OK, replying to myself ... the discussion that followed was worth it -- I think at least one very good idea came out of it, and that's that on node searches, it would be good if the author's name came up as well as the node title. (Would this clog the DB with extra lookups? I haven't looked at the everything code at all, so I don't know about these things). Were anything like this to be added the code would probably have to be smart enough to see when the subject line is getting out of hand and do some intelligent truncation as per chipmunk's point, above).
the Big P.S. that's not really a P.S. : I carefully (but evidently not carefully enough) chose to put those quotes around "vanity" -- it was not my intent to suggest that those who've adopted the convention are doing so for that reason. I added the parenthetical comment as outlining what I took were the real reasons for it.
Philosophy can be made out of anything. Or less -- Jerry A. Fodor