The newsgroup window
When opening a newsgroup window we will see a full list of the posts. This schema can be a bit confusing if you are addict to the three-panel-world, but it has many advantags.
What to view in messages list
In the bottom left corner there are the view selectors.
First of all we can choose to display only messages whose state is "Read", "Unread" or other.
Please note that the listed shortcuts also works using only the numeric key, without pressing the ⌘ modifier.
In addition we can choose to display only those messages that have been downloaded with the entire body, or those with the headers only. Once more the ⌘ modifier is not mandatory.
A thread in the newsgroup window
A block of messages belonging to the same thread are grouped, regardless of "Subject" changes.
A thread is a sequence of messages that reply to the same originating one.
They are grouped according to the status of the upper right "Group" checkbox.
Even if the most part of usenet users think that "threads" are grouped according to the subject, every post reports an header that refers at least the first and the preceding post, and this defines the thread (regardless of the actual Subject).
A quick filter is available besides the "Group" checkbox.
When we type something in this field message list is filtered for the search text in "From" or "Subject".
The message window
By double clicking a message we will open its window.
The message window is very important, in MacSOUP. In fact it is not intended only for reading one message, but also for thread navigation.
The body of the message
The message windows displays several areas.
The most important, is -of course- the body of the post, containing the actual text of the message.
The headers of the message
Above the body, in the middle portion of the window, we can find some headers (we can choose which headers are actually displayed by setting MacSOUP preferences).
Headers should report at least the Subject and the author of the post, for our information.
Another useful information is on the right of message headers: user’s face.
In this area MacSOUP displays the X-Face resource, if available, or the face from local "Faces DB" resources folder.
Once we get familiar with a newsgroup these faces will be the most useful feature, and we will locate immediately the author according to his/her face.
The current thread
The most useful panel featured by MacSOUP is the thread map.
Here we can see the current message (selected button), its read/unread status (empty=read), if they are flagged (the dot besides the message button), if they are from us (blue message button) or not (black button).
In addition we can roll over message buttons and quickly see, on the right below thread map, the name of the author.
Navigate the thread with the mouse
Message buttons act like radio buttons, we can navigate the thread with the mouse by simply clicking on a message’s button.
Navigate the thread with the keyboard: "⌤", "<" and ">"
The most comfortable way to navigate the thread is the keyboard.
There are two main approaches to thread navigation: scroll tagged messages, crawl the thread.
In order to open a message window we will use the ⌤ key (the numeric keypad enter). Once the message window is opened we can jump to the next tagged message by pressing again the ⌤ key, or we can use the space bar to scroll the message and then jump to the next.
In order to crawl the thread we can use "<" and ">" keys, that will follow the entire current thread (not only tagged messages).
Keyboard navigation: the "Pac-Man" style
In order to fast travel the thread we can also use the numeric keypad, that will allow us to crawl in horizontal, vertical and also diagonal the thread, jumping through its map.
Back to newsgroup window
By closing the message window we jump back to the newsgroup window.
Here we can choose to explore another thread, or change messages view to "unread" and crawl read threads.
© and credits
Article and original source material have been prepared for faqintosh.com
Author: Marco Balestra