.

View threads with most recent mails only

Above the right pane there is a drop list labeled "View:", where you can limit the displayed messages. Choose "Recent mail" or "Last 5 Days" to see only threads with new posts. Unfortunately I didn't find any information what exactly "recent" means in this context. This option automatically expands all threads. You can quickly collaps all by pressing \

Conclusion

Thunderbirs serves very well as newsreader with the special demands of a read only newsgroup that allows replies by mail only. Lets see how it complies with the above requirement:

  • Threaded view. Yes.
  • Watching and ignoring threads. Yes, with Right Click Watch Ignore extension.
  • Proper quoting. Yes, with Reset Quote Header extension.
  • Download headers only. Yes, even offline reading configurable.
  • Killfile No, but this is less a thunderbird limitation because email adresses of the single posters are not provided. However, there can be rules specified, but no expiration date and pretty inconvenient, since the "create rule from message" always uses the list mail address as condition.
  • Scoring. No. Could be there is an extension, but I didn't find anything.
  • Flexible sorting. Partly. In threaded view sorting is by the thread start date. However, you can limit the display to threads with most recent mails.

--Erik Krause 15:03, 9 March 2007 (CET)

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