You can do more than just browse the 180k or so messages in the archive.

  • When browsing by date or thread, you can search for particular content on your favorite search engine.
  • When browsing by date you can filter on message subjects or senders.
  • When viewing a message, you can associate one or more topics with that message.
  • You can browse the current set of topics.


You can search the full archive using your favorite search engine and its search syntax. The default search engine is Brave, but Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo are also supported. If you would like to see some other search engine available, let me know.


When browsing by date you probably won't be all that interested in messages about ancient eBay listings. Simiarly, you might want to only view messages about a particular brand or from a particular person. The filter function on the dates pages allow you to restrict your view accordingly. Select "Keep" or "Toss" from the dropdown menu, and enter a pattern, then click "Filter." For the nerds reading this, the pattern can be any regular expression, but a word or two works just fine.

Note that the filter capability is just a little hack. It doesn't operate on full messages, just the subject and sender. Each message listed has the subject and sender on a single line. The filter just keeps or tosses lines matching the desired pattern and displays those that make it through the filter.

Filter Pattern Examples

Here are a few simple regular expression examples. Note that patterns are not case-sensitive. "Colnago" and "colnago" match the same messages.

  • ebay|fs|wtb|for sale - a pattern that selects many/most messages related to buying and selling
  • Colnago|Masi - a pattern that selects messages mentioning Colnago or Masi
  • (Colnago.*Masi|Masi.*Colnago) - a pattern that selects messages mentioning Colnago and Masi (admittedly, a bit cumbersome)
  • brian baylis - a pattern that selects messages from (or mentioning) Brian Baylis.

Browsing or Adding Topics

The archive is huge and is really not organized in a useful way. While filters help cut down on the sheer number of messages you need to consider when scanning the archive for messages of interest, a more permanent method of organization is called for. The archive has a user-maintained set of hierarchical topics. You can view existing topics, or (when viewing an individual message you find interesting) suggest one or more topics that message might apply to. Consider this message: reynolds 531 SL tubing and heavier riders. You will see it's already associated with two Framebuilding:Norris Lockley. You can suggest other topics to which that message might apply, say, "Framebuilding:Reynolds Tubing," by entering that in the "Add Topic(s)" field and hitting RETURN or pressing the "Submit" button. Hierarchy is indicated by using a colon (":") to separate more general topics from more specific subtopics. If you want to define multiple topics for a given message, separate them with commas.

This is a very new feature (as of Feb 2022). At some point it might need further refinement.

Skip Montanaro, Feb 2022