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Linkability is a really big deal. You can get it with IRC if you keep public logs, but getting a link is definitely harder than if you have a fully-integrated system like Zulip, as there’s no standard way for the client to sort it out.

At FastMail with our group email system Topicbox, we put a link to the archives for the current email in the mailing list footer, and that’s the favourite feature of quite a few of us in the company, and we’ve heard similar from our customers too. (Not sure why Mailman doesn’t do this, it’s super useful.) This gets around the need for a single frontend. Something IRC-like could work that way if each line sent included a URL, e.g. in JSON {"speaker": …, "url": …, "time": …, "text": …}. I have no idea at all if the likes of Matrix can or do work that way.

You get bonus marks on a feature like this if it includes meaningful content in the URL, e.g. Zulip’s URLs, although a tad ugly, include the stream (a slug) and topic (slightly weirdly encoded rather than slugified, but still present and readable). That way I can look at a URL and have a fair idea what I’m getting myself into. (URLs are definitely UI.)

Here's a link to a specific matrix-message: https://matrix.to/#/!QtykxKocfZaZOUrTwp:matrix.org/$15515574...

> Not sure why Mailman doesn’t do this, it’s super useful.

I believe this is because mailman doesn't have an integrated archive - it would have to ask hyperkitty (or pipermail etc) for an url to include in the outgoing message.

I'm sure it could be changed, but probably reflects that mailman is "mail first", for better or worse.

All it needs to work is a field for a URL template, and for the archive system to have sane URLs. Pipermail URLs don’t correspond to anything in the email, so the simplest imaginable integration would entail an additional entry point like /lookup?list-id={listId}&message-id={messageId} which would redirect you to the page for the right email.

Granted, this is really bad when compared with an integrated archive, but it makes it at least possible. You could easily then go on from there to automatic configuration for specific archive systems.

URL isnt necessary just a UUID / GUID as part of the message structure that the server then maintains track of. But I dont think most servers care about logs in a structured way.

An ID for a message is sufficient iff there is a defined, deterministic way to turn it into a URL. In the case of an IRC-like protocol, that would mean that you needed a defined URL structure, or a defined way for the server to give a URL template to the client.

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