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Enforcing E-mail Subject Line Tag Conventions in E-mail Clients Disclosure Number: IPCOM000173480D
Original Publication Date: 2008-Aug-08
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2008-Aug-08
Document File: 2 page(s) / 25K

Publishing Venue



The concept recognizes a number of new conventions in modern e-mail usage and discloses a methodology for e-mail clients to interpret these conventions, specifically message tags found in angle brackets at the end of the subject line of an e-mail message. The conventions can be conveyed as part of the e-mail message itself, as proprietary metadata in messages for a closed server/client system, or as part of an extension to standard e-mail message headers.

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Enforcing E-mail Subject Line Tag Conventions in E-mail Clients

Disclosed is a methodology for e-mail clients to interpret conventional tags that are commonly appended to the subject lines of e-mail messages.

Over time, e-mail users have adopted conventions and etiquette in the form of adding tags to e-mail subject lines in order to signal certain information or request certain behavior from the recipient, but modern e-mail clients do nothing to interpret these tags on behalf of the user. For example:


, meaning "no text" or "end of message," at the end of the subject line signals that the body of the e-mail is empty, but the recipient's e-mail client will still open the message normally as though it did contain text in the body.


, meaning "no thanks needed" or "no reply necessary," in the subject line signals that the sender of the e-mail does not expect or want a reply of thanks or otherwise, but the recipient's e-mail client does not try to prevent the user from sending a reply anyway.

E-mail processing could be conducted more effectively if modern e-mail clients interpreted these tags and others that e-mail users have developed through convention. Additionally, inexperienced e-mail users would benefit from the assistance provided by their e-mail clients in learning these conventions for the benefit of both senders and recipients, all without burdening or inconveniencing the users.

The following examples demonstrate the power of an e-mail client capable of recognizing and interpreting tags in e-mail messages, and these examples are by no means all-inclusive.


When savvy e-mail users write one-line messages in the subject line, they append a tag such as "

" ("no text") or "

" ("end of message") to indicate that the body of the message is empty in order to save the user the trouble of opening the message to look for more information. Unfortunately, most e-mail clients treat these messages like any other and will happily waste the user's time by opening the message even though the body is empty.

Normally, selecting or double-clicking on the subject of an e-mail message in the inbox loads the message body in another pane or tab of the application. A savvy e-mail client would recognize messages with tags implying "No Message Body" and reinterpret those gestures to mark the message as read without opening it.



             SHOULD NOT REPLY
E-mail clients should recognize when messages are sent from addresses that cannot receive replies. They should also detect tags such as "

" ("no reply needed") or "

" ("no thanks needed"). A clever e-mail client would recognize messages flagged with


as meaning "Do not Reply" and disable th...