Proposal: WIT over USENET or Mail

Daniel W. Connolly (
Thu, 09 Jun 1994 12:58:13 -0500

I have an urgent need for the kind of services provided by the WIT
system (see,
but I believe that we should deploy this application on top of
existing collaborative applications: USENET news and Internet Mail.

For the purpose of the HTML 2.0 review, I suggest we use the www-html
list and a hypermail archive (I got wind that one is in the works).

*** To the www-html maintainers: can the list processor
be changed to stop repeating headers? Especially MIME
related headers. In the future, I'd like to be able to
process an archive of html documents sent to www-html,
but witht the current list set-up, they get munged.
This is better than when they got deleted, but... ***

Alternatively, if somebody wants to set up a special list just
for the HTML 2.0 discussion (with a hypermail archive, of course)
I'd be happy to use that in stead.

I would like to be able to create WIT-style views of the archive of
this discussion, so we should adopt some convention for expressing the
topic/proposal/argument structure in RFC822 headers. See below for

Why not just use WIT over HTTP? WIT over HTTP has no privisions for
scalability. Even under the current load, it is unresponsive and

Here are the features I think we need, and how they map to
the HTTP, internet-mail, and USENET mechanisms:

Feature HTTP Mail News

Subscribe POST (authenticated subscription edit .newsrc
transaction with request
the server) message

Add a topic POST start a mailing create a newsgroup

Add a proposal POST send a message post an article
to the list with a novel
with a novel Subject:

Change a ??? use Supercedes: header

Add an argument POST use In-Reply-To: and References:
!need "link type" info!
[I propose In-Support-Of:,
In-Opposition-To: headers, or
perhaps Reply-Disposition: ...]

Include a link HTML anchors HTML anchors (use MIME to tag
in the body of the body as HTML)
a document

Include an Copy and paste, traditional USENET excerpt markup
excerpt in the perhaps with a link for plain text.
body... to the original

Sign a message Secure HTTP PEM techniques PEM techniques
(not widely deployed)

Browse all GET topics list !need archive! !need archive!

Browse all follow link from !need archive! !need archive!
proposals topics list
on a topic

Browse recent ??? read new mail NEWNEWS

Browse recent ??? read new mail NEWNEWS

Browse argument GET propsal doc scan headers of scan headers of
summary relavent* relevant articles,
messages as in threaded
news readders