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7.1 Attribution Preferences

When you cite an original message, you can tell Supercite which part of the author's name you would prefer it to use as the attribution. The variable sc-preferred-attribution-list controls this; it contains keys which are matched against the attribution alist in the given order. The first value of a key that produces a non-nil, non-empty string match is used as the attribution string, and if no keys match, a secondary mechanism is used to generate the attribution. See Anonymous Attributions.

The following preferences are always available in the attribution alist (barring error):

"emailname"
the author's email terminus.
"initials"
the author's initials.
"firstname"
the author's first name.
"lastname"
the author's last name.
"middlename-1"
the author's first middle name.
"sc-lastchoice"
the last attribution string you have selected. This is useful when you recite paragraphs in the reply.
"sc-consult"
consults the customizable list sc-attrib-selection-list which can be used to select special attributions based on the value of any info key. See below for details.
"x-attribution"
the original author's suggestion for attribution string choice. See below for details.

Middle name indexes can be any positive integer greater than zero, though it is unlikely that many authors will have more than one middle name, if that many.

At this point, let me digress into a discussion of etiquette. It is my belief that while the style of the citations is a reflection of the personal tastes of the replier (i.e., you), the attribution selection is ultimately the personal choice of the original author. In a sense it is his or her “net nickname”, and therefore the author should have some say in the selection of attribution string. Imagine how you would feel if someone gave you a nickname that you didn't like?

For this reason, Supercite recognizes a special mail header, ‘X-Attribution:’, which if present, tells Supercite the attribution string preferred by the original author. It is the value of this header that is associated with the "x-attribution" key in the attribution alist. Currently, you can override the preference of this key by changing sc-preferred-attribution-list, but that isn't polite, and in the future Supercite may hard-code this. For now, it is suggested that if you change the order of the keys in this list, that "x-attribution" always be first, or possible second behind only "sc-lastchoice". This latter is the default.

The value "sc-consult" in sc-preferred-attribution-list has a special meaning during attribution selection. When Supercite encounters this preference, it begins processing a customizable list of attributions, contained in the variable sc-attrib-selection-list. Each element in this list contains lists of the following form:

     (infokey ((regexp . attribution)
              (regexp . attribution)
              (...)))

where infokey is a key for sc-mail-field and regexp is a regular expression to match against the infokey's value. If regexp matches the infokey's value, the attribution is used as the attribution string. Actually, attribution can be a string or a list; if it is a list, it is evaluated and the return value (which must be a string), is used as the attribution.

This can be very useful for when you are replying to net acquaintances who do not use the ‘X-Attribution:’ mail header. You may know what nickname they would prefer to use, and you can set up this list to match against a specific mail field, e.g., ‘From:’, allowing you to cite your friend's message with the appropriate attribution.