[Clipart] Mailing List Configuration
chris_ellison at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 1 17:37:16 PDT 2005
My two cents...
Alan Horkan wrote on 2005.08.01 10:09:
>On Mon, 1 Aug 2005, Christopher Ellison wrote:
>>Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 01:48:10 -0700
>>From: Christopher Ellison <chris_ellison at hotmail.com>
>>To: clipart at lists.freedesktop.org
>>Subject: [Clipart] Mailing List Configuration
>>I know this is done with other lists. Can the list configuration
>>options be set so that the reply-to field is always the list address?
>Please search the web for Reply To considered harmful.
>I think it may have been discussed already on this list.
>I would prefer if things were left as they are
Okay...fine by me.
>because it is better to
>accidentally mail one person offlist than to accidentally mail the whole
>list full of many people (by now we may well have hundreds of readers).
In general, I agree. However, this is only a concern if a user
approaches the list with the assumption or 'bias' that messages in a
"mailing list" would not, by default, be sent to the mailing list. This
assumption is completely arbitrary...but obviously, one that this group
I'll grant you, the email does come from someone rather than from the
mailing list...so in this sense, replying to the person is more true to
the normal sense of reply. However, I (but perhaps I am in the
minority) have always thought of mail from mailing lists as "mail from a
mailing list". So my replies should be "to the mailing list."
>Some email programs include an option that allow you to easily Reply to
>List and if your email program does not you might consider asking them to
I am not going to pretend to know email client usage percentages, but
this article has some thoughts.
Outlook, Outlook Express, Mozilla Mail, Thunderbird, Evolution?,
Hotmail, AOL, Gmail...these are some of the clients that do not off a
"reply to group/list". My guess is that this covers an extreme majority
of the email client database out there.
>Most programs include a button for Reply All which is what I
True, but I think this is absolutely redundant...I don't need to receive
the message twice.
>>I have made this mistake a couple times now. I see a message and
>>naturally, hit reply----only the reply goes to the person who sent the
>>message rather than to the list.
>I would really prefer if the list was left the way it is. The cure is
>worse than the problem.
I am okay with that. Respectfully, I do disagree. I did read the
article I linked to and I think the arguments against changing the
reply-to address are poor. Many of the details in that article only
make sense when you assume that the reply address shouldn't state the
list name. It is border-line circular reasoning. I'll _briefly_ give
my opinions on his summary.
The summary of those arguments:
* It violates the principle of minimal munging.
* It provides no benefit to the user of a reasonable mailer.
---Now, _that_ is arrogant (see the argument about "freedom of
* It limits a subscriber's freedom to choose how he or she will
direct a response.
---Not really. If a user wants to reply only to the person, rather
than the list, they can still do so.
* It actually reduces functionality for the user of a reasonable mailer.
---Sorry, but I don't think that "Elm" is a reasonable mailer.
* It removes important information, which can make it impossible to
get back to the message sender.
---The email address of the sender is still present. But I can
see, in rare cases, how this might be an issue.
* It penalizes the person with a reasonable mailer in order to
coddle those running brain-dead software.
---Hah. I won't even comment.
* It violates the principle of least work because complicates the
procedure for replying to messages.
---Hmm....perhaps this highlights my own bias. I approach mailing
list in the same way I approach newsgroups. When I reply to a
newsgroup, the message always goes to the group rather than the
sender. Isn't the purpose behind a mailing list to mimic a
newsgroup? Maybe not, but I've always treated them about the
same. In that sense, I don't consider this "complicating" the
procedure because I don't think the current way of responding to
newsgroups is complicated at all.
* It violates the principle of least surprise because it changes the
way a mailer works.
Again, this how newsgroups (at least google, thunderbird,
outlook...probably others) work by default.
* It violates the principle of least damage, and it encourages a
failure mode that can be extremely embarrassing -- or worse.
---I guess. I don't think that it is a big issue if people expect
the list to work in this manner.
* Your subscribers don't want you to do it. Or, at least the ones
who have bothered to read the docs for their mailer don't want you
to do it.
---This guy is funny.
I'm sure there are better arguments out there...I am convinced that one
could reasonably choose to set up your list either way, and I think that
many would agree.
Besides, as one webpage pointed out:
'RFC822 specifies that this is exactly what the Reply-To header is for:
/A somewhat different use may be of some help to "text message
teleconferencing" groups equipped with automatic distribution services:
include the address of that service in the "Reply- To" field of all
messages submitted to the teleconference; then participants can "reply"
to conference submissions to guarantee the correct distribution of any
submission of their own.'
/I wasn't aware that this was such a 'heated' topic, but my searches on
google have shown me others. Not wanting to flame it more, I give in.
Unchanged it is,
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