Since a large proportion of potential balloters in the test had no direct access to CASCADE, a mail parser was developed to handle comments submitted by e-mail. The mail parser performed the administrative function of associating comments with the location in the source document to which they referred. Instructions were sent with the invitation to ballot that asked the balloters to use a format parseable by an automatic mail parser. Essentially each mailnote would consist of one or more comments and each comment was to begin with a line that identified the location to which the comment was related. General comments were also allowed, and were accumulated in a separate file. If notes contained anything other than a header before the beginning of the first comment, these parts were accumulated in a separate file.
Comments processed by the mail parser are processed in five stages:
A mailbox file consists of mailnotes each of which is composed of a header and one or more comments and/or objections. The mailbox file was broken into its component mailnotes and each was named and stored in a separate file. Each mailnote was in turn broken into its component comments and objections each of which was given a unique file name. The name of each comment file identified the sender's username, the arrival time of the note, and the location in the document referred to by the comment.
For the placement stage the section numbers were associated with the appropriate Scribe source file. Each of the files contained one chapter or appendix of the standard. Comments were inserted in the Scribe source files (as Scribe comments) at the section corresponding to the given location, so that the chapter editors could have them in view when editing the document. The comment anchors were marked as Scribe comments so that updated ASCII versions could be produced without losing the inserted comments.
The mail parser relates the ASCII file and the Scribe files by:
The anchors to the comments are represented as buttons. The button contains the name of the author of the comment to which the anchor is linked and an identification of the corresponding document section (see Figure 3).