[Clipart] The web-site

Jonadab the Unsightly One jonadab at bright.net
Mon Jun 28 05:15:31 PDT 2004

Alan Horkan <horkana at maths.tcd.ie> writes:

> This list is normal, setting the list Reply-To is weird.

Ugh, not that argument again.

Fortunately for me I use a mailreader that allows the To: address for
replies to be specified in the configuration of each mail folder, but
for users of normal mail software there is no option to reply only to
the list.  Many readers offer a "Reply to All", but manual editing of
the headers is still required in that case, or else you end up sending
duplicate copies, a significant breach of netiquette; when several
people on the list are doing this the list effectively devolves into a
big carbon-copy-factory, effectively multiplying the bandwidth the
list consumes by the average number of people participating in any
given thread.

Setting the Reply-To is not "weird"; it _used_ to be standard practice
until an idiot wrote a "Considered Harmful" rant that doesn't even
make sense.

> Better to accidentally mail one person and have to resend than to
> accidentally mail a list with potentially hundreds of people on it.

This is plain wrong.  The problem with this thinking is that it
completely ignores the issues of freqency and user expectation.

Sending to the list is the normal case when replying to a list
message; it is what the user wants to do vanishingly close to 100% of
the time.  An offlist reply is _substantially_ the unusual case, and
when doing that the user will always be specifically thinking of
sending an offlist reply -- but for every time the user sends an
offlist reply on purpose, he'll forget to change the headers and
inadvertently send offlist replies dozens or even hundreds of times.
Many recipients of these learn to helpfully forward the inadvertent
offlist replies to the list, and the likelihood of a reply going to
the list that should not have done so is *increased*, not decreased,
quite aside from the other harmful effects.

There are exceptions to this, lists that are used for announcements
and things, wherein replies should usually go offlist, but for normal
lists where discussions take place, replies should go to the list by

Like I said, it's moot for me, because Gnus allows me to set a default
reply address on a per-group basis, but I pity users of lesser
software who have to hand-edit headers for every reply because of this
absurd policy, and I would not blame them if they just unsubscribed
and went and found (or founded) another project or mailing list with
more common sense.  Last week I was testing out Mozilla Thunderbird.
It doesn't have the ability to cope properly with a list like this.
Of course, there are a lot of other abilities it doesn't have too,
which is why I don't normally use it...  but you see where I am going
with this:  lots of people do use that sort of software.

split//,"ten.thgirb\@badanoj$/ --";$\=$ ;-> ();print$/

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