searching on very common keywords did not provide with any conclusions
I hit super search and looked for nodes the had "re:" in the title but that weren't replies and found how many levels of 'RE:' do we need :-), Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Reply, Title Re: collapsing revisited, and "Re:" getting out of hand.. If you search only PMD root nodes, then you'll find almost nothing but those. (:
About halfway down on tye's scratchpad (search for "Re: ", with the space and quotes) you'll find some work I did on the subject. But I've since noticed that there are styles that aren't properly handled by it. There is a field in the database for "depth" of a reply. Currently, this isn't being used. If we make the fixes required to have this field be accurate (even after nodes are moved), then there might be some hope of allowing users to collapse "Re:"s automatically.
Note that I adopted the "Re^$N: " style when I noticed that it was the most commonly used one (it wouldn't have been my first choice for format). I also switched from prepending "(tye)" onto titles to appending " ($summary)" onto the end (because I strongly prefer unique node titles). This is less obnoxious/distracting and usually gives a better indication of what the node is about. I encourage others to follow suit, but don't have any delusions about it being possible to enforce such much less plans to do so. :)