Reply-To munging summary (was: Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers)

Felipe Contreras felipe.contreras at
Sat Jul 10 13:32:05 UTC 2010

On Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 3:17 PM, Tim <ignored_mailbox at> wrote:
> Tim:
>>> In my opinion, many lists set the reply-to address because those lists
>>> are intended to keep replies on the list, and the list managers know
>>> that most people wouldn't do that if it wasn't preset for them.  People
>>> will just hit reply, and expect it to do the right thing.
> Felipe Contreras:
>> I wonder, how do you think people are able to maintain private
>> conversations between multiple parties if they "will just hit reply"?
> Why do you think people do that?  I put it to you that most people don't
> do any such thing.

Common users don't use mailing lists, Right?

The only way they know to send mail to more than one person is by
adding them to the To address list.

Are you suggesting that common users only engage int 1 to 1
conversations? Or are you suggesting that they never attempt to reply
to group mails?

> In a discussion about using mailing lists, your
> comment is so far off on a tangent that it's not funny.

It is pertinent to know what the common population of email users are
familiar with, as the users of the mailing list would know at least
the common knowledge.

ml users is a subset of common users.

> Outside of a mailing list, the usual way someone sends mail to a group
> is to pile all the addresses into the TO field.  A few more clueful will
> make use of the CC field, but usually the TO field.  Replies will
> usually go to all them, by default.

Are you sure about that? Have you had any group conversation lately?
(without a mailing list)

At least in Gmail, Hotmail, and Evolution I am presented with two
options: "reply" and "reply to all".

If I click "reply", the mail doesn't "go to all of them".

> The slightly clueful wanting to disseminate group mail without using  a
> list server could manually start off by having an address just for it,
> posting TO it, & CCing all the other recipients.  The recipients would
> receive a message addressed to the list, with them on the CC list.  The
> recipients can reply to just the list TO address, and the owner could
> deal with it (simply read it, pass it, or part of it, on to the list,
> etc), or the recipients could reply to all the addresses, or to just
> some of them.  The messiness of that all soon leads to seeing the
> advantage of using a list server that works like the Fedora one (being
> quite automating, distributing all the public mail, not requiring
> moderation).

But common users don't do that. Right?

You didn't answer my question directly:
How do you think people are able to maintain private conversations
between multiple parties if they "will just hit reply"?

Felipe Contreras

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