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

Cameron Simpson cs at
Sat Jul 10 22:23:16 UTC 2010

On 11Jul2010 01:06, Felipe Contreras <felipe.contreras at> wrote:
| On Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 11:27 PM, Tom H <tomh0665 at> wrote:
| > On Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 5:20 AM, Felipe Contreras
| > <felipe.contreras at> wrote:
| >> On Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 8:48 AM, Tim <ignored_mailbox at> wrote:
| >>> 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.
| >>
| >> I wonder, how do you think people are able to maintain private
| >> conversations between multiple parties if they "will just hit reply"?
| >
| > I regularly have conversations with multiple friends or colleagues
| > where at some point someone hits "reply" rather than "reply to all"
| > and all but two are cut off.
| Exactly, so common users need to know "reply to all" in order to have
| conversations with more than one person. It is *common* knowledge.
| So members of the mailing list are aware of such "reply to all" common
| knowledge.

It may be common knowledge. It is not reflexive behaviour. People reach for
plain reply by habit. Happens all the time, very common.

Personally I think mail readers should have buttons labelled "Reply" (meaning
reply-to-all) and "Reply only to author" (meaning what the button labelled
"reply" usually mean now).

It is _usually_ better to reply-to-all in ad hoc groups like the above
example, and also better to reply-to-all in one-to-one conversation
(where the buttons mean the same thing).

So I, for one, would advocate going back in time and changing the
"default" reply button's meaning. Then the situation that _drives_ the
common list configuration of the reply-to would not be as prevalent.

Cameron Simpson <cs at> DoD#743

Generally, these things are dreadful, but I saw a clip the other night on tv
of someone who had built a scorpion costume for their spaniel, complete with
legs and a stinger.  It was quite impressive.  Made me want to run out and
buy a dog and a some foam rubber.       - David Farley

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